Newtown Partners portfolio company, Portcast, today announced raising $3.2m in Pre-Series A equity financing.
Portcast is a Singapore-based SaaS platform that enables freight forwarders and shippers to improve profitability through real-time vessel and container tracking and dynamic demand forecasting. Portcast learns from public and proprietary datasets and provides accurate, frequent, and granular predictive analytics. Portcast is able to accurately predict the estimated time of arrivals of more than 90% of ships globally and forecast demand for over 30,000 trade lanes (both air and ocean) up to 3 months in advance.
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The Portcast platform has two main capabilities: (1) Predictive container visibility platform enables freight forwarders and shippers to upload any vessel or container to track movement and understand the cause of delays. Alternatively, Portcast can integrate via APIs into a control tower or transport management system. Portcast has shown the impact of this capability for its customers to be a significant reduction in detention & demurrage costs, buffer costs, expedited air freight costs, productivity savings, and improved customer retention. (2) Cargo demand forecasting provides accurate demand forecasts (for ocean and air freight) enabling smarter pricing, higher capacity utilization, and efficient asset repositioning. Portcast provides a real-time view of booking patterns, customer profiles, external economic trends, and seasonalities to make data-driven decisions. The impact of this capability is material additional revenue per shipment for freight forwarders.
Newtown Partners, via the Imperial Venture Fund, led the investment round and took up a board seat. Other key investors in the round included Wavemaker Partners, TMV, and Innoport, who joined existing investor SGInnovate, a private organization owned by the Singaporean government tasked with helping entrepreneurial scientists build Deep Tech startups.
We found Portcast compelling for its healthy gross margins compared to competitors (suggesting developing competitive advantage), a strong female-led team (with extensive logistics and data science expertise), a promising pipeline of global blue-chip customers, winning customers from key competitors, a fast-growing operating region (Southeast Asia), as well as strong alignment with our supply chain visibility framework and investment thesis.
Portcast has proven its technology in both long-haul routes and multi-port voyages in emerging markets, which are harder to predict. We believe the technology is globally competitive and will become an essential element of supply chain digitization that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated. It also has wide application in European and African trade lanes and we’re looking forward to exploring these synergies with Portcast and our LP, Imperial.