BERLIN, June 1 (Reuters) - Digital freight startup Sennder
on Tuesday said it had raised a further $80 million from
investors to expand its business, having decided against going
public via a merger with a listed blank-cheque company.
The extra money came through an extension of a venture round
through which Sennder - Europe's leading digital freight
forwarder - had raised $160 million in January which valued the
business at more than $1 billion.
CEO and co-founder David Nothacker said the funding, led by
Baillie Gifford, broadened Sennder's investor base with a fund
manager known for backing companies planning to float - which he
said the Berlin startup wanted to do in a few years.
Sennder had held talks with a number of Special Purpose
Acquisition Companies (SPACs) - listed shell companies that
offer a more direct route to the stock market than a traditional
initial public offering - but that option was now off the table.
"With this extra funding, it wouldn't make too much sense to
go public via a SPAC," Nothacker told Reuters in an interview.
Sennder, founded in 2015, has emerged as a consolidator in
Europe's freight-tech sector, merging with France's Everoad and
buying Uber's European freight business last year.
Its technology platform matches full-truck loads with actual
trucks, a process that has traditionally relied on small
trucking companies working with phone, pen and paper.
This type of broking business accounts for around a third of
Europe's $350 billion freight sector. Sennder has 12,500 trucks
on its platform and expects to move more than 1 million loads
Nothacker said that Sennder was prepared to be acquisitive
to address a shortage of capacity that has been exacerbated
during the coronavirus pandemic by drivers - many from eastern
Europe and the former Soviet Union - going home.
Sennder had two or three M&A deals in the pipeline: "I would
expect one, if not two, deals later this year," he said.
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine. Editing by Jane Merriman)