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Investors Pour Millions Into Einride And Hwy Haul As Freight Trucking Needs Explode

Two innovative mobility companies are celebrating major cash infusions from investment groups. One is a leader in electric and driverless freight vehicles, the other is the brainchild of former Walmart WMT+0.7% executives aimed at more efficient produce deliveries to grocery stores.

The latter company, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Hwy Haul, announced Wednesday it had won $10 million in Series A funding. Started in 2018 by two former Walmart executives and a veteran of the trucking industry, Hwy Haul is a produce supply chain logistics company that's developed a platform aimed at produce arriving fresher to grocery stores by eliminating the middleman. It directly links farmers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers to its network that includes thousands of what it terms “pre-vetted carriers.”

The problem of produce arriving spoiled is a multi-billion dollar situation, explained Hwy Haul co-founder Syed Aman.

“ Produce spends half its life in the supply chain, and more than $15 billion is wasted or rejected in transit every year,” said Aman. “Existing produce shipping methods are largely manual, with poor visibility and communication within the supply chain. These inefficiencies lead to a further problem of empty miles and their associated carbon emissions.”

Leading this latest round of funding was Eileses Capital with BluePointe Ventures as the co-lead. Additional investors included AgFunder, True Blue Partners, and “angel” investors that included Dheeraj Pandey, founder, and ex-CEO of Nutanix, Girish Mathrubootham, founder CEO of Freshworks, Rajiv Batra, founder of Palo Alto Networks PANW -2.2%, Vivek Mehra, Partner Emeritus at August Capital and others, the company said in a release.

“Inefficiency in the fresh produce supply chain comes at a high cost, not only economically, but in terms of food waste and sustainability,” said Tom Shields, Partner at AgFunder,” in a statement. “We are excited to support Hwy Haul in their journey to dramatically improve this key part of our food system.”

Swedish tech startup Einride's five-year march to dominance in electric and autonomous trucks was given another big shot of cash to the tune of $110 million Series B funding, the company announced Wednesday. Chipping in were new investors Temasek, Soros Fund Management LLC, Northzone, and Maersk Growth. Existing investors EQT Ventures, Plum Alley, Norrsken VC, Ericsson and NordicNinja VC also participated in the round.

This latest infusion of funds will accelerate Einride's growth in Europe and expansion in the U.S. According to a company spokesperson, Einride will have operations up and running in the U.S. before the end of the year and is looking to set up a headquarters in Austin, Texas along with additional offices in New York and Silicon Valley.

“We are proud to be backed by some of the world's most notable investors as they support our mission of becoming the leading provider of freight transport-as-a-service,” said Robert Falck, CEO of Einride, in a statement.Their network, reach and experience will be invaluable as we further accelerate our strong momentum as the leader in autonomous and electric freight, and as we expand into new markets. Einride is dedicated to transforming road freight transport as we know it, making it more cost-efficient, safe, and sustainable.”

“The rapid growth of Einride has energized the entire industry,” added Avantika Daing, Managing Director and Partner at Plum Alley Investments. “Einride has spearheaded innovation in the autonomous and electric freight transportation industry and the growth in business application is a steady sign that the future of freight has begun.”

Einride doesn't actually sell it's electric and driverless trucks it calls Pods, but rather makes them available on a subscription basis. It also doesn't build them, outsourcing production based on its strict engineering and design guidelines. The vehicles are then managed the Einride Mobility Platform, a cloud-native transport execution system for autonomous and electric road transport.

At the heart of the company is the founders' stated commitment to reduce harmful emissions into the environment. Since its 2016 start, Einride claims it has helped reduce customer carbon dioxide emissions by 94% compared to driving with diesel, including embodied emissions.

Private industry has quickly latched onto Einride's technologies and environmentally-sensitve philosophy. Among its biggest customers are Coca-Cola, appliance giant Electrolux, vegan food producer Oatly and German grocery store chain Lidl.

This latest round of funding comes as commercial trucking sees exponential growth, in part, because of the explosion of delivery services sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a September, 2020 report by Global Industry Analysts Inc. the global freight trucking market is expected to grow to $5.5 trillion in 2027 from $4.2 trillion last year.

That expected growth weighed on the minds of several of the investment companies casting their financial lots with Einride.

"The road freight market is at an inflection point, with consumer demand and regulation pushing shippers to look for sustainable alternatives,” said Jessica Schultz, General Partner at Northzone in a statement. “Einride has emerged as the category leader, allowing global shippers to shift to electric and autonomous freight options. We've been blown away by the quality of the Einride team and are proud to support their journey towards the future of freight."

Indeed, the confidence investors have shown both Einride and Hwy Haul is indicative of their belief that innovative mobility companies that are also unicorns in their field will be the most profitable horses to ride.

This article originally appeared on Forbes

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