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Jeff Bezos to invest in British logistics start-up Beacon

Hannah Boland
Fraser Robinson, Beacon CEO - Beacon

Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon, is investing in a British start-up which aims to overhaul the logistics sector and simplify how companies can export and import goods. 

London-based Beacon will announce its latest $15m (£12.2m) funding round on Monday, including an investment from Mr Bezos and Silicon Valley venture capital firm 8VC. The news was first reported by Sky News.

The names will join existing investors including the former boss of Google, Eric Schmidt, as well as Travis Kalanick, Uber’s ex-chief executive.

Mr Bezos will invest part of his private wealth in the company. As the world’s richest man, he is now worth around $147bn.

It is understood that Beacon could be worth in the region of $60m following the latest round. Discussions over raising the cash are thought to have been taking place since last September. 

The business was founded by two former Uber executives - Fraser Robinson who led Uber’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and Dmitri Izmailov, formerly Uber’s general manager in Russia.

It was created to target what is known as the freight forwarding industry, the booking agents that act as a go-between between exporters and importers.

Up until now, this has been seen as an extremely fragmented market, with estimates suggesting that the top ten forwarders globally control around 43pc of the market. Those who are operating in the field have been slow to digitise. 

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Beacon’s systems use artificial intelligence, data science and optimisation to provide a real-time view of the global delivery of cargo, as well as updates on global shipping costs and prices.

The company is expected to use the latest cash to increase the size of it teams, as well as invest in new technology and expand into markets. 

Mr Robinson, co-founder and chief executive, said: “Beacon has attracted investment from some of the best minds in business and technology. The traditional freight forwarder model remains surprisingly analogue, using systems and processes that are slow and inefficient, with opaque pricing and limited use of technology.”