Global trade, Global Supply chains and more than 50,000 products on the shelves in your supermarket around the corner: That requires efficient logistics. And that is precisely what this blogpost is all about. Because I present here 7 promising start-ups from Germany who (want to) revolutionize logistics. I proudly present …

Smartlane

Let’s assume a haulage company has 46 delivery vehicles, 4500 packages and 3800 delivery addresses. What is the optimum route (time, fuel consumption)? – This sounds like a classic optimisation problem from logistics. And in real live it’s even much more complex! This is, however, where you can expect reliable support from the start-up Smartlane: Its logistics customers can control their vehicles with a cloud-based software. More efficiency, less fuel consumption, higher capacity utilization – this is all achieved by using a powerful AI algorithm. All conditions are considered such as delivery time windows, driver and vehicle capacities, fleet size, traffic data etcetera.

Among the (Venture Capital) investors: Frank Thelen. By the way, you’ll find a good interview with co-founder Monja Mühling on the Podcast Handelsblatt Disrupt. In German.

Foundation in 2015. In Munich. Website: www.smartlane.de

Carrypicker

Smartlane is not the only player in the race to deliver the “brain” to the logistics industry. The start-up Carrypicker also bets on a revolution in logistics. Taking into account the locations of the two start-ups, it looks like a playful competition between two Tech Hubs in Germany: Munich vs Hamburg.

Foundation in 2017. In Hamburg. Website: www.carrypicker.com

Unisphere

The start-up “UniSphere” was developed with a market in mind that sounds for some a bit like science fiction. However, the trend towards commercial use of drones becomes ever stronger. And Unisphere provides to toolkit for companies to participate in that “drone-based logistics”. It’s a toolbox to orchestrate a fleet of drones (fully automated flight planning and execution). The offering comprises also consulting on the operational concept.

The founders have many years of experience in pioneer projects of the aviation industry, namely the project “Solar Impulse – Around the world in a Solar Airplane”. The start-up is part of the support program of the European Space Agency and works together with the University of Delft, Frontex and various other players.

Foundation in 2017. In Konstanz. Website: www.unisphere.de

Sennder

The Start-Up Sennder offers an efficient brokerage platform that connects haulage companies on the one hand and their clients on the other hand; It is – simply put – the “UBER” in the market of Full-Truck-Load. It’s important to know: Full-Truck-Load is the important mass business in truck transport. Market volume: 400 billion Euros in Europe alone.

The company has raised about 100 million capital in 2019. This year Sennder has taken over the player Everoad from France. According to the business plan the start-up wants to earn money from 2025 / 2026 onwards. Sennder competes with players such as Instafright, Freighthub and of course the new offerings of established logistics players. You’ll find a comprehensive overview in the following (German) article in the newspaper “Handelsblatt”: Click here.

Foundation in 2015. In Berlin. Website: www.sennder.com

Fleetize

If you are a logistics operator aiming at digital transformation of your company, you do not have to rely necessarily have to start your Digital Roadmap with introducing an AI algorithm for route/tour planning. Especially SME players can achieve higher efficiency and transparency with smaller solutions/investment. Not all (SME) logistics companies are prepared to invest heavily in digitization. The CEO of Sennder, David Nothacker, confirmed this recently in an interview: “The small freight carriers are sometimes afraid of digitalization, the large clients lack the digital resources to provide the interfaces.”

If you want to take a small step towards digitization first, then Fleetize might be the right partner for you: The company offers a “digital toolbox” with three essential gadgets. First, simple vehicle location with the help of a GPS tracker. Second, the (semi)automatic electronic driver’s logbook, which translates into tax savings and time savings. Third, a flexible and simple working time recording system that can be combined with the vehicle fleet and thus creates transparency over the duration of the shipping tour. Among the customers of Fleetize: Fraport AG and mainly SMEs – from waste disposal companies to catering companies.

Foundation in 2013. In Waiblingen (near Stuttgart). Website: www.fleetize.com

ParcelLab

The Start-Up ParcelLab optimizes the user experience along the entire logistics chain once the parcel leaves the warehouse. All relevant events (e.g. delivery problems) are automatically and promptly communicated to the customer (e-mail, SMS, Facebook, proprietary app of the eCommerce company). This reduces customer queries (“Where is my order?”). Additionally, it can also be used for customer engagement.

The list of customers is quite impressive: LIDL, Weltbild, IKEA, PUMA, Nespresso, MediaMarkt, hess natur, GRAVIS and many more

Foundation in 2015. In Munich. Website: www.parcellab.com

Packadoo

eCommerce is booming – even more so in the corona crisis. And we all know the slip in our mailbox that tells you about an unsuccessful attempt to deliver a parcel. Next day: You waste to to pick up your parcel at the indicated DHL or Hermes branch.

No more such frustrating experiences thanks to the Start-Up Pakadoo. Pakadoo is a digital solution, with which employees can receive their private parcels officially in the company – a win-win-win situation for parcel deliverers, employees and even the company.

Foundation in 2018. In Boeblingen (close to Stuttgart). Website: www.pakadoo.de

Promising StartUps in other industries

Sebastian Zang
Author

The author is a manager in the software industry with international expertise: Authorized officer at one of the large consulting firms - Responsible for setting up an IT development center at the Bangalore offshore location - Director M&A at a software company in Berlin.