BravoTran, HubTran’s freight forwarding spinoff, isn’t just any tech startup

ago. 12, 2021Freightwaves

When TriumphPay acquired document automation platform HubTran in June, former HubTran CEO Matt Bernstein was faced with a choice: to take a victory lap or to keep building.

He saw an opportunity: Because TriumphPay is focused on North American freight, HubTran’s still-young business serving international freight forwarders wouldn’t have a home. It was too good to pass up. In June, BravoTran announced its spinoff from HubTran, fully focused on document and process automation for international freight forwarding, with Bernstein at the helm.

“We had the nucleus in place: team, customers and product,” said Bernstein. “There was a problem to be solved and we had a chance to build something really worthwhile.” BravoTran’s underlying technology is based on the proven platform of HubTran: optical character recognition, machine learning, integration with customers’ operating systems, and a web-based workflow. “We looked under the hood and saw drastically different workflows for freight forwarders. Solving for that is where the magic happens.”

BravoTran has several customers that have gone live with the technology, including Yusen Logistics and Mitsubishi Logistics of America, with more launching shortly. To Bernstein, the two critical ingredients to building trust in the industry are industry experience and great technology.

“You need to be able to show people that the product works in a way that is simple and that delivers clear, measurable value,” said Bernstein. “On day one, you want the customer to easily understand the product without facing upfront costs. We understand our customers’ businesses and can speak the language of freight forwarding.”

Leveraging industry expertise

Rod Talbot, vice president

To this end, in late 2020, Bernstein recruited Rod Talbot, managing director at Sydney-based WiseTech Global since 2017. By bringing him onto the executive team at HubTran and now BravoTran, Bernstein could leverage Talbot’s extensive relationships with CargoWise customers and deep expertise in the space.

Talbot has a long career in international trade, starting with his first job at Japanese trading company ITOCHU Corp., which led him to partner and work for enterprise software companies like Blue Yonder, SAP and WiseTech.

Talbot’s experience at WiseTech has been instrumental: The top 25 freight forwarders in the world use WiseTech’s CargoWise platform. BravoTran’s deep integration with CargoWise has proven to be a key selling point for freight forwarders.

Forwarders are starting to take notice. “Sales are growing exponentially, and a lot of our growth is coming from global expansion. Our tools give forwarders a simple, low-risk way to start in one region and then ladder up from there. And our team has decades of experience delivering solutions for some of the largest forwarders operating today,” Talbot said. “Before they know it, they’re fully paperless and taking advantage of a truly cutting-edge technology platform.”

And making the switch can’t come too soon for forwarders, says Talbot. “Increased competition, tight capacity and market volatility put forwarders under tremendous pressure. Eliminating manual work, increasing resilience and accelerating cash will separate the winners from the losers.”

Delivering value to customers with targeted products

Tom Durrenberger, vice president

Rounding out the commercial leadership team, Talbot and Bernstein are joined by another HubTran alum, Tom Durrenberger. Durrenberger, previously a principal at the Boston Consulting Group, is leading product development and building out the BravoTran sales team.

“BravoTran solves a major pain point for freight forwarders. That really drew me in,” said Durrenberger. “We’re using cutting-edge technology to create practical, easy solutions for customers. This means a freight forwarder can literally plug BravoTran into their operations in one day with no IT work and no disruption.”

“We find most forwarders are still operating in outmoded, manual workflows. Often this means printing documents out, so that they can be rescanned and entered to their forwarding application later,” Durrenberger said. “Our customers buy from us because they recognize that those processes distract from their primary business: serving customers and moving freight.”

Durrenberger is confident that BravoTran’s platform, which shares a lineage with HubTran, will enable companies to kick off that efficiency revolution. “That’s a huge advantage for us. Hundreds of North American 3PLs have been relying on this technology to run their daily operations for the last six years,” said Durrenberger. “That means we can deliver real value for our customers, today. You can’t just produce a platform like that in a few months.”

Durrenberger breaks down the value proposition. “Today our Routing product completely eliminates the routine processing of incoming documents. Our Payables module automates auditing, data entry and document work for accounts payable teams. These products take out cost, but also accelerate operations, customer invoicing and cash flow. And we’re building new products that will drive even more efficiency, like our Shipments module, which automatically creates shipments based on received documents.”

Durrenberger is optimistic about the future. “We have the right team and the right products, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work that we’re doing.”

Published by - on August 12, 2021

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