Flexport returns to CES: Return of the shipping container booth!

Flexport container booth

Sands Expo Convention Center, Level 2
Booth #44163
(Click here for the exhibitor map)

Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show, Flexport retrofitted and shipped our own container booth to Las Vegas.

(For a quick 60 second video on how we built the booth at CES, check it out here).

For CES 2017, we’re excited to announce that we are bringing back our container booth to build on last year’s success! We’re looking forward to exhibiting even more of our clients and hosting our Flexport friends.

Come by our booth for a drink on Day 1 of CES!
(Thursday, January 5, from 3 PM – 6 PM).

Looking to chat with someone on our team at CES 2017?

We’d be happy to connect at CES@flexport.com!

Looking to learn more cool facts about shipping?

Check out www.flexport.com/blog

Flexport Named One of the “Best Places to Work” by San Francisco Business Times

Flexport is named as one of the Bay Area's Best Places to Work.

We’re thrilled and honored that Flexport was named one of the Best Places to Work in the San Francisco Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal!

This annual award recognizes companies with outstanding workplace environments that attract and retain happy, engaged, and productive employees. More than 400 Bay Area companies participated in the survey, and were ranked on topics like personal growth, workplace satisfaction, and managerial effectiveness.

“We are honored to be named one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ in the Bay Area,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of Flexport. “Our employees are essential to our company and our customers’ continued success, and we take great pride in cultivating an environment and culture for employees to thrive.”

As our company grows, headcount and physical expansion can put serious strain on a culture. In the last year alone, we’ve grown our company significantly, from 25 people in San Francisco to over 97 employees across four different locations around the world: San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.  

So, what contributes to Flexport’s DNA?

  • Open Lines of Communication: As a fast-growing company, we encourage employees to speak up when they see opportunity for improvement. This includes an ongoing “ideas” email channel, where various initiatives have been conceived and owned. In addition, we hold “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) sessions during each All-Hands meetings, where team members submit anonymous questions in advance.
  • Autonomous Squads: We operate in agile teams called squads. Squads allow us to fulfill both individual autonomy and team synchronicity. Each squad member (e.g., logistics manager, account executive, customs broker) brings their unique expertise to ensure we balance our focus of client success, operational excellence, and driving revenue.
  • A Place to Learn and Grow: With weekly lunch and learns, scholarships for industry certifications, and a sponsored book program for personal and professional development books, we invest in developing a team of continuous learners so that our team grows on the job and beyond.
  • Treating Employees Well: From catered lunches to ordering your favorite snacks, and a dog-friendly environment, we strive to create an environment of comfort that allows our team to do their best work. In addition, we encourage wellness activities (such as weekly meditation) and flexible time off.
  • Financial Incentives: Among other things, we want to invest in our employees’ future. That’s why we offer them a 10-year expiration for stock options, a 401k program, and life/disability insurance.  

We do our best to make sure that we are always guided by employee-centered values. As we continue to grow and expand internationally, we are committed to putting our team members first and open to new ideas to help keep them happy and innovative.


Learn more about joining our efforts to change the world of trade at flexport.com/careers!

Flexport Product Announcement: New User Roles

One of the biggest challenges facing old-world freight forwarders in the tech-savvy world of today is having the ability to answer critical business questions about your goods that inform timely, actionable business planning:

  • “How can I better optimize this supply chain?” – Analysts
  • “What are my landed costs per unit for this product line?” – Finance
  • “Where are my goods in transit & what needs my attention today?” – Operations
  • “When can I expect these SKUs to be on the shelf for our customer?” – Sales
  • “Why is nothing where I expect it to be?” – Management

For most forwarders, these can be difficult questions to answer: We’ll have someone get back to you”, “You’ll need to reach out to your account manager for that information”, “You’ll need to talk to a different department about that request”, “That’s not something we can get our arms around easily.” We see things a little differently at Flexport. Running a business with a global footprint at the speed of data means you don’t just need access to critical business insights, you need them at your fingertips in real-time.

One of the key benefits Flexport provides our customers is structured data about their supply chain, captured in real-time by a modern software platform. For many of our clients this is a game-changer—they’ve never had such easy access to insights about how their freight business actually runs. Often their immediate impulse was to share these insights with the rest of their organization, but many worried that providing access to infrequent users who might unknowingly cancel, re-route, or modify a shipment was too big a risk.

We listened and understood this concern, so starting today we’re giving Administrators more granular control over user permissions in the Flexport app so they never have to worry about that risk again!

Analyst - Watcher Role

Under the “user settings” section of the navigation toolbar, Administrators now have the ability to designate stakeholders in their organization as an Analyst or a Tracker.

Analyst permissions are very similar to those already provided to normal Member’s, except they won’t be able to modify or delete anything in your Flexport account. This role is perfect for executives, senior stakeholders or analysts who need access to rich shipment information, but likely aren’t familiar with how the app works or what they can really do with the data we collect. Analyst permissions allow these stakeholders the freedom to play around in the app without the risk of “breaking” anything in your Flexport account.

Tracker permissions are intended for those stakeholders who might need to follow the status of shipments closely, but don’t need access to analytical reporting, landed cost data or other billing details. This role is perfect for account executives, your sales team or anyone who just needs to answer the question “Where is my cargo?”

In addition to the shipment “share” feature, these new roles should provide the granular controls necessary to keep anyone in your supply chain informed with the data they need to make timely business decisions.

Please give these user roles a try & let us know what you think, we’d love to hear from you.

Happy shipping!

Kyle Olney is a product manager at Flexport.

Come see Flexport’s shipping container at CES 2016!


90% of everything you see around you has been carried inside a shipping container like this one. And Flexport is bringing our own shipping container to Las Vegas!

We are very excited about showing some of our coolest clients and their featured products.

Bellabeat – as featured on Forbes, TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, WIRED.

Nod – as featured on BBC, TechCrunch, TIME.com, WIRED.

Osmo – as featured on Bloomberg Business, Forbes, NBC, Wall Street Journal.

Electric Objects – as featured on Bloomberg Business, Forbes, the New York Times, TIME.com.

Ring – as featured on FORTUNE, Mashable, TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal.



Looking to chat with someone on our team at CES 2016?

We’d be happy to connect at CES@flexport.com!

Looking to learn more cool facts about shipping?

Check out www.flexport.com/blog

First Round Review: Small Always Wins

Flexport is mentioned in First Round Review today! Tech veteran Mark Leslie highlights how startups like Flexport, Harry’s and Ring are devouring market share of massive incumbents in their respective industries. This cyclical unbundling process, or Leslie’s Law, occurs when giants grow too slow to adapt and fall victim to agile startups.

“Inevitably, by the time the threat becomes compelling, it’s too late,” writes Leslie. “The small company has taken root, developing the advantages of a lower-cost structure with a simpler, lower-friction product. A new ecosystem has already sprung up around its core offerings. It’s here to stay and its inroads into the incumbent’s territory can’t be stopped.”

Small, simple and cheap will beat large, complex and expensive. Check out the full article here.

We’ve raised money to reinvent global trade

Flexport started with the bold mission to fix the user experience in global trade.

Today we’re pleased to announce an important milestone: Weve raised $6.9M in seed funding from great investors including First Round Capital, Google Ventures, Bloomberg BETA, and Y Combinator.

We created Flexport because we think international trade is still too hard for most companies. Global supply chains are characterized by lack of visibility, confusing paperwork, complicated regulations, rampant price discrimination, and unpredictable delays.

To compound the problem, importers and exporters have to the manage entire process by telephone, email, fax, and courier. That’s a tragedy because international trade is one of the most powerful forces for good the world has ever seen.

Our technology platform enables a network of hundreds of the strongest air, ocean and trucking providers to collaborate and coordinate shipments in real time.

Flexport’s San Francisco-based engineering team is building software to improve processes handled by armies of people on the phone at traditional freight forwarders. This automation eliminates errors and delays while driving down costs, allowing us to bring enterprise-grade logistics services to companies of all sizes.

Meanwhile, Flexport’s team of fully-licensed customs brokers, freight forwarders, and compliance experts ensures that our clients and partners strictly follow both the letter and spirit of all relevant trade laws.

Our customers now include companies in consumer electronics, robotics, and 3D printing along with larger e-commerce businesses that each import hundreds of millions in goods.

Flexport’s online dashboard lets these companies check freight prices, book shipments, route cargo, manage inventory, and get notified of exceptions. And by structuring their supply chain data in meaningful ways, we give them reports and analytics they can actually use.

Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator says, “Flexport is one of those rare startups that will not merely satisfy its market, but grow it. There will be more international trade because of Flexport, and international trade is a very big thing for there to be more of.”

This new funding will allow us to invest even more in engineering, partner development, marketing, and especially, customer service.

We are thrilled to be working with some of the world’s best investors to bring our vision of a hyper-connected global trade network to fruition. Because of all they’ve done, we want to thank each of our investors by name. The list is long, but distinguished:

Acequia Capital, A-GRade Investments, Bloomberg BETA, Box Group, Cherubic Ventures, First Round Capital, Fuel Capital, Funders Club, Google Ventures, Hydrazine Capital, Inside Capital, Kindling Capital, Lunch Van Fund, Susa Ventures, SV Angel, TYLT Lab, Winklevoss Capital Fund, and Y Combinator.

Our round was also joined by a distinguished group of angels including Alexis Ohanian, Anja Manuel, Ashton Kutcher, David Lerner, David Lieb, Garry Tan, George Strompolos, Gianni Martire, Gustavo Alberelli, Harj Taggar, Ian Roncoroni, Jarred Colli, Jeff Epstein, Jeff Natland, Josh Reeves, Lee Linden, Matt Humphrey, Mike Cardamone, Mikhail Seregine, Naveen Jain, Paul Buchheit, Paul Sethi, Ram Shriram, Sam Altman, Scott Banister, Scott Belsky, Sean Harper, Sheel Mohnot, Steve Fan, Trapp Lewis, Tyras Bookman, Wesley Chan, Yuri Sagalov, and Zac Bookman.

We take the stewardship of both their precious capital and good names very seriously. Together we‘re going to do everything in our power–and many things not yet in our power–to fundamentally improve the way companies move goods around the world.

Start-Ups Unbundling the Logistics Industry

CB Insights mentioned Flexport in an interesting article on start-ups disrupting FedEx, UPS, and the logistics industry!

Check out the full CB Insights article below:

Are shipping & logistics titans like FedEx and UPS being unbundled by startups? Drawing inspiration from Andrew Parker & David Haber’s Disaggregation of Craigslist (both of Spark Capital), as well as the Disaggregation of a Bank by Tom Loverro (RRE) and Alexander Pease (Union Square Ventures), we looked at today’s US startups targeting shipping and logistics companies to visualize the Unbundling of FedEx.

The graphic below includes startups like Shyp, which simplifies the process of shipping packages using a mobile platform and a fleet of “Shyp Heroes”, to freight rate comparison products like Pivot Freight, to on demand delivery/courier options such as Postmates andUber.

disaggregation of fedex viz v2

With the clear rise of US-based companies targeting various verticals within shipping and logistics, we used CB Insights data to analyze the investment activity around the space as well. We found that deals reached a three year high in 2014 and were up 65% year-over-year. Through the first 2 months of 2015, there have already been 6 deals to FedEx “unbundlers” so the space is heating up.

Disrupting fedex deal activity



What are the common costs of importing?

One of the questions we get asked most is about how much importing a shipment into the US will cost, from beginning to end.  Understandably, people want to know a ballpark figure so that they know what to expect from the importing process.  The following is a table that hopefully can help you gauge what some of the common costs of the process will be, along with possible ranges for amounts if estimable:

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