Flexport acquires Shopify’s logistics business
Flexport, a U.S. supply-chain management company, made headlines early this month when it announced that it was acquiring the logistics business of Shopify, the Canadian e-commerce company. And in interviews last week in Business Insider, the company’s chief executive and an industry consultant explained the ambitious rationale for the move.
Flexport CEO Dave Clark called Shopify’s assets the “last piece” that the San Francisco-based company needed to extend its reach from the manufacturer to the end consumer. Matthew Hertz, an e-commerce fulfillment consultant, said that before the acquisition, Flexport’s “magic” ended when shipped products arrived at the destination dock or the warehouse and didn’t extend to fulfillment, distribution and doorstep delivery. He added that the Shopify acquisition now allows for “porch to porch” service.
Founded in 2013, Flexport refers to itself as an “end-to-end” platform for global trade, allowing customers to book, track and deliver freight shipments from “factory floor to customer door.” Its last known valuation, as of September 2017, was $953 million. Clark, a former top executive with Amazon, became Flexport’s CEO in March, taking over the job from founder Ryan Petersen.
Digital insurer Wefox taps new funding while maintaining $4.5 billion value
The news stands out from some private company valuations in recent months as Wefox managed to attract the funding without having to drop its valuation to do so. The company’s $4.5 billion value, achieved during a $400 million Series D funding round in July 2022, remains intact.
As CNBC points out, Wefox’s ability to hold its valuation represents a vote of confidence for the digital insurance space at a time when it faces the headwinds of fears of a possible global recession following a year of rising interest rates.
Founded in 2015, Berlin-based Wefox is focused on personal insurance products, such as home insurance, motor insurance and personal liability insurance. Rather than underwriting claims itself, the company connects its users with brokers and partner insurance firms through an online platform.
AI startup Anthropic is teaming up with Zoom
In recent months, AI startup Anthropic has had to settle for second billing because of the outsize public interest generated by rival OpenAI and its chatbot, ChatGPT. But Anthropic’s efforts to develop its own cutting-edge generative AI technology have been attracting the interest of large technology companies, including a $400 million investment from Alphabet’s Google.
And now VentureBeat, a trade publication in the venture capital industry, reports that Zoom, a pioneer in video chat technology, is partnering with Anthropic to integrate Anthropic’s chatbot, Claude, into Zoom’s productivity platform. Zoom has also made an investment of an undisclosed amount in Anthropic.
The partnership comes as major tech companies including Alphabet’s Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce seek to integrate generative AI technology into their business operations. Founded in 2017, Anthropic’s last known valuation was $4.1 billion, based on March 2023 reports of a funding round that the company was seeking.