Former Amazon exec aims to repeat logistics growth at Flexport

By Lisa Baertlein

Amazon SVP of worldwide operations Clark speaks during a press conference announcing's new program to help entrepreneurs build businesses delivering Amazon packages in Seattle

Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, speaks during a press conference announcing’s new program to help entrepreneurs build businesses delivering Amazon packages, including $1 million to fund startup costs for military veterans, in Seattle, Washington, U.S., June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

LONG BEACH, Calif., Feb 28 (Reuters) – (This Feb. 28 story has been corrected to delete KKR & Co Inc as an investor in paragraph 8)

The former Inc (AMZN.O) executive who oversaw the e-commerce company’s transportation network buildout for its sellers, now aims to do the same for rival shipping customers as chief executive of logistics startup Flexport.

“I wanted to … do it again for everyone else,” said Dave Clark, the former Amazon executive who will become Flexport CEO on March 1 after spending six months as co-CEO.

Getting big is the key to success, Clark said at S&P Global Market Intelligence’s TPM23 conference in Long Beach, California, on Tuesday.

“Most companies will never have the opportunity to roll up the kind of scale that really large global conglomerates can do,” Clark said.

Among other things, Flexport is teaming with Amazon rival Shopify Inc (SHOP.TO) to help that platform’s sellers manage and track ocean cargo shipments.

Later this year, Flexport will launch a service that helps Shopify sellers combine orders to fill an ocean container – enabling them to choose lower-cost sea freight and avoid pricey air transportation. It will also open that service to other users.

“We want to put more people on the (winning side) of the tug-of-war,” Clark told Reuters.

Clark was CEO of Amazon’s consumer business when he ended his 23-year run at the company on July 1.

Privately held Flexport is one of the most valuable logistics startups after raising more than $2 billion in funding. Its investors include SoftBank Vision Fund (9984.T) and Shopify.

Flexport is a fully licensed freight forwarder, meaning it manages end-to-end sea, air, rail and road freight shipments. Its established and much larger competitors include Kuehne + Nagel (KNIN.S), DHL (DPWGn.DE) and United Parcel Service (UPS.N).

Industry experts say many of those rivals already have the technology that Flexport claims differentiates it from the competition.

Clark said Flexport’s system makes shipping data easier to see and use. He also said the company still has about $1 billion to spend as it invests in its engineering team after cutting jobs to adjust to tumbling industry demand.

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Long Beach, Calif. Editing by Matthew Lewis and David Gregorio


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