Funding the Future: Investing in online logistics startups

Funding_theFuture_with_titleMilind Tavshikar, CEO of Smart­Kargo, has a relatively unusual pedigree for the air cargo business. Trained in computer engineering at India’s University of Pune and holder of an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, he seemed to fit the bill of an “IT guy” all the way; he has even helped build SAP systems for a number of Fortune 100 companies.

Once, while Tavshikar was talking with some MIT colleagues about technical challenges for air carriers, the topic of air cargo came up in relation to the passenger side of the business. Rob Britton, now the vice president of marketing for SmartKargo, tells the story:

“MIT has always had a long and abid­ing interest in the air travel industry and played a major role in putting a lot of those services online. Somehow, in this conversation about IT and avia­tion, the topic of air cargo came up. They began to discuss why it was that the passenger side always seemed to get all the IT investments, while the cargo industry got stuck using stone tools.”

At one point, Tavshikar paused and thought for a moment and said, “Huh, I wonder if this might be a business.”

See chart of latest logistics venture rounds


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