Portcast gets the much awaited funding

Managing logistics job has not automated much and many manufacturers and freight forwarders, still employ manual process: whether they are tracking shipments via phone call, and managing data with an Excel spreadsheet. Portcast, is a next gen operation & logistics system, which makes the process streamlined and more efficient through collection of data from myriad sources and tracking shipments in the real-time, as well as predicting major events that can happen such as weather events, the tide and pandemic-related issues.

The company has recently risen $3.2 million in pre-Series A funding, led by Newtown Partners, with the help of Imperial Venture Fund, with participation from Wavemaker Partners, TMV, Innoport and SGInnovate. Based in Singapore, Portcast has huge clientele in Asia and Europe, and will expanding to cater more markets.

Portcast Co-founders Nidhi Gupta and Dr. Lingxiao Xia decided to go for Postcast when they first met at Entrepreneur First in Singapore. Before starting Portcast, Nidhi Gupta, acted as CEO at DHL. At her time with DHL, she observed the logistic sector’s shortcomings are an opportunity to create something big and benficial . Dr. Xia holds a PhD in ML and has an experience in product development as well as cloud computing, She is currently managing as Portcast’s CTO.

According to Portcast, it is capable of tracking around 92% of trade volume that is carried by ocean carriers, and around 30% of air cargo, and can even predict the demand for 30,500 trade routes. The main sources by which this prediction is made possible is satellite data about where ships are, what speed and direction they’re moving in, what ports they will head, wind speed and wave height. The main aspect of Portcast is that it even takes into account the economic ups and downs, weather events like tsunami and problems like the Suez Canal blockage.

Portcast’s two major offerings are Intelligent Container Visibility for real-time tracking of shipment containers, and Predicting and Supply Management, which monitors ordering patterns. It doesn’t apply IoT to track containers since it is cost-prohibitive to place a device in every one, but is working with IoT providers on hybrid solutions—for example, putting a tracking device in one container and then using that data to help manage the rest of the shipment.

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Their main aim is to make forecasting that aid organizations improve the efficiency of their operations, and reduce their manual labor. 

Since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic there is an acute requirement for digitization, and it has transformed supply chains from being a cost function to the core of getting products on time, so there is need to work with some of the largest manufacturers as well as freight forwarders. For example, a food and a beverage company in Europe sent a shipment to Turkey, a trip that usually takes about 5 days. But somehow it took more than a month to reach. Portcast helped to track the shipment as it moved across different ports and ships, helping the customers understand what caused the delay and expected delivery of their shipment.

One of the best Portcast’s advantages over other logistics startup companies is that Portcast wants to fix supply chain visibility by launching out of the Asia-Pacific region, where ships usually go through a large number of ports and have to work around frequent weather events like tropical storms and tsunamis. The technology Portcast developed to create shorter voyages between Singapore and Malaysia, is also applicable to intercontinental routes like Asia and Europe, or Asia and the United States.

Portcast’s future agendas involve changing from predictive AI to include prescriptive AI within the next two quarters. Right now, this software can forecast companies what is the cause of delays, whereas prescriptive AI will empower it to make automated feasible suggestions. For example, it can tell clients what ports are faster, other ships and modes of transport that can help them get around a disruption and how to optimize their capacity.

The company future plans are to launch Order Visibility by this year, an exclusive highlight that will track containers filled with a specific shipment. Consumer prices for many different kinds of products are rising, mainly because of the overwhelmed supply chains.