Onward Delivery, a freight marketplace that connects retail stores to underutilized trucks already on the road, has closed an oversubscribed $4.7 million seed funding round, led by Range Ventures and Matchstick Ventures.
The round also includes participation from angel investors including Andrew Leto, Founder & CEO of Emerge; Jett McCandless, Founder and CEO of Project44; Sean Henry, Founder & CEO of STORD; James Eberhard, Founder & CEO of Fluid Truck; Mark Joseph, Board Member at Rubicon; and Leo Polovets, General Partner at Susa Ventures.
Onward Delivery was founded in 2020 after its founders experienced the inefficiencies in freight brokerage firsthand working in the industry. On average, it takes nearly 35 days to ship a customer any large appliance or piece of furniture since many retail stores rely solely on a single delivery company in each market.
Onward Delivery was one of ten companies that participated in the 2021 Techstars Iowa accelerator, which took place in Des Moines earlier this year.
“With the ongoing driver shortage and supply chain issues, there is a dire need to automate and digitize final mile delivery,” said Grafton Elliott, CEO of Onward Delivery in a release. “Our technology connects retailers to unused cargo space already on the road, making drivers more efficient. With the completion of our seed round, we are excited to have the support to build out our operations to fix one of the biggest crises of our time.”
Onward’s platform allows shippers to place shipments to its load board where it is then instantly priced and smart-matched to a truck already headed in the same direction. Onward’s platform streamlines a historically archaic industry by digitizing documents and processes along the final-mile journey, enabling truck drivers to complete more deliveries in less time. Onward’s auto scheduling feature removes the burden of extensive communications between drivers, customers, and shippers with one click.
“We believe Onward Delivery is well-positioned to innovate an industry that has been historically under-invested in” said Nathaniel Zola, Managing Member at Matchstick Ventures. “At a moment when everyone is talking about the need to solve supply chain challenges, Matchstick is looking forward to watching Onward bring its final-mile delivery solution to more markets across the country.”
Currently, Onward partners with 75 retail stores across six states and is actively looking for new partnerships with retailers and to expand into more markets across the country. Some of Onward’s retail partners include Slumberland Furniture, Bassett Furniture, Woodley’s Fine Furniture, Element Home and The Tile Shop. Today, Onward operates in Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska, Georgia, Kansas and Missouri.
Onward plans to expand its operations to Texas, California, Florida and Wisconsin over the next year. This funding will be allocated to hiring engineers to further build out Onward’s SaaS platform and strengthen the marketplace, with an eye on integrations to make placing shipments a one-click process. Additionally, Onward is focused on building out its sales team with the goal of entering a total of 15 markets by the end of 2022.
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