CargoPlanning freight transportation platform
Please introduce yourself and your startup CargoPlanning to our readers!
I am Valerica and I’ve joined CargoPlanning almost 2 years ago, when Stefan, the founder & CTO of CargoPlanning decided to leave the company he was working for to become an entrepreneur. Stefan is an IT engineer with more than 7 year experience in the development of SaaS products. He previously worked for some local IT companies and he developed projects for the USA and Europe, some of which were in the transportation field. We met some time ago since we worked together for the same NGO in Iasi and since then we are friends, then he put his trust in me as a Sales & Operations Manager for this project.
CargoPlanning is a collaborative online platform (SaaS) for freight transportation activities developed by manufacturing companies and retailers. It covers the whole transport cycle, starting with the process of searching and acquisition of these kind services (through auctions and price negotiations), day-to-day activities (allocation of each transport to the logistics partners), up to truck monitoring, cargo loading /unloading and activity reporting
The industry’s main problem is the low degree of digitalization which translates in high spendings for a shipment and lack of overview in day to day activities.
For factories and retailers: there is a traditional and non-transparent way that logistics and transport managers practice in the planning of the transport processes (they’re using email, phone, spreadsheets), which leads to high costs and a high execution time of the activity.
For the transport companies: the platform facilitates communication between driver – dispatcher – customer (the factory) and optimizes the searching times for transport options so that a carrier does not have to travel unloaded, which would lead to the loss of time and money.
CargoPlanning is a full digital service provider – the platform is increasing the efficiency of logistics people and is saving time for all the stakeholders (shippers and forwarders).
How did you get the idea to CargoPlanning?
The idea came up during a discussion with one of our current clients. This was followed by a research and documentation period but also by the validation of our idea, after which, Stefan (being an engineer) started the technical development. Shortly after that I have been recruited by Stefan to build the business part. Then we started to bootstrap and grow what today means:
From October 2015 to the present, the platform has 3500 users (approximately 10% of them are active and trading on the platform), with a total transport volume of around 7 million. We expect to reach the break-even by the end of the year due to the co-optation of two major players in the market, Aqua Carpatica and one big name in the retail industry with european coverage.
How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
We started as an IT company and for almost 2 years, the technical team worked for some outsourced projects, in order to financially support the development of the application. Now we are very close to reach the break-even and we hope the end of the year will bring us some good news.
The biggest challenge was to make logistics managers aware of the problem they are facing of, so we can push this solution into the market. In the same time we grow our business, we educate logistics and supply chain markets, which hinders and increases our sales process.
Who is your target audience?
As a collaborative platform, it targets 2 main user groups and a secondary one:
Companies that produce or sell goods: they need transport services thus they are the ones that start the logistics supply chain through the planning process of this activity. These companies are the ones that adopt the platform first.
Carriers and forwarding companies – they are transport service providers with their own capacities (having a truck fleet) or through intermediation (eg DB Schenker). They will meet the transport needs of the first group.
Warehouses and logistics parks – those who plan together with the first and second group the times of delivery and goods loading or unloading process in order to avoid overcrowded or dead times and to streamline the transition of goods from producer to consumer.
CargoPlanning is the first of its kind, made in Romania, but not the first on the worldwide market. At this point, only in Europe, from 2015 until now, there have been launched at least 30 startups dedicated to freight transport activity, mainly advertising platforms. CargoPlanning is different because the transport process ends in the platform, without the need for telephone confirmations, email or using an excel to keep track of the activity.
What is the USP of your startup?
The collaborative online platform that brings transparency in you freight transportation processes.
Can you describe a typical workday of you?
The most beautiful mornings start, for some of us, on the roads, in business trips, with 3 or 4 meeting per day. But, mostly, a normal morning starts around 8:30 AM with the support app opened and answering the users’ questions (most of the factories plan their transports in the morning when the activity is intense on the platform). The rest of the day is covered by multiple phone calls, skype meetings and discussions about proposals of partnership and sales planning.
Strong debates show up when the discussions about the new functionalities move to the technical office. We are all prepared with strong arguments which make us enthusiastic about making things as good as possible and to answer our customers in time.
In september we’ve joined Startarium Inc. which is an incubation program developed by Impact Hub Bucharest. So, some of us moved from Iasi to Bucharest in order to get the most of the mentors network and the opportunities offered by the Romania’s capital. Our goal is to strengthen our business in the Romanian market and to start to sell in Europe.
Where do you see yourself and your startup CargoPlanning in five years?
We want to be the first freight transportation platform in Romania and among the best online tools for this type of activity from Europe. Imagine that there are more than 2 MIL of available trucks only in Europe that are on the move. We want 5% of this number to be traded through the platform, in five years.
What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Don’t be shy, guys! Show what you’ve got and put courage in your day-by-day activities. And try to make better mistakes tomorrow (those are not my words, but it is a good quote).
More information you will find here
Thank you Valerica for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.