Shipping know-it-alls

Norwegian company Xeneta is changing the shipping industry with organized data

Photo: Pixabay Before you can improve something, you have to measure it. How much cargo is actually being shipped, how long does it take, and how much does it cost? Xeneta knows.

Photo: Pixabay
Before you can improve something, you have to measure it. How much cargo is actually being shipped, how long does it take, and how much does it cost? Xeneta knows.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

The founders of Xeneta really wanted to start a consulting business. Now they are in the process of changing the way the shipping business operates. Shipping has deep roots in Norway, which gives an advantage to the new company. The founders have international experience from the logistics industry. They know the challenges related to high volatility and lack of transparency in the sea freight market. By combining a logistics background and information technology expertise, they found the solution to these challenges. Their solution is to gather and organize the vast amounts of data and information generated constantly throughout the industry, building and providing market intelligence with engaged stakeholders. If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.

The company was launched in 2012 in Oslo. After two years’ work on the new concept, Thomas Sørbø and Patrick O. Berglund left secure jobs and started the company. They were joined by developer Vilhelm Vardøy. Now they have developed a software-as-a-service platform providing online price comparison for the container shipping industry, based on crowdsourcing data from container freight buyers.

So far they have raised $8.5 million from private investors, including $5.3 million raised recently. The last investments was made by previous backers Creandum (Stockholm), Point Nine Capital (Berlin), Alden (Oslo), and new investor Alliance Venture (Norway) to accelerate product innovation and growth.

In the containerized sea freight industry, acquiring good information about rates and performance has been slow, too exhausting, and too random. Xeneta promises their customers will get the facts straight and when they need them. The typical customers are companies doing an average of $20 million per year in container shipping. Therefore, even a small difference in price for a particular route can make a quantifiable difference to the bottom line.

Selecting the best supplier for freight does not depend solely on lowest price quoted. The quality of the service, customer service, reactiveness by the supplier, and timeliness often contribute to customers’ perception of the value for money and might influence their final choice of supplier. Therefore Xeneta built a new rating system. With this the customer has the opportunity to rate their suppliers on aspects other than price. As more and more of the customers rate their suppliers, they will aggregate the results and report back insight as to how the individual suppliers are perceived by others.

The startup provides actionable data on shipping rates, giving insight into a global sea freight market when it comes to prices on a growing database with thousands of shipping routes worldwide. The company provides unprecedented market intelligence and brings transparency to the freight industry!

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 2, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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Rasmus Falck

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo.