A UK logistics start-up backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and other tech titans is raising tens of millions of pounds to help it meet booming demand for its services.
It is understood that Beacon, which helps companies run their supply chains more efficiently, has sealed a $ 50million (£ 37million) Series B funding round led by Northstar.vc, an investor in leading venture capital plan.
Upper90, another start-up investor, is also participating in the fundraiser as a new investor in the business.
Launched in 2018, Beacon uses artificial intelligence and cloud-based technology to improve the operational efficiency of customers organizing the international trade of their products.
It provides services such as global ocean, air and road freight, customs clearance, insurance and supply chain finance, all accessible and managed on a single platform.
The company helps importers meet their cash flow needs by offering financing within 72 hours, a critical issue for importers who invariably have to pay suppliers before goods begin a shipping journey that can take several months. .
Based in London, it was founded by Fraser Robinson, Managing Director, and Dmitri Izmailov, COO, two former Uber executives.
Beacon has one of the most stellar investor records of any start-up in the world, with Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, Travis Kalanick, the founder of Uber Technologies, and Marc Benioff, the founder, president and CEO of Salesforce, among its sponsors.
The venture capital companies 8VC and Expa are also among its shareholders.
Mr Bezos, executive chairman of Amazon and one of the richest people in the world, would participate in Beacon’s Series B cycle alongside other existing investors.
Freight forwarders act as agents between exporters and importers, collecting fees for the service they provide by arranging the transportation of goods from factories prior to shipment.
They also administer the relevant documents required for exports.
The main players in the sector are DHL, the global logistics group, and Kuehne + Nagel, although the sector as a whole is considered to have been slow to embrace the digital age.
Beacon was created to increase efficiency in a historically fragmented industry, but has been a great beneficiary of the havoc COVID-19 has taken on global supply chains.
A source close to the company said over the weekend that since the unveiling of its $ 15million (£ 11million) Series A fundraiser in May 2020, it has experienced ‘hyper-growth’, with income multiplied by 12 last year.
It now employs 180 people, compared to 24 18 months ago, and has expanded in Asia with the opening of an office in Hong Kong.
The demand for more efficient logistics operations has been driven by soaring freight rates, labor shortages and consumer demand for faster and more reliable delivery times for goods purchased online.
The new funding, which could be announced early this week, is expected to be used to further expand Beacon’s workforce, develop its technology and expand into new markets.
It was not clear at what valuation the capital was injected.
A spokesperson for Beacon declined to comment.