An Airfreight Upstart Takes Shipping Digital

Early-stage firm Defy leads Airspace Technologies’ $8 million Series A

By Alexander Davis
Aug. 13, 2018 7:30 a.m. ET

Defy, the early-stage firm founded by Neil Sequeira and Trae Vassallo, is on a mission to back entrepreneurs whose business model can upend an industry just beginning to be touched by digital platforms.

The firm says it is doing just that by investing in Airspace Technologies Inc., a logistics startup that works with driver-contractors and major airlines to make same-day, long-distance deliveries of high-value packages or goods. Specializing in time-sensitive orders, the company helps Fortune 500 companies obtain mission-critical industrial parts and medical centers handling human organs for transplants.

Chief Executive Nick Bulcao, who previously worked for one of Amazon.com’s logistics providers, says he co-founded Airspace Technologies to fix from the ground up “everything that was wrong” with old-school airfreight-forwarding companies.

Mr. Bulcao says most long-distance shippers eat up valuable minutes just taking customer orders, organizing each segment of the journey, and tracking the travel.

But Carlsbad, Calif.-based Airspace Technologies, powered by proprietary algorithms and digital platform built from scratch, can do most of that in seconds, according to Mr. Bulcao. He said the company will soon offer GPS-based, real-time tracking of packages.

Airspace Technologies launched in 2016 and already serves all U.S. markets. It relies on independent drivers who bring packages to airlines so that another driver on the other end will receive the shipment and deliver it at a specific time ordered by the customer, with Airspace taking a cut of the service fee. The average shipment charge is $300.

Mr. Bulcao says many of his drivers, which the company dubs “commanders,” also drive for Uber but they can earn around $60,000 a year just working for Airspace Technologies.

Defy has just led an $8 million Series A investment, with participation by Qualcomm Ventures, Cross Culture Ventures, and Schematic Ventures.

 

This Article was written by Alexander Davis for the Wall Street Journal. View Original Article

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