Investment Notes: Incodocs
We’ve invested in Incodocs, a software-as-service platform for trade and shipping.
Incodocs announced it has raised a $1.2M seed round led by shipping conglomerate Maersk with participation from Transition Level Investments and Blackbird.
Incodocs is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that enables small to medium enterprises to easily create compliant international trade and shipping documentation and share that information with all parties within a supply chain digitally.
Our decision to invest in Incodocs was driven primarily by two things — the quality of the founders and the size of the market opportunity. This team immediately impressed us as the kind of people we live to find — learn-it-all founders doing their life’s work with the ambition to build a company that leads its category in a huge global market.
Last year, US$2.6 Trillion of global trade volume was exported by SMEs from developed countries selling merchandise internationally, yet there are still millions of businesses in the developed and developing world that do not export due to the complexities of trade. IncoDocs’ vision is to awaken these untapped markets by providing all companies, regardless of their size, the equal opportunity to participate and thrive in global trade.
Atoms into Bits — Bringing Shipping into the Digital Age
International trade is hundreds of years old and has a complex web of practices and protocols intersecting shipping, insurance and contract law. An average international shipment involves, 27 to 30 different parties, 40 documents and 200 data elements. Much of this information is still created via pen and paper, scanned, faxed or physically posted between parties. When key information is incorrect or missing, parties waste time chasing information manually while shipments are held up at port, incurring charges and delays. The reality is that, often, physical goods can get from port to port faster than the documents that need to accompany them.
Large enterprises use complex and expensive software to help create conformant documents at scale. Others pay a premium to freight forwarding companies like DHL, Kuehne + Nagel and DB Schenker to do it for them, and they, in turn, use an army of data entry clerks to manually collate information from clients via phone or email.
Cloud software is most efficient at transferring information between parties but it first requires clean, structured data and this is the problem that Incodocs is solving — it is document building with guardrails that can be retrofitted into existing workflows.
Incodocs’ CEO Brandon Boor is an unstoppable force with a rare go-through-brick-walls discipline and work ethic. For example, to deal with the influx of new users, he implemented round-the-clock customer onboarding and personally did the graveyard shift from 9pm to 3am after already working a regular day.
Brandon is a former NRL player who played for the North Queensland Cowboys from age 16 to 20. He left and went to work for an international trade company in Townsville that specialised in exporting manufactured goods to the Pacific Islands which is where he met his co-founder Ben Thompson. Spying an opportunity to undercut existing providers, in their early twenties they both founded their own direct supply business importing goods from China for the North Queensland market. They started with 0 customers and slept on the floor of their first warehouse. Within a few years grew it into a multi-million dollar business with operations in North Queensland, Brisbane and China.
It was while running this business that they discovered the dominant cause of delays and lost profits was due to information flow blockages in the supply chain. They set about building a product that would streamline the documentation process and in so doing, improve margins. The team got into Muru-D which is where they met their CTO David Hooper who left his own startup to join the team.
Incodocs are currently serving more than 4,000 companies from 120 countries and enabling hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of trade to be conducted via the platform. It has done so entirely based in Queensland, building a world-class product that customers discover organically via the internet.
From Atlassian to Canva and Safety Culture, Australians have a proven ability to build world-class software that enables ordinary people to work faster and more efficiently. We think that Incodocs have the ingredients to follow in the footsteps of those companies.
Incodocs are hiring. If you are interested in joining their mission to empower all SMEs in global trade, follow them here.
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