CNBC Disruptor 50

14. Flock Freight

Founder:

(CEO)
Launched: 2015
Headquarters: Solana Beach, California
Funding:
$399 million
Valuation: $1 billion
Key technologies:
Cloud computing, machine learning
Industry:
Logistics
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 1 (No. 42 in 2021)

Persephone Kavallines

Most consumers don't devote much time to thinking about the logistics built into their purchases, but trucking is a key link that the whole world needs to rethink. The economic shocks of the pandemic raised the profile of start-ups in the logistics space, including Flock Freight.

Among the biggest problems it is solving in transportation: waste. The company is changing the way freight moves with the concept of shared truckload shipping, pooling multiple shippers' freight onto a single, multi-stop truckload and optimizing shipments for the best possible route so freight never loads or unloads between pickup and delivery. This cuts down on delays and damage, the need for hubs and terminals, and improves the use of truckers, a labor market which has been under intense stress, with a recent shortage of 80,000 truckers needed by the economy to move stuff.

Inside trucks, there is simply too much empty space. Oren Zaslansky, founder and CEO of Flock Freight, who has worked in trucking for much of his adult life, told CNBC last October that what made the supply chain situation even worse was that when loads do finally hit the road as "full," that's often a misnomer. One-third of freight truck trailers often aren't close to full. In effect, the customer is "paying to ship air," Zaslansky said, a long-time problem in the sector.

Flock Freight bridges the gap between the 60%-70% that has commonly been defined as "full" in the freight trucking business and 100%-fully loaded trucks through its algorithmic-driven creation of shared truckloads. Its patent-pending proprietary algorithms are putting the incumbents such as CH Robinson, Coyote Logistics, and XPO on notice.

It's also among the logistics start-ups that saw increased investor funding during the pandemic, raising $215 million last October in a deal that pushed the company up to unicorn status.

VIDEO7:1507:15
Flock Freight CEO breaks down how the logistics company allows freight to 'ride share' throughout the U.S.

The company's battle with waste has another key target: greenhouse gases. The inefficiencies in the trillion-dollar freight sector are adding to the planet's climate change challenges. Between 15% to 40% of carbon emissions from truckloads can be eliminated through more efficient shipments. Flock Freight is the only freight-shipping company to make it through the B Corporation certification process, which requires companies to run business models designed to balance purpose and profits, and prove it on metrics related to workers, customers, community, governance and the environment.

In a partnership with Carbonfund.org, Flock Freight is reaching net neutrality in carbon emissions from its shared shipping service through the purchase of carbon offsets, paying the cost for shippers and helping to fund energy efficiency projects, including electrification at truck stops. 

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