FourKites raises $13M to make 100 Chicago hires over the next year

Oct12, 2016

Chicago logistics technology startup FourKites announced on Wednesday that it has picked up a $13 million Series A round from Bain Capital Ventures. The company will use the funding to expand its product offerings and add at least 100 employees to its Chicago headquarters over the next 12 months.

Founded in 2013, FourKites has previously raised two early-stage rounds for a combined $3.5 million. Its current Chicago headcount sits at around 40.

FourKites leverages mobile, cloud and analytics software to provide real-time tracking of shipments all across North America. The company currently tracks more than 2.5 million electronic logging devices, with that number expected to increase rapidly toward the end of 2017, when a federal mandate requiring all commercial truckers to use such devices goes into effect.

“There’s going to be an explosion of data by the end of next year in trucking that is unprecedented,” said founder and CEO Mathew Elenjickal.

In addition to the shipment tracking his company already offers, Elenjickal expects to add new features like tracking temperature statistics from trucks transporting perishable goods, layering location data with traffic and weather information to produce predictive analytics for a truck’s arrival time or adjusting the supply chain to prepare for future weather events.

Elenjickal said he traveled to the Bay Area to get his company’s name out there around two months ago, and received term sheets from four different investors. In the end, FourKites decided to go with Bain because of its domain expertise in transportation and logistics.

“They clearly got what we were talking about after the first meeting,” said Elenjickal. “They got what we were doing, what our value proposition is, what the pain point we were trying to solve was and where we could go from here. So we had a very detailed discussion in our very first meeting.”

Moreover, since the venture capital group is part of Bain Capital, which manages over $70 billion in assets across industries all over the world, FourKites will greatly benefit from tapping into its global network of portfolio companies.

Bain was an early-stage investor in Kiva Systems, a logistics startup that used software, robotics and mobile shelving to automate e-commerce warehouses and was acquired by Amazon for $775 million in 2012. Bain was also an early investor in Jet.com, which sold to Wal-Mart for $3.3 billion in August.

Bain Capital Ventures managing director Ajay Agarwal, who led the firm’s Kiva investment, will be joining the FourKites board of directors as part of the deal.

“Supply chain efficiency has become paramount for every kind of business, and we’re excited to help Matt and FourKites realize their ambitious yet achievable vision,” said Agarwal in a statement. “FourKites already has marquee customers achieving impressive results, boosting on-time performance from the low 90 percent range to 97-98 percent, which translates into less wait time at warehouses, lower stock-outs, and faster inventory turns.”

The company will also be translating its platform into new languages including Spanish, French and Portuguese to support the global operations of its customer base.

Originally Published in Built in Chicago by Andreas Rekdal.

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