A startup that tracks global supply chain reaches $2.4 billion

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A startup that tracks global supply chain reaches $2.4 billion

Project 44, a startup that allows the world's largest companies to track shipments across the global supply chain, reached a $2.4 billion valuation after raising $240 million in equity funding from an investor group led by TPG, Thoma Bravo and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s asset management arm.

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The investor group, consisting of Emergence Capital, Insight Partners, Chicago Ventures, Generation Investment Management, Sapphire and Sozo Ventures, also acquired $180 million of the firm's closely held shares from existing investors, including OpenView, for a total investment of $420 million, Project 44 founder and CEO Jett McCandless said in an interview.

The Chicago-based Project 44 plans to invest in expansion, strategic acquisitions and hiring product and engineering staff in countries including Japan, Brazil and China, as well as expand its network and strategic acquisitions, according to McCandless.

The project 44, which tracks more than 1 billion packages annually, has created a connective tissue for shippers, logistics providers and other stakeholders in the transportation industry. He compares it to the distribution systems that provide a link between travel booking platforms and accommodation providers, such as hotels.

With the company's machine learning technology helping predict delivery outcomes, customers can go from reactive to proactive. Sellers have a better sense of knowing whether they will meet a retailer or end customer's commitment, and buyers can make plans based on whether shipments will be on time, early or late. Project 44 tracks 96% of all shipping containers in the world every day. When the Ever Given cargo ship was stuck in the Suez Canal last year, blocking a crucial shipping channel, the startup made its ocean-visibility product free. Goodyear Tire Rubber Co. Bridgestone Corp. and Medtronic Plc - which used the free product have signed up to access paid offerings, joining the likes of Amazon.com Inc. and FedEx Corp. McCandless said.

Project 44 has reached $100 million in annual recurring revenue and is targeting $170 million by the end of the year. After receiving interest from special purpose acquisition companies in 2021, it will probably pursue a traditional initial public offering, though no timeframe has been decided, McCandless said.

As shortages, delays and bottlenecks ramp up, supply-chain visibility has become increasingly important, according to Robert Tre Sayle, a Thoma Bravo parter. The platform that has been developed by Project 44 is a revolutionary platform that adds value to the entire supply chain. Read more: The Inside Story of the Stuck Suez Ship That Broke Global Trade

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