uShip.com, the world's first and largest online transport marketplace, announced $18M in Series C funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
uShip Australia launched in 2009, and the company now plans to renew focus and invest heavily in expanding its presence in the region. uShip uses a reverse-auction format to help shipping customers easily connect with transportation companies ranging from one-truck operations to multinational logistics firms. Customers save money because transporters compete - and transporters are able to make more money on each run by utilizing empty cargo space. Based in Austin, Texas, uShip now has localized sites in 18 countries across five continents, with a European office in Amsterdam. uShip transporters are also featured in A&E's television show, 'Shipping Wars', which began airing in Australia shortly after its US premiere.
While uShip is well-established in the US and throughout Europe, the company is just now focusing on really building momentum in Australia.
"We've always seen Australia as a great opportunity," says Shawn Bose, uShip Vice President and GM of Global Business. "The fact that English is the native language certainly makes the transition a little easier - but it's still a wholly unique market, so we have to treat it as such and adapt accordingly." Initial efforts have focused on search marketing and learning from early adopters.
Australia's transportation industry is characterized by long-distance hauls, which makes logistical planning a vital need for all transporters.
"There are some extremely remote locations that must be reached within Australia - and the country itself is remote when you start looking at international shipping" says Bose. "We hope that uShip will be able to make those distances a little less daunting."
uShip plans to put a portion of the funding directly into Australia. Funds earmarked for development of the core business also should help spark growth in the region. In addition to building out its commercial shipping platform, uShip plans to invest heavily in its mobile application, key in a market where such a large part of the population has access to the internet from their phones. For transporters who are constantly on the road, mobile access is critical in allowing them to find their next load with little to no downtime.