Portcast' Nidhi Gupta, Dr. Lingxiao Xia 2

Portcast CEO Nidhi Gupta (R) and CTO Lingxiao Xia

Portcast, a Singapore-based AI-powered logistics startup, announced today that it has closed a US$3.2 million pre-Series A financing led by Imperial Venture Fund.

Imperial Venture is a US$20-million joint corporate VC vehicle between Newtown Partners and South African logistics company Imperial.

The round also saw participation from Wavemaker Partners, TMV, and Innoport, among others.

Portcast plans to use the new funding to press ahead with international expansion, double the team size and product enhancement, and move from predictive AI to prescriptive AI. The startup also plans to launch new product features such as order-level visibility and scenario planning.

Founded in 2018 by Nidhi Gupta, Portcast offers global freight forwarders and manufacturers an intuitive SaaS platform and APIs to accurately predict air and ocean cargo flows and forecast daily demand.

By leveraging proprietary machine learning algorithms and real-time external market data, Portcast helps its clients achieve real-time visibility, reduce operational costs and improve customer experience, thereby improving supply chain profitability.

The company claims to have predicted the estimated time of arrivals of more than 90 per cent of ships globally and forecasted demand for over 30,000 trade routes (both air and sea) daily.

Also read: Vietnam’s supply chain amid worst COVID-19 outbreak: How tech startups are getting along

According to Gupta, record delays, unprecedented congestion at ports, and constrained capacities have led to high transportation costs of the global supply chain. This translates into the end consumers’ loss and low service reliability.

“We believe that companies with predictive visibility on cargo movements have a significantly higher preparedness to downstream planning and customer service,” said Gupta. “The cloud-based technology has the ability to map out the cascading effects of disruptions such as Typhoon In-fa and the Suez Canal congestion, allowing forwarders and shippers to respond and react more effectively in such scenarios.”

Gupta added that the technology contributes to the reductions in overall port fees by 20 per cent and manual work by 80 per cent for our customers.

“Portcast has proven its technology not just in the long-haul routes, but also in multi-port voyages and emerging economies, which are harder to predict,” said Llew Claasen, managing partner at Newtown Partners. “We believe the technology has global replicability in automating logistics workflows and digitisation.”

Before the latest round, Portcast received US$758,000 seed funding from Wavemaker and SGInnovate.

COVID-19 has enabled the global supply chain to touch its inflexion point, which empowers real-time visibility and forecast capabilities. Gartner reports that 50 per cent of product-centric supply chains will invest in real-time transportation visibility platforms by 2023. 

Image credit: Portcast

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