project44 has acquired Convey for $255 million to create an end-to-end supply chain visibility solution, marrying up the latter’s expertise in last mile to complement its focus up the chain in first and middle mile and all modes of freight, in both B2B and direct-to-consumer realms.
“We both have the same vision of end-to-end visibility, but neither could credibly tell that story,” said Rob Taylor, CEO of Convey. “project44 has done an amazing job in ocean, air, truckload, LTL and rail. We don’t do any of that. Many of our customers ask us, can you help me understand what’s happen upstream? And they get the same question in reverse.”
project44, with now three acquisitions under its belt in 2021 and having reached unicorn status, claims to be the largest supply chain visibility platform company in terms of annual recurring revenue, customer count and number of carriers in its network. By adding Convey, it will connect more than 880 global shippers and third-party logistics providers with a network of 113,000 carriers, 2.6 million assets and more than 9 billion last-mile shipment events.
Adam Compain, SVP of product marketing and supply chain insights for project44, said Convey brings what he called “delivery experience management” to the table, providing automated case management and workflows to handle exceptions, sometimes in advance.
“When issue arises, they have different collaborative workstreams that help resolve them quickly and effectively,” Compain said. “It complements the workflow capabilities we already have. It’s visibility down to parcel, courier, white glove and returns.”
Given the challenging combination of ongoing shipment delays from Asia and elsewhere, and rising customer expectations, supply chain disruption is “through the roof,” Compain said.
“The supply chain is in need of software capability that not only provides visibility but enhances the customer experience that retailers provide, so the resolution of issues is seamless and automated,” he said.
Taylor said while Convey’s focus has traditionally been in retail and 3PL, the software was “purpose built” to be agnostic in terms of last-mile visibility.
“Our platform doesn’t necessarily have to be to the consumer,” he said. “There are lots of applications, and in B2B customer delivery and visibility is really important. There is lots of synergy in terms of products, solutions and customers. For instance, our exception management product that (retail) customers use with their carriers can be used upstream as well.”
Taylor said Convey has put all its energy into the retail and DTC side and building up its brand, and that focus will continue in the near term, but the two companies will work on marrying up their capabilities and broadening the focus.
“Retail in particular is a hard problem to solve,” he said. “Any time you touch the consumer, the bar is raised in terms of predictive accuracy and data integrity. But it’s not the only thing our customers want. They tell us, great job, but I need help with visibility into what’s going into my DCs. That is project44’s world and the reason this makes so much sense.”