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BRISBANE-based digital freight forwarder, Explorate, has secured $7.5 million in funding, with the capital fuelling growth and strategic partnerships to firmly establish its Australian presence.

The platform, which gives importers and exporters digital access to quotes and bookings, real-time track and trace, digital dashboards, and seamless workflow management, was founded in 2016 by Alex Ewart and Conor Hagan, who then worked together in freight forwarding.

The pair realised the potential for technology to create a smarter, more efficient, and more economical freight forwarding experience, and set out to develop their own purpose-built operating system for global trade.

This commitment to pioneering a better way of freight forwarding has seen the company achieve growth over the past six years from a team of five to 35, with $200 million worth of goods shipped through the platform.

Explorate co-founder Conor Hagan said that supply chain disruptions in recent years have only highlighted the need for a new operating system that challenges the industry to be more transparent, efficient, and sustainable.

“The information flow that is required to ship goods around the world is becoming increasingly complex and the cost of shipping internationally has increased by over 250% in the last year alone,” Mr Hagan said.

“Our platform helps importers and exporters to reduce these supply chain impacts by comparing rates and sailing times, simplifying complicated shipments as well as giving insight into the carbon impact of their logistics operations.

“Explorate was built with transparency at its core. For instance, one of our companies has removed 600 phone calls from their front-line teams by giving real-time access to shipping locations to their end customers,” he said.

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The $7.5 million investment led by Equity Venture Partners (EVP) will fund Explorate’s Australian expansion, with four more offices opening in Q1 2022 and recruitment efforts to become a team of 70 within the next 12 months.

Partner at EVP, Justin Pitman, said, “The challenge around global supply chains and logistics remains immense and largely unsolved.

“In Conor and Alex, the Explorate business has the right leaders to work on potential solutions given their strong industry experience and unique approach to the market.

“Our investment also underpinned the team’s exceptional business performance, strong customer feedback and validation, and the vast market opportunity that lies before them,” he said.

Development plans are also underway, with several new features set to launch in early 2022, including data that will enable customers to build carbon neutral supply chains – something that is becoming increasingly important to local businesses.

Co-founder Alex Ewart added that the investment will enable Explorate to establish a stronghold in Australia and set the foundations for future scale into South East Asia.

“The global market is obviously immense… Establishing ourselves in Australia is the short-term goal and we see New Zealand and South East Asia as major opportunities in the not too distant future.

“Compared to how far other industries have come, technology’s real impact on supply chains is only in its embryonic stage.

“We want to show what Australian, and more broadly, global supply chains can be capable of if you foster the right mix of people, technology, and innovation,” he said.

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