Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has invested in trucking network Convoy’s latest round of funding, joining a veritable who’s who of billionaire backers, which also include Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, IAC/InterActiveCorp and Expedia chairman Barry Diller and Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff.
Gates participated in Convoy’s $62m Series B round.
Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund led the round. In addition to Gates’ private investment vehicle Cascade Investment, other new investors included Mosaic Ventures and former US Senator Bill Bradley.
Existing investors Benioff and Bezos – via Bezos Expeditions – also participated, along with Greylock Partners, Expedia chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, former Starbucks president Howard Behar, Code.org founders Hadi and Ali Partovi and the founders and chief executives of eBay, Instagram, KKR and DropBox, among others.
Unlike traditional freight brokers, Convoy said it offers instant, guaranteed prices, automated brokering to lower costs and full transparency through real-time GPS on all jobs. Verified carriers use Convoy’s platform to receive personalized, real-time notifications of jobs, free fleet management tools and payment within days of completing a job. This, in turn, helps carriers reduce overhead and cut down paperwork.
“Ask any shipper or truck driver about their business and they’ll point out a dozen things that could run better. Technology is changing this. Now people are excited about the possibilities for innovation,” said Convoy chief executive Dan Lewis in a press release. “Convoy’s mobile app and automated brokerage raise the bar for service reliability and reduce wasted miles — increasing revenue and improving operations for everyone involved.”
Convoy’s network of truck drivers services shippers of all sizes, including Fortune 500 brands Unilever and Anheuser-Busch, as well as Niagara Bottling and Tenaris. Lewis told Bloomberg Convoy is “fulfilling thousands of shipments and generating millions in sales a week.”
“By improving trucking, Convoy is improving the foundation of our economy,” added Anu Hariharan, partner at YC Continuity, in a statement. “This service allows shippers to transform their supply chains at the same time that it allows carriers to grow their businesses more quickly, on their own terms. In ten years, we’ll be astonished that this was ever done another way.”
Hariharan and Ali Rowghani, who is also a partner in the YC Continuity Fund, joined the board of directors as a result of the financing.