SoftBank Group Corp. is doubling down on its bet that technology startups will reshape freight shipping and logistics, a sector that has been an ambitious focal point for the firm.
Through its Vision Fund 2, the Japanese firm led a $113.5 million investment in Flock Freight, a U.S. software startup that offers a service that uses algorithms to match trucks with freight headed in the same direction. The service, intended to optimize trucks’ shipping capacity, is akin to a ride-hailing company’s pooled services that match riders in the same vehicle based on their pickup and drop-off locations.
The deal values Flock Freight at roughly $500 million, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Volvo Group ’s venture-capital arm joined SoftBank in the financing. The Swedish-based company is one of the world’s largest heavy-duty truck manufacturers and is planning to collaborate with the startup and help improve its technology, said Martin Witt, the head of Volvo Group Venture Capital.
For SoftBank, the investment is the latest in a string of bets on startups attempting to overhaul how cargo moves across the globe. The firm has seeded businesses across geographies aiming to introduce technology to various logistics processes.