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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.
“We’ve always sought the best investors, and the investors who can help the company the most don’t always offer the highest valuation,” he said by text.
Only Flexport’s 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 Thiel’s Founders Fund is also participating. Investors are eager to get a piece of Flexport, says Chan, because it’s 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. Petersen’s idea: develop software so customers can easily track packages a la FedEx. He’s 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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