How an 'Uber for the oceans' wants to change marine shipping
A marine shipping startup has raised millions from investors as it seeks to become the "Uber for the oceans," according to Bloomberg.
Flexport has streamlined the often complex overseas shipping process by consolidating all freight forwarders, forms and fees into one simple interface that even shows tracking information.
Flexport connects customers with carriers, and software takes care of customs, tariffs and other logistics. A Web-based dashboard lets a U.S. importer comparison-shop by typing in variables - Port A on this day or Port B on this one, railcar versus tractor-trailer - and displays price-quotes from transport companies.
Shipping goods from a factory in China is now almost as easy as tapping your way to a car service in Manhattan.
"Our mission is to bring the world free trade through technology - not free trade in the sense that you don't have to pay taxes or follow regulations, but free trade in the sense of those things happen in the background automatically," founder Ryan Peterson said in a previous interview.
"It's so simple that anyone can do it."
Flexport has raised $6.6 million in funding, some of which has come from the likes of Google Ventures and actor Ashton Kutcher, according to Bloomberg.
It is one of many concepts to emerge from Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley-based startup incubator. Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit and many other platforms have also sprouted from Y Combinator.
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