February 21, 2019 / 5:57 PM / 3 months ago

Flexport raises $1 bln in funding from SoftBank-led group

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Freight logistics provider Flexport Inc said on Thursday it had raised $1 billion in funding led by SoftBank Corp that according to a source familiar with the matter valued the company at $3.2 billion.

The company expects to use the funding to hire more engineers, including at its new second technical office in Chicago, add more local experts in global markets, and invest in warehouses, it said nL8N1XK6RD.

San Francisco-based Flexport has raised nearly $305 million in funding over five rounds, excluding the most recent round. Existing investors Founders Fund, DST Global and S.F. Express, a Chinese express delivery company, also participated in the latest round.

In 2018, the company earned about $500 million in revenue, it said. It competes with iContainers, Freightos, and FreightHub, according to company insights provider Owler.

The funding by SoftBank came through its $100-billion Vision Fund, which usually picks up big stakes in fast-growing technology companies.

The fund, which has quickly become one of the primary funding vehicles for technology companies around the world, recently faced investor wrath because of Saudi Arabia's $45 billion contribution to the fund.

Investors have been uncomfortable with SoftBank's ties to the kingdom in light of the crisis triggered by the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist critical of Saudi authorities, which has hurt the Japanese company's shares.

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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