Startup Profile: Zencargo

  • Zengargo is a London-based startup working in freight logistics. 
  • The digital freight forwarder has built a platform that uses technology, including machine learning, to reinvent how large shipping companies move cargo.
  • Zencargo has raised $20 million in investment from LocalGlobe, Picus Capital, Holtzbrinck Ventures, MPGI.

Zencargo logo

About Zencargo 

Zencargo was founded in 2016 by Alex Hersham, Zencargo’s CEO, CTO Jan Riethmayer and Richard Fattal. The experienced team had all previously held senior positions at startups. CEO Hersham had experience building a shipping business for Cerberus Capital, and Fattal was the third generation of his family to work in international trade. The team saw fault in the inefficient and archaic methods of traditional freight companies and created Zencargo to bring the processes into the 21st century. Hersham estimates that there is some $1.1 trillion “left on the table” from supply chain inefficiencies, as well as stock issues and other inventory mistakes. Zencargo helps companies digitise their supply chain to drive cost savings and revenue improvements for the business. The logistics startup has 87 employees, including 55 new hires in 2019.


How Does It Work?

Zencargo disrupts the global trade market with the use of technology. Zencargo believes that technology can simplify the logistical complexity of freight and remove the burdens of physical paperwork and manual processes. Zencargo makes it easy for companies to digitise their supply chain. The platform includes end-to-end visibility for shipments from order to delivery, disposing of fragmented suppliers and manual processes. Zencargo’s customers have access to its “Virtual Local Offices” which provide visibility during production globally. Users can unlock the data behind their supply chain through the live platform, which uses machine learning technology to deliver actionable insights and predictions.

Zencargo platform
The Zencargo platform.

Co-founder Fattal describes how Zencargo is changing the understanding of efficiency within the space. “Global trade is an enormous market, one of the last to be disrupted by technology… We want not just to be a better freight forwarder, but we want people to think differently about commerce. When you have a lot of variability in the supply chain, there are difficult tasks to manage, but by unlocking the data in the supply chain, you can really change the whole decision-making process.” 


Zencargo’s Success

In April 2019, Zencargo raised $19 million in a Series A funding round. The investment brings the total raised by Zencargo to $20 million. The round was led by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, with participation from Tom Stafford, Pentland Ventures and previous investors Samos, LocalGlobe and Picus Capital. Zencargo is an award-winning global provider, most recently named one of Upscale 5.0’s Fastest Growing Supply Chain Businesses and receiving the BIFA Supply Chain Management Award 2020. 


Zencargo in 2020

Zencargo has received praise for its work on bringing essential personal protective equipment (PPE) to NHS workers. Working alongside crowdfunding campaign Masks for NHS Heroes, it helped source and deliver an initial 100,000 medical-grade protective eye-shields from manufacturers in China. Zencargo has said that exporting the equipment was a challenge. Procuring PPE has become particularly difficult in recent weeks as a result of unprecedented global demand. The lockdowns in India, a significant producer of PPE, and strict quality control processes recently implemented in China, only exacerbated the situation. Zencargo worked with teams on the ground in China, including the British Consulate, to organise crucial customs clearances, quality control assurances and exemptions from duties, to ensure the fastest UK delivery possible.

Zencargo NHS

CEO Alex Hersham said: “In this uncertain time, supply chains are more important than ever, especially when it comes to those risking their health on the front line in the fight against this disease. As we move forward, it’s incumbent on logistics and supply chain businesses to use their skills and networks to open doors for these essential goods and do what they can to keep people safe.”

The campaign continues, and you can donate at Masks for NHS Heroes fundraiser.

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