Global supply chain visibility firm project44 has announced it has closed on a $202 million Series E round led by funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management (NYSE: GS) and Emergence Capital, with increased investment from its current investors, including Insight Partners, Sapphire, 8VC, Chicago Ventures and Sozo. The company has raised $442.5 million since 2016 and with its recent raise is valued at $1.2 billion.

“We are fully aligned with the vision that Jett and his team have set forth to build the clear global leader in supply chain visibility,” said Will Chen, managing director of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, in the release. “By continuing to innovate and by further extending its global reach, project44 addresses critical pain points and brings increasing value to its customers and partners, who are among the most sophisticated shippers and logistics service providers in the world.”

Throughout the past year, project44 has been tackling the supply chain visibility bottleneck and breakdowns head-on and investing in a multitude of visibility solutions for more than 550 enterprise customers, including Amazon, P&G, Starbucks, Unilever, Nestle, Cargill Lenovo and the Bosch Group.  

The company was recently ranked a leader in Gartner’s first-ever Magic Quadrant for Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms and was applauded for its ability to execute and collaborate with carriers with higher-quality data connections and more robust automation than its peers.

This excellence in execution is best seen in its recent acquisition of Ocean Insights, a pioneer in ocean freight visibility, and its expansion into truckload visibility in China.

While project44 was ranked as a leader in the supply-chain visibility space for its solid data foundation, competitors were noted to have a stronger focus on extended capabilities outside of visibility. The company has pushed against this notion by growing its team globally, seen in its recent acquisition of ClearMetal, a supply chain planning software company that focuses on international freight visibility and predictive planning, to bring on a “best-in-class” team of data scientists with a variety of machine learning and computer science backgrounds. 

“When you think about accelerating innovation and improving the value proposition for our customers, we have used inorganic opportunities to do so,” said Jason Duboe, chief growth officer at project44, in an interview with FreightWaves. “Whether it’s modal expansion with Ocean Insights or machine learning and orchestration with ClearMetal, there will continue to be additional companies that can help us build deeper value proposition use cases, leverage machine learning, data science and predictive analytics for our customers.”

Duboe went on to explain that working with Goldman Sachs Asset Management will enable the company to continue to expand its visibility network globally and deliver a better customer experience.

“This gives us a unique position to expand our coverage across Asia and to work with many of the world’s largest suppliers in the Asia-Pacific region,” he explained. “When you think about the importance of that to global supply chains, looking at inventory and orders much further upstream in order to manage exceptions and really manage inventory more effectively puts us in an extremely good position to deliver greater value for our customers. I think there are certain verticals that are underrepresented across our network today and represent large growth opportunities for project44.”

Importance of team members

Project44 has continued to attribute its exponential growth, like its 135% year-over-year new bookings growth in Q1, to the company’s skilled team.  

Thus far in 2021, project44 has added 250 team members in eight different countries. Adding the teams from Ocean Insights and ClearMetal has boosted the analytic experience covering more than 55 shipping lines, 700 seaports and more than 5,000 vessels. 

“I’m not a cost-cutting CEO and founder,” Jett McCandless, founder and CEO of project44, explained in an interview with FreightWaves. “I believe in growing into the cost structure and investing in teams. Each company is the fastest growing in their category, offering best-in-class solutions.”

Vernon O’Donnell, the company’s chief product officer, expressed the same sentiment when describing the importance of the company’s growth in Asia.

“Over half of our employees are not novices outside of the U.S.,” he said. “That includes executives, operations, customer success, sales and product development. They’re across Europe, South America, Asia and that is part of our DNA.”

McCandless said with these new funds, project44 will continue to build this strong, innovative team to bring new products to its customers.

“We are grateful for the confidence Goldman Sachs and our existing investors have placed in our team as we continue to solve some of the most critical supply chain execution challenges across the globe,” he said. “This investment will allow us to continue hiring the best talent, accelerate our global expansion and improve our products to deliver even more value to our customers.”

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