Portcast Raises US$3.2 mn to Make Logistics Profitable with AI-Driven Visibility

Venture Investment

SINGAPORE, September 7, 2021 Logistics tech start-up, Portcast has announced the completion of its US$3.2 million (S$4.3 million) Pre-Series A financing led by Newtown Partners (via the Imperial Venture Fund) with participation from Wavemaker Partners, TMV and Innoport, who join existing investors SGInnovate, among others.

The capital will go towards international expansion, doubling the team size and product enhancement, in particular, moving from predictive Artificial Intelligence (AI) to prescriptive AI and launching new product features such as order-level visibility and scenario planning.

The Singapore-based company enables freight forwarders and manufacturers across the world to achieve real-time visibility, reduce operational costs and improve customer experience, thereby improving profit margins. It does this by accurately predicting the estimated time of arrivals of more than 90% of ships globally and forecasting demand for over 30,000 trade routes (both air and sea) daily through an intuitive SaaS platform and APIs.

Nidhi Gupta, CEO & Co-Founder, Portcast

“Global supply chains are under extreme pressure with record delays, unprecedented congestion at ports and constrained capacities. This has led to ridiculously high transportation costs which are being transferred to the end consumer yet service reliability remains low. We believe that companies with predictive visibility on cargo movements have a significantly higher preparedness to downstream planning and customer service, and we have already seen the impact of this with reductions in overall port fees by 20% and manual work by 80% for our customers.”, says Nidhi Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder of Portcast.

During her 10 years in the logistics industry in senior leadership roles, Gupta realised the critical importance (and absence) of technology in logistics to enable efficiency. This led her to set up Portcast with her co-founder, Dr. Lingxiao Xia, to transform global shipping – an industry still lagging in digitisation and sustainability. Since its launch in 2018, Portcast has already amassed an impressive list of freight forwarding and manufacturing customers across the world and predicts over 300,000 shipment events daily.

Gupta adds, “The cloud-based technology has the ability to map out the cascading effects of disruptions such as Typhoon In-fa and the Suez Canal congestion, allowing forwarders and shippers to respond and react more effectively in such scenarios.”

“Portcast has proven its technology not just in the long-haul routes, but also in multi-port voyages and emerging economies, which are harder to predict. We believe the technology has global replicability in automating logistics workflows and digitisation. This aligns with our vision of backing innovative logistics startups and creates synergies in the European and African trading routes”, says Llew Claasen, Managing Partner at Newtown Partners.

Portcast believes that logistics digitisation is at an inflection point. Gartner reports that 50% of product-centric supply-chains will invest in real-time transportation visibility platforms by 2023. It becomes crucial to not only bring visibility, but also intuitive explainability and scenarios that allow operators to decide what actions to take. This is exactly where the next features of Portcast are being developed.

“COVID-19 has accelerated the need to digitise the supply chain. Portcast’s ability to ingest data from multiple sources and apply machine learning enables it to improve forecasting demand as well as arrival schedules for the shipping industry. This helps customers optimise their plans which in turn helps increase profitability. We are glad to have led Portcast’s seed round in 2018 and are happy to support them again in this round,” says Paul Santos, Managing Partner, Wavemaker Partners in Southeast Asia.