Sequoia-backed NEXT gets $97M as investment in logistics heats up

Despite its “unsexy” reputation, the logistics industry is attracting massive investment from venture capitalists.

With a fresh $97 million in Series C funding, NEXT joins a fleet of heavily funded logistics platforms, including Flexport, Huochebang and Convoy. The company, which connects shippers and carriers through an online marketplace, raised the capital from Brookfield Ventures, with participation from Sequoia Capital and logistics solutions provider GLP. NEXT declined to disclose the valuation or whether its latest financing included debt.

In 2018, global logistics startups collected more than $6 billion in VC funding, nearly double the $3.2 billion invested in the space the year prior, according to PitchBook. A significant portion of the 2018 capital went to Chinese ventures at about 40 percent. U.S. logistics businesses raised 19 percent, or about $1.2 billion, across 114 deals.

“The logistics space is under more pressure than ever before — with more shipments coming into our ports than drivers and warehouses have the capacity to manage,” NEXT co-founder and chief executive officer Lidia Yan said in a statement.

NEXT was founded in 2015 by Yan and her husband Elton Chung. The round brings the business’s total raised to $125 million, including a $21 million round in January 2018.

Headquartered in Lynwood, California, NEXT plans to use the investment to fill 150 positions in 2019, as well as complete the launch of Relay, a new service targeting the “systemic congestion” at shipping ports.

“NEXT continues to address the critical issues that face logistics management in the U.S. — from the nationwide driver shortage to congestion and operations at our busiest ports,” Sequoia partner Omar Hamoui said in a statement. “We’ve been impressed with NEXT’s ability to execute, and the introduction of Relay proves they have the team and expertise to continue innovating in ways that will ease the pain points of carriers and shippers.”

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