Funding Wrap-up

New capital for food industry's Agribuys, transportation planning specialist Velant

Tempe, AZ  September 11, 2002  Big capital dipped its toe back into the supply chain solution provider market recently as food industry solution provider Agribuys and transportation planning specialist Velant raised millions in new funding.

Agribuys, a supply chain software solution provider to the perishable food industry, closed $5 million in Series C funding, with Rustic Canyon Ventures leading the latest round, joined by Internet Capital Group.

"Our recent round of funding positions Agribuys to continue the expansion of its collaborative commerce platform and to achieve profitability and positive cash flow in 2003," said Vijay Yajnik, Agribuys CEO and president.

Yajnik said the company plans to invest in increasing the capacity of its production and disaster recovery sites to support the needs of its grocery retailer customers. "In addition, we currently plan to use the funds to aggressively market to other premier grocery retailers and their suppliers," Yajnik added. "Our product has arrived, and the grocery world needs to know about it."

"The food retailing industry has become increasingly competitive placing intense pressure on supply chain efficiency," said Tom Unterman, managing director of Rustic Canyon Ventures. "Agribuys has demonstrated to several major food retailers that its technology can significantly increase their customer's ability to compete with supply-chain masters like Wal-Mart."

Meanwhile, Velant, a provider of transportation planning solutions, closed a $10 million second round of venture capital funding led by 3i, an international venture capital company, and returning investor Matrix Partners. This round brings the total investment in Velant to $17 million.

Velant provides fleet and shipment planning services to companies utilizing trucks in their supply chain operations. The provider says its transportation management center solution, offered as a managed service, automates and optimizes key transportation functions such as vehicle routing and scheduling, load building, fleet backhaul coordination and shipment planning, helping companies save on transportation costs while improving service and control.

Dr. Don Ratliff, Velant's president and CEO, said, "As we continue to build out Velant's operations to serve our expanding roster of clients, both 3i and Matrix will be terrific partners for us."

Truck transportation accounts for half of the $1 trillion in annual U.S. logistics costs and comprises over 80 percent of the nation's freight bill, according to Cass Information Systems and ProLogis. Velant is looking to tap into this $500 billion market by providing solutions to companies that operate their own private or commercial truck fleets and to shippers that utilize commercial carriers to transport their freight.