Convoy, a Seattle-based network that connects trucking companies with freight shippers, has raised $62 million in Series B funding. Y Combinator's Continuity Fund led the round, with partners Anu Hariharan and Ali Rowghani joining the Convoy board of directors. Other backers include Bill Gates' Cascade Investments, Mosaic Ventures, Barry Diller and Greylock Partners.
- Why it's the BFD: This is all about efficiency, in terms of reducing the amount of time that trucks drive empty (which Convoy CEO Dan Lewis estimates to be 40%). Decreasing such vacancies could become a major margin improvement tool for trucking companies, as they continue to wait for the advent of autonomous vehicles.
- Flashback: On Friday we reported that YC Continuity is "now willing to selectively back companies that didn't participate in its accelerator program," adding that it already had one such unannounced transaction. Well, this is it. Anu Hariharan tells Kia that such deals will be rare and still come via the YC network even if not incubated within YC. As for why Convoy, she cited a large market opportunity born of the trucking industry's historic lack of innovation.
- Bottom line: "The U.S. trucking industry, which exceeded $700 billion in 2015 with freight volume expected to grow another 3% in 2017, has traditionally used brokers to help facilitate transactions between trucking companies and shippers. But that process, from finding to matching to pricing jobs, is often done manually. Convoy is bringing automation to that workflow." – Taylor Soper, GeekWire
• Venator Materials, a Texas-based pigments and additives company being spun off by Huntsman Corp. (NYSE: HUN), has set its IPO terms to 22.7 million share being offered at between $20 and $22 per share. It would have a fully-diluted market value of around $2.2 billion, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol VNTR, with BofA Merrill Lynch listed as left lead underwriter. Venator reports a $77 million net loss on $2.3 billion in revenue for 2016. www.venatorcorp.com
• Aquiline Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm focused on financial services, has closed a new tech growth fund with $190 million in capital commitments. www.aquiline-llc.com/atg
• The Carlyle Group is planning to target $15 billion for its seventh U.S. buyout fund, according to Bloomberg. https://bloom.bg/2uuimhp
• Harvest Partners SCF has hired Chris Schaller (ex-Ares Management) as a vice president, and promoted Chris Peyser to vice president. www.harvestpartners.com
• Jan Wolter has joined German VC firm Target Partners as a venture partner. He currently is managing director for Europe at software testing company Applause, and previously was co-founder and CEO of Testhub. www.targetpartners.de