Dr. Fabian Heilemann (Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board), Ferry Heilemann (Co-Founder, CEO), Michael Wax (Co-Founder, CCO), and Erik Muttersbach (Co-Founder, CTO) © Jasper Kettner
What inspired you to found your startup?
We all have experience with the startup scene on different levels. Ferry and Fabian successfully founded and sold DailyDeal to Google, Michael was Co-Founder of Konux and Erik was involved with multiple tech businesses. In October 2015 we started the ideation phase. We were looking for a relevant industry which hasn’t been influenced by digitalization strikingly so far and decided freight forwarding has the best potential for us.
How do you define success for yourself and your company?
As entrepreneurs it is of course imperative to define clear goals. Such as shipping our first 10.000 containers by the end of 2017. On the other hand it`s the great spirit within the whole team and the opportunity to contribute to something, that makes us tackle our challenges successfully on daily basis.
Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do it again?
Fortunately, we could already gain a lot of experience through our first startups founded before getting started with FreightHub. We learned from former mistakes and had already a big expert network to draw on. One of the learnings we gathered from our ideation phase is not to fall in love with ideas to quickly but, once you have found your spot in the market it’s all about passion and not giving up on your goal.
What problem does your product solve?
The industry’s main problem is the low degree of digitalization which often results in frustration for the customers. Many freight forwarders still manage their business via phone, emails and faxes. Their systems don’t provide track and trace, do not enable the automation of processes and are inefficient in general. FH increases the efficiency significantly channeling 90 % of the communication automatically through the platform, saving time for both parties and providing a digital 24/7 service.
Where do you see your company in 1/5/10 years?
Our mission is to assemble the greatest minds and use latest technology to create the best customer oriented logistics service. By 2022, we want to be within the top 20 forwarding companies and offer the best logistics service in the world. This means we are intending to be globally more present and expand worldwide.
How are you different?
A few freight forwarders have already noticed the market gap and the potential of digitalization for the logistic scene but no other business except for ours is able to automatically get real time quotes and offer a track & trace service for our customers shipments from door to door at the same time. We also provide transparency by compiling all important shipping and customer documents at one place. Thus we make the shipping experience for our customers as convenient as possible.
How often does your product/service show up in a user’s day or week?
Our product allows even small and middle sized businesses to import and export freight as easy as it is to book a flight. Additionally we can offer a full time service with our platform operating 24/7. You could wake up in the middle of the night and check where your container is at that precise moment.
Impact: how are you doing good and building a better future?
We strive for a green and ecological friendly office. As a tech company, we interact completely paper free with our customers. As a consequence, no paper is used in any of our booking processes. The global freight forwarding business is CO2-sensitive and we are currently working on options that allow our customers to make a difference.
How has the startup scene in Berlin changed?
A trend is the professionality that gains weight; former startups are growing at terrific pace and become million dollar companies. The startup scene gets more structured. On the other side, the venture capital available rises and more and more startups get funding.
What are the pros and cons of launching your startup from Berlin?
As European startup hub, Berlin is the ideal place to launch a tech company. The environment offers optimal conditions to build something big: access to great minds from all over the world, a good funding infrastructure, etc. Another crucial factor to mention is the country Germany: The local players take a leading role in the worldwide logistics industry.
Bonus Question: Anything else that we need to know about you?
We have many team members that turned their backs on big global players because they saw the big opportunities lying within our business idea.
FreightHub was featured in “The Hundert Vol. 10 – Startups of Berlin“, October 2017.