From the CEO

On Deck Partners with Flexport to Invest in the Future of Logistics

 min read
November 16, 2021
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ODX is a $100M+ community-backed fund to accelerate the next wave of global founders.

Since launching in October, founder interest in ODX has been incredible. In the first 13 days alone, we received 4,000 applications for ODX’s first cohort. 

Now, we’re excited to announce ODX Flexport, our first vertical accelerator for logistics startups in partnership with Flexport, the world’s leading technology platform for global logistics and trade, to empower the next generation of industry startups. 

The mission of ODX Flexport is to help build the future of logistics and bring visibility, efficiency and innovation back to an industry that grew 65x since its last major innovation: the invention of the standardized shipping container. 

ODX Flexport is a highly specialized accelerator program exclusively for innovative and disruptive logistics startups. If selected, your team will benefit from the capital, expertise and network needed to achieve growth and scalability.

Our goal is to invest in 60-80 companies a year over the next 2 years, and support them with full access to ODX and the On Deck network, and Flexport’s unprecedented industry expertise, network and mentorship. 

“We have a commitment to make global trade easy for everyone,” explains Ryan Petersen, founder and CEO of Flexport. “By partnering with On Deck, we hope to create a world-class accelerator that can truly change the logistics industry for the better.”

“Startups are a vehicle to solve some of society’s most pressing challenges,” adds Erik Torenberg, founder and co-CEO of On Deck, “We’re thrilled about this partnership because ODX Flexport will fund a new wave of startups to bring the global logistics industry into the information age.

Why Now?

Over the last two years, a once-in-a-century crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a cascade of failures in global infrastructure across multiple systems.

Many businesses have consistently made a tradeoff throughout all parts of our economy, sacrificing resiliency and excess capacity—long-term readiness that could serve as shock absorbers in times of crisis—for efficiency and short-term profit maximization.

The same thing is happening with our supply-chain infrastructure. First there was a demand shock caused by lockdowns in early 2020, which ground the world’s trade to an almost complete halt. Then there was the early hoarding behavior and panic buying, which created shortages in previously abundant supplies like PPE, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. 

Since lockdowns have ended, we have seen huge surges in shipping costs and commodity prices (like lumber and oats), unprecedented logjams at global ports, and persistent supply shortages.

All this has made one thing very clear: our supply-chain infrastructure is fragile and outdated. In the name of efficiency, companies have relentlessly stripped our supply chain of excess capacity over the past few decades, while simultaneously failing to update and modernize logistics infrastructure.

The Solution: Bring Innovation Back to the World of Atoms

Though we’ve seen plenty of innovation in the world of software, innovation in supply chain management has failed to keep pace. As a result, the industry is still stuck in the last century, with no standardized way of tracking, programming, and searching shipment information between different parties in the supply chain ecosystem. 

It can take up to 20 companies to move a single shipment, which leads to an incredible amount of unnecessary friction. What the world needs to solve for these growing challenges is innovation and collaboration. 

The world needs a new wave of startups to bring the global logistics industry into the information age; to modernize and scale shipping capacity, and to build greater resilience to future crises that would otherwise lead to cascading failures of the kind we’re seeing.

That’s why now is the perfect time to launch ODX Flexport. 

The Whole is Greater Than The Sum of its Parts

For startup founders in the logistics industry, ODX Flexport offers two significant advantages:

First, with ODX, startups not only get the capital they need but also access to the OD network—potential customers to partner with, world-class talent to hire, and advice from operators and peers who’ve done it before.

Second, they’ll have the benefit of mentorship from Flexport, a leading innovator in the supply chain and logistics industry. 

Founders who get accepted into the program will enjoy these advantages alongside an intimate cohort of peers who are rowing in the same direction. They will receive: 

  1. $125,000 in funding in exchange for 7% of the company
  2. Access to our 12-week ODX program, including an intimate sub-cohort for logistics & supply chain founders. 
  3. Logistics-specific content, workshops and curriculum
  4. A dedicated Flexport Build Partner to help them navigate the logistics industry and make the best out of Flexport’s network, mentorship and support.
  5. Access to the On Deck network of programs to hire talent, raise capital and find customers

At On Deck, we believe in the power of building with a community that has your back. With ODX Flexport you will have a highly-aligned, engaged community with immediate access to On Deck’s thriving startup ecosystem and Flexport’s wealth of expertise. 

ODX Flexport is looking for founders who are driven by a mission to make global trade easier and more accessible for everyone. 

Join us and help build more resilient and future-proof logistics solutions for the world.

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