Ontruck, a Spanish on-demand platform that connects businesses with road freight companies, has raised $10 million in a series A round of funding led by Atomico (U.K.) and Idinvest (France), with participation from existing investors Point Nine Capital (Germany), La Famiglia (Germany), and Samaipata Ventures (Spain).
Founded out of Madrid in 2016, Ontruck’s on-demand platform gives any company instant access to a freight delivery network to make shipments how and when they need it. The startup had previously raised around $2.2 million, and its latest cash injection is notable insofar as it taps investor cash from four European markets including the U.K.’s Atomico, which was founded in 2006 by Skype cofounder Niklas Zennström, and the French VC firm Idinvest.
Today’s raise comes just a few months after Atomico closed a whopping $765 million fund, and Ontruck represents the fund’s second investment in a Spanish startup.
As things stand, middlemen charge commission to match supply with demand, while trucks spend more than 40 percent of their time on the roads empty, after dropping off their loads. The knock-on effect of this includes needless Co2 emissions and general inefficiencies that cost everyone involved money, which is where Ontruck comes into play.
“Ontruck solves this problem by providing best in class technology that fully automates the process of matching a shipment to the right truck, for the best price, in just 19 seconds, and at scale could reduce Co2 emissions dramatically,” explained Carolina Brochado, partner at Atomico. “This is the kind of significant business and environmental upside that we strive to find in our investments.”
Ontruck offers instant pricing and precise pick-up slots, while shipments can be tracked in real time. To use a somewhat hackneyed analogy, it’s a little like Uber for trucking and logistics.
The majority of road freight involves regional, short-haul journeys, which is why many of the existing players operate mainly in a single market. Other players in the field include New York-based Transfix, Mountain View-based Trucker Path, Brazil’s Cargox, and a bunch more from around the world including Europe’s Convargo (France), Chronotruck (France), and iCanDeliver (Netherlands).
So far, Ontruck has followed a similar model in terms of rolling out regionally in its native Spain, but with $10 million more in its coffers, the company plans to expand across Europe. A clue to its growth plans may well lie in the origin of the VC firms that are investing.
“Through technology, we want to make simple, low-cost road freight accessible to every business in Europe, regardless of their size,” added Iñigo Juantegui, Ontruck founder and CEO.
While a number of players are using technology to capitalize on the lucrative road freight industry, others are tackling things from another angle. Mountain View-based Peloton recently raised $60 million to improve truck platoon safety and efficiency through automation.
And it’s also worth noting here that road freight isn’t the only industry being “disrupted” by technology — last year, San Francisco-based Haven raised $11 million to grow its ocean freight booking platform.