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Freight Startup Flexport Raises $110M, Turns Down $1Bn Valuation

Flexport, the shipping logistics company that launched in San Francisco just four years ago, is set to close a $110m Series C funding round. The investment values the company at $910m post money, says Wesley Chan, managing director at Menlo Park VC firm Felicis Ventures, an early investor in Flexport. The new round will bring the total capital invested to $204m.

Flexport is one of the 25 companies on Forbes's 2017 list of next billion-dollar startups.

Flexport CEO and founder Ryan Petersen last week confirmed a report that he had turned away investors who would have valued the company at more than $1bn.

ďWeíve always sought the best investors, and the investors who can help the company the most donít always offer the highest valuation,Ē he said by text.

Only Flexportís previous investors joined the round, led by DST Global, the Hong Kong-based firm headed by billionaire Yuri Milner that once owned 8 percent of Facebook. Billionaire Peter Thielís Founders Fund is also participating. Investors are eager to get a piece of Flexport, says Chan, because itís very rare to see such a young company with substantial revenue. The company expects revenue to hit $500m this year.

Before starting Flexport, Petersen and his brother imported dirt bikes and scooters from China. They had to deal with so-called freight forwarders, logistics companies that track the ships, planes, trucks and trains that move goods internationally. Freight forwarders have come late to digitization, relying on faxes and phone calls instead of software. Petersenís idea: develop software so customers can easily track packages a la FedEx. Heís already built an international company with 420 employees in seven offices, including Atlanta, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and warehouses in Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

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