Convoy Announces Partnership with Unilever
A startup in Seattle may have just secured the partnership it needs to become an “Uber” for trucking. Convoy Inc. recently announced that it had reached a four-year agreement with Unilever, a giant in the consumer goods industry.
This deal will have Convoy connect Unilever to trucks for thousands upon thousands of shipments per year. The deal is worth millions, and Convoy Chief Executive Officer Dan Lewis noted that the company chose Convoy over several other technology providers in the trucking industry.
Unilever is the organization behind such popular products as Dove soap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, and Lipton tea. Convoy utilizes software to match companies in need of shippers with providers. By lining up deliveries and providing accurate tracking capabilities, the company helps to promote on-time pickups and allows for peer-to-peer transactions in a decentralized model. This business strategy is very similar to that used by the ride-sharing giant, Uber.
Uber made headlines after their merger with Otto earlier this year, and last month they were able to deliver a case of beer in a driverless commercial vehicle. This type of merger may be indicative of the future of trucking, as the company is already working on a similar marketplace to help connect shippers with receivers.
Convoy started in April of 2015 and was backed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff, and Uber co-founder Garrett Camp. The company started out as an organization focused on deliveries as-needed. Convoy management has said that they understand the Uber comparison, but also noted that they want to distance themselves from it if possible.
The company plans to build a high-level trucking company rather than focusing on being a “niche” organization. Reginaldo Ecclissato, a Unilever supply chain executive, said: “Our partnership with Convoy allows us to jointly shape the future of on-demand trucking while adding flexibility into our supply chain.”