Produce supply chain logistics and technology company Hwy Haul has secured a $10 million Series A round of funding, co-led by Eileses Capital and BluePointe Ventures. Additional investors include AgFunder and True Blue Partners and notable angel investors like Dheeraj Pandey, founder and ex-CEO of Nutanix (NASDAQ: NTNX); Girish Mathrubootham, founder and CEO of Freshworks; Rajiv Batra, founder of Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW); and Vivek Mehra, partner emeritus at August Capital.
Hwy Haul’s technology platform uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and optimization algorithms to connect loads of fresh produce with carriers across North America. Customers include growers, distributors and retailers.
“Produce spends half its life in the supply chain and more than $15 billion is wasted or rejected in transit every year,” Hwy Haul co-founder and CEO Syed Aman said. “Existing produce shipping methods are largely manual, with poor visibility and communication within the supply chain. These inefficiencies lead to a further problem of empty miles and their associated carbon emissions.”
The company’s technology has been able to reduce load rejection rates to between 3% and 4%, Aman told FreightWaves in November. The digital freight platform has been designed for produce shipping and provides enhanced visibility for easier load tracking including real-time humidity and temperature monitoring. Data insights provide context to shipments, helping optimize supply chains, reduce wait times and lower detention costs.
Hwy Haul’s platform directly links farmers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers through a network of vetted carriers that run more efficient routes.
A free driver app helps keep everyone connected and eliminates daily phone calls checking on loads. Carriers also benefit from algorithms that ensure they are receiving the best rates on a lane, the company said. Carriers can choose their preferred lanes, load types and expected earnings per mile, eliminating paperwork and empty miles, Hwy Haul added.
“The produce freight brokerage industry has been operating in traditional ways for decades,” said Kishore Bopardikar, founder and partner at Eileses Capital. “We are excited to lead this investment round for Hwy Haul and support their mission to digitize every step in the value chain and create a seamless experience for the food and fresh produce fraternity.”
Founded in 2018, Hwy Haul utilizes artificial intelligence, machine learning and optimization algorithms to connect loads of fresh produce with carriers. Co-founders Aman and Sharan Grewal are veterans of Walmart’s (NYSE: WMT) grocery business. Aman was director of engineering for Walmart Labs, and Grewal, Hwy Haul’s CTO, held various engineering leadership roles there. COO Zahed Khan has spent 30 years in produce and logistics.
“Inefficiency in the fresh produce supply chain comes at a high cost, not only economically but in terms of food waste and sustainability,” said Tom Shields, a partner at AgFunder. “We are excited to support Hwy Haul in their journey to dramatically improve this key part of our food system.”