(Photo by Sam Markowitz)
DrayNow is a sponsor of Philly Tech Week 2019 presented by Comcast and reviewed this article before publication.
You may not know the term “intermodal transportation,” but as a consumer you’ve absolutely purchased goods that have passed through this niche of the U.S. transportation supply chain, which represents the first and last mile of a $40 billion industry.
It’s a system that Conshohocken-based DrayNow has begun to transform with its first-of-its kind mobile and desktop platforms connecting freight with truck drivers.
DrayNow’s app basically works like Uber for the intermodal freight industry, replacing an antiquated system of phone calls, faxes and mail with DrayNow’s freight marketplace and platform. Loads are posted to the DrayNow marketplace that are ready for hauling, and these loads are then immediately available to approved carriers (truckers), who in turn select the loads that best fit their business needs via DrayNow’s proprietary mobile app. Once the carrier completes a load, an automated billing feature gives the carrier faster payment.
The technology streamlines a previous antiquated system by giving carriers access to freight, and customers access to carriers, all the while reducing empty truck miles which has massive eco implications.
“It’s something you don’t really think about, but every single thing we consume is delivered by trucks, every single day,” said DrayNow’s director of marketing, Evan Noll. “It’s a very old industry and it’s very fragmented.”
Since their start in the summer of 2017, DrayNow’s team and the app’s popularity have continued to expand. In 2018 the company completed a $5 Million Series A and tripled in size. Today its Conshohocken headquarter office buzzes with over 20 employees who bring a mix of backgrounds in startups and the transportation industry. The team has formed a quick cohesiveness, thanks to an emphasis on hiring candidates with great people skills as well as weekly team lunches, service projects and fostering a welcoming office atmosphere.
Technical Project Manager Joe Weltz was DrayNow’s first employee and says that despite its quick growth, the team has maintained a close culture and flexible dynamic, while positioning the app to change a ubiquitous industry.
“Our passion is to make moving intermodal freight as seamless as possible for everyone,” said Weltz, noting that DrayNow is uniquely focused in the intermodal industry and at this moment doesn’t see any direct competition, allowing the company to shape and optimize this two-sided marketplace. “We’re not a disruptor, we’re working to harmonize this long-overlooked segment of the supply chain.”
DrayNow currently serves the five largest intermodal markets in the United States — Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York City/northern New Jersey — which together make up about 65% of all trucking volume. The company’s growth projections include both expansion within current markets as well as opportunities for new markets, so new hiring will focus on finding the right members for those individual market teams as well as the tech team.
“Everyday we’re creating a better product,” said Weltz. “We continually refine our product and have tremendous clarity of where we are taking our technology, and this industry is overdue for some innovation.”
Tito Obaisi, DrayNow’s marketplace operations manager, said his team is focused on operations and managing all the freight to make sure it is moving efficiently all the while leveraging relationships with existing customers to get more freight. Additionally, the team brings in new truckers every day through social media, digital advertising and traditional marketing.
“The big thing is just trying to change habits,” said Obaisi of introducing DrayNow to customers in an industry that has operated one way for decades. “The tech innovations that we’re bringing in makes our customers’ lives easier in a way that makes that case for itself.”-30-
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