Flexport raises $260mn; important milestone: Petersen

Our fortress balance sheet continues to be one of our most strategic assets, says Ryan Petersen, Founder & CEO, Flexport

Flexport raises $260mn; important milestone: Petersen

Atlas Air operated B747-400 freighter in Flexport livery. It operates between Asia and Flexport’s freighter bases in Los Angeles and Chicago. (Photo Credit: Flexport/LinkedIn)

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Flexport has raised $260 million on an uncapped convertible note from Shopify.

Ryan Petersen, Founder and CEO, Flexport posted on X: "Thank you @tobi and your entire team for this tremendous vote of confidence in our business and partnership."

Petersen went on to add: "Since I came back to the role of CEO, our team has made massive progress toward returning Flexport to profitability. Further strengthening our cash position with this investment should send a strong message to customers that Flexport is building a long-term sustainable business that will continue to deliver best-in-class technology and services for global businesses.

"This is an important milestone along our journey to build an end-to-end logistics technology platform to make global commerce so easy that there will be more of it. Our fortress balance sheet continues to be one of our most strategic assets as we navigate the uncertain waters of global trade in the 21st century in pursuit of this vision."

How much is enough?
The latest funding brings Flexport's total capital raised (and burned) to an impressive $2.7 billion, writes Thomas Ananjevas, CEO, Supply Chain Services Bureau in his LinkedIn post.

"It's a staggering sum, especially when compared to other significant moves in the logistics industry:

*Ceva Logistics was acquired for $1.65 billion

*Bollore Logistics caught the attention of CMA CGM for a substantial $5.5 billion; and

*Maersk expanded its reach by acquiring LF Logistics for $3.6 billion.

"So, revisiting my initial question, I see a path for Flexport to survive, not because they possess something unique, but because the amount already invested is enormous. Adding a few more million is easier than writing off a few billion."

Petersen's new team
A day after Flexport’s comeback CEO Ryan Petersen wrote a note to his employees on October 12, 2023 informing them of the decision to reduce the global headcount by approximately 20 percent, he has unveiled a new leadership team that consists of logistics, freight forwarding and technology experts of different tenure, many of whom are longtime Flexport loyalists.

The new leadership structure outlined by the CEO and Founder has 12 executives who report directly to him. These include four additions to the eight executives who were in his team previously.

Neel Jones Shah, who joined digital freight startup in February 2017, has become Chief Customer Officer (CCO) for Flexport’s global key account segment. These are some of the world’s leading brands and represent a critical customer segment for Flexport.

Petersen returned as CEO in early September 2023 after ousting Dave Clark, an Amazon veteran who joined Flexport a year earlier as the Co-CEO with Petersen and six months later as CEO.

In January 2023, Flexport retrenched 20 percent of its global workforce leading to more than 600 employees losing their jobs worldwide. The then Co-CEOs Clark and Petersen cited “macroeconomic downturn impacting businesses around the world” in their note to employees as the reason for such a drastic decision. With the latest round of layoffs, more than a thousand Flexport employees would have lost their jobs in 2023.

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