BERLIN: Digital freight startup Sennder on Tuesday said it had raised a further US$80 million from investors to expand its business, having decided against going public via a merger with a listed blank-cheque company.

The extra money came through an extension of a venture round through which Sennder – Europe’s leading digital freight forwarder – had raised US$160 million in January which valued the business at more than US$1 billion.

CEO and co-founder David Nothacker said the funding, led by Baillie Gifford, broadened Sennder’s investor base with a fund manager known for backing companies planning to float – which he said the Berlin startup wanted to do in a few years.

Sennder had held talks with a number of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) – listed shell companies that offer a more direct route to the stock market than a traditional initial public offering – but that option was now off the table.

“With this extra funding, it wouldn’t make too much sense to go public via a SPAC,” Nothacker told Reuters in an interview.

Sennder, founded in 2015, has emerged as a consolidator in Europe’s freight-tech sector, merging with France’s Everoad and buying Uber’s European freight business last year.

Its technology platform matches full-truck loads with actual trucks, a process that has traditionally relied on small trucking companies working with phone, pen and paper.

This type of broking business accounts for around a third of Europe’s US$350 billion freight sector. Sennder has 12,500 trucks on its platform and expects to move more than 1 million loads this year.

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Nothacker said that Sennder was prepared to be acquisitive to address a shortage of capacity that has been exacerbated during the coronavirus pandemic by drivers – many from eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union – going home.

Sennder had two or three M&A deals in the pipeline: “I would expect one, if not two, deals later this year,” he said.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine. Editing by Jane Merriman)



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