CNBC Disruptor 50

1. Flexport

Founder: Ryan Petersen (CEO)
Launched: 2013
Headquarters: San Francisco
$2.2 billion
Valuation: $8 billion
Key technologies:
Cloud computing
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 2 (No. 41 in 2021)

Persephone Kavallines

Ordering pants, patio chairs, or a couch became a lot more complex amid the global supply chain mess of the last year. Flexport is the company aiming to untangle those knots.

Founder and CEO Ryan Petersen started Flexport in 2013 because he figured there had to be a better way to manage the flow of goods that get put on cargo ships, planes, trucks and railroads and transported all over the world. The company's freight forwarding and brokerage services are in the cloud, enabling it to analyze costs, container efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions quickly and with more accuracy than legacy systems.

In 2021, the company moved roughly $19 billion in merchandise, and investors like the company's approach. In February, it raised $935 million in a Series E funding round that values it at $8 billion — nearly triple its last reported valuation in 2019, according to PitchBook data. The San Francisco-based company, ranked No. 41 on last year's CNBC Disruptor 50 list, has raised $2.2 billion to date.

Its latest funding round was led by Andreessen Horowitz and Michael Dell's MSD Partners, and includes a strategic investment from Shopify. Existing investors including DST Global, Founders Fund, SoftBank's Vision Fund I and former Greylock VC Kevin Kwok also participated in the round.

"This investment signals that the market recognizes the need for a tech-enabled logistics ecosystem that has the visibility and resilience to handle unexpected challenges of any scale," Petersen said in announcing the deal.

Flexport has more than 10,000 clients and suppliers in 112 countries and doubled its revenue last year, bringing in $3.2 billion while reporting its first EBIT positive year. With fresh financing, the company says it plans to begin expanding into new markets and accelerate the development of its technology. It now has offices in 23 countries and is nearing 3,000 employees.

It's a pretty ugly situation out there, says Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen on supply chain disruptions
It's a pretty ugly situation out there, says Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen on supply chain disruptions

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