Chicago logistics software provider project44 just hauled in a $10.5 million Series A to boost new product offerings and prepare for international expansion.
Founded in 2014, the company's flagship SaaS product is a cloud-based platform for tracking and optimizing freight operations. Since its platform went live last year, project44 has reached a year-over-year growth rate of 400 percent without hiring a single sales representative.
“We’re building out the team to make sure we have the culture and foundation that we need,” said CEO and Co-founder Jett McCandless (pictured right). “Now that we have proof of concept and extremely strong demand for the product, it’s just about scaling the infrastructure and onboarding thousands of clients a year.”
project44 built its proof of concept for the Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) sector, which, as the name suggests, handles shipments smaller than a traditional truckload. Although many shipping companies still rely on pre-internet communications systems to track their freight, the complicated logistics involved with LTL shipping has made that particular vertical more receptive to new technologies than its peers.
McCandless said his company expects to nearly double its staff of 24 in the next couple of months as it prepares to broaden its offerings. The company is expanding beyond LTL to cover new logistics verticals like air freight, ocean- and truckload shipping. A push into international markets is also on the docket.
Chicago is one of the worlds biggest shipping hubs, and is home to a number of major logistics firms. The city's status as a shipping Mecca, along with its tech talent pool and impressive university system, said McCandless, made Chicago a natural place to start project44.
McCandless isn't the first logistics technology entrepreneur to come to that conclusion. Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky’s Echo Global Logistics is headquartered here, as is Coyote Logistics, which sold to UPS for $1.8 billion last year. The CEO's hope is that project44 will join those companies in fueling the ecosystem’s further growth.
“As demonstrated by their dramatic growth rate and high level of customer satisfaction, project44 has emerged as the undeniable industry leader, driving the supply chain towards true end-to-end visibility and real-time connectivity,” said Joe Floyd, principal at Emergence Capital, in a statement.
McCandless said the round was substantially oversubscribed, with the company turning down multiple investors. Moving forward, the company plans to stay laser-focused on its product to scale it, even if it means turning down potentially lucrative partnership opportunities.
Images via project44/Shutterstock.