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TPG, Goldman, Thoma Bravo Bet on Project44 at $2.4 Billion Value

(Bloomberg) -- Project44, a startup that enables the world’s largest companies to track shipments across the global supply chain, reached a $2.4 billion valuation after raising $240 million in equity funding from an investor group led by TPG, Thoma Bravo and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s asset-management arm.

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The investor group, which includes Emergence Capital, Insight Partners, Chicago Ventures, Generation Investment Management, Sapphire and Sozo Ventures, also acquired $180 million of the firm’s closely held shares from existing investors including OpenView, for a total investment of $420 million, Project44 founder and Chief Executive Officer Jett McCandless said in an interview.

Chicago-based Project44 plans to spend proceeds on expanding its network, strategic acquisitions, and hiring product and engineering staff in nations including Japan, Brazil and China, McCandless said.

Project44, which tracks more than 1 billion packages annually, has created what McCandless calls a “connective tissue” for shippers, logistics providers and other stakeholders in the transportation industry. He compares it to the global distribution systems that provide a conduit between travel booking platforms and accommodation providers such as hotels.

“Our customers can go from being reactive to proactive,” with the company’s machine-learning technology helping predict delivery outcomes, McCandless said. “Sellers have a better sense of knowing whether they’ll meet a commitment with a retailer or end customer, and buyers can make plans based on whether shipments will be on time, early or late.”

Project44 tracks 96% of all the shipping containers in the world every day. When the Ever Given cargo ship was stuck in the Suez Canal last year, blocking a crucial shipping channel, the startup made its ocean-visibility product free. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Bridgestone Corp. and Medtronic Plc -- which used the free product -- have signed up to access paid offerings, joining the likes of Inc. and FedEx Corp., McCandless said.

Project44 in the past month reached $100 million in annual recurring revenue and is targeting about $170 million by year-end. After fielding interest from special purpose acquisition companies in 2021, it will probably pursue a traditional initial public offering, though no timing has been decided, McCandless said.

“Supply-chain visibility has become increasingly important as shortages, delays and bottlenecks ramp up,” Robert “Tre” Sayle, a Thoma Bravo parter, said in an emailed statement. “Project44 has developed a revolutionary platform that adds significant value to the entire global supply chain.”

Read more: The Inside Story of the Stuck Suez Ship That Broke Global Trade

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