Carlsbad-based logistics tech company Airspace is fueled up and ready for takeoff.
On May 25, the company announced it had landed a $70 million funding round to expand its global operations and sustainability goals. The funding was led by DBL Partners along with Telstra Ventures, HarbourVest Partners and existing investors Scale Ventures, Defy Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures and Prologis Ventures.
As part of the funding announcement, Ira Ehrenpreis, founder and managing partner at DBL Partners, and Joel Hwang, principal of HarbourVest, have been appointed to Airspace’s board of directors.
“As we grow, our AI and machine learning platform only gets better, allowing us to better predict and dynamically respond to the challenges of critical logistics.” said Nick Bulcao, co-founder and CEO at Airspace. “With these additional funds, we’ll be able to expand into new geographies and industries, reliably delivering critical packages when time is of the essence, in the most environmentally conscious way possible.”
Time-Critical Package Platform
Airspace’s technology platform uses AI and machine learning to find and execute the fastest possible route for time-critical packages, such as transplant organs, life-saving medications, sensitive inventory or replacement parts for important machinery.
Rather than using freight trucks and planes, the items are flown NFO (next flight out) on commercial passenger planes and picked up and delivered using small vans.
“With supply chain disruptions continuing to impact countries worldwide, no time in history has time-critical shipping and logistics been so essential to ensuring these complex and sensitive shipments reach their destinations on time,” Bulcao said.
Since the supply chain disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Airspace has seen growth in assisting companies navigate delays in shipping – a recent example being delivery of high-end Japanese caskets to the U.S. using passenger planes.
According to Research Reports World, the market for time-critical shipping is expected to grow at a CAGR of almost 22% and exceed $32 billion by the year 2030.
Since its founding in 2016, Airspace has grown both domestically and abroad. In addition to its headquarters in Carlsbad, the company has offices in Dallas, Amsterdam and Stockholm and will open a new office in London this summer.
Last year, Airspace grew by 110% and is on pace to double in size again in 2022 with plans to further expand into more global markets.
The Europen market now account for more than 10% of Airspace’s revenue, up from 1.5% in 2020.
A major portion of the funding round will go towards opening new international offices in Europe and Asia and to train and build out the network of delivery drivers in those markets, as well as forge relationships with the necessary commercial airlines. To that end, in February of this year Airspace hired former Southwest Airlines National Account Manager Keysha Damper to be director of airline relations.
In addition to expanding into global markets, Airspace is also expanding its product offerings by offering shipping of critical packages of any size.
“Airspace continues to dominate the market segment with impressive and steady growth since its inception, and we anticipate the company’s plans for expansion across geographies and verticals to propel that growth further,” said Mark Sherman, managing partner at Telstra Ventures. “Their ability to combine exceptional human capital with advanced AI technology is what sets them apart from competing market players and enables them to fill the essential need for time-critical logistics.”
In addition to global expansion, Airspace will be focusing on expanding its sustainability programs.
The company will further expand its carbon footprint transparency by creating tools to measure the impact savings of using its platform over traditional freight. For instance, how much carbon is saved because a package is on a pre-existing passenger flight versus a freight airline; or the impact of using delivery couriers with small vans on the most efficient route versus a freight truck that first delivers to an out-of-the-way warehouse before the package is taken to its final destination.
Sustainability is a major for both Airspace and its partners, many of whom are in industries like air travel that are in need of finding ways to offset their carbon footprints. The ability to help in this area is what attracted DBL Partners – known for its commitment to improving social and environmental conditions – to invest in the recent round.
“Airspace is unique in its ability to provide complete transparency into the carbon footprint of time-critical deliveries, enabling customers to optimize routes with the least possible environmental impact,” Ehrenpreis said. “By optimizing for speed and transparency, as well as sustainability, Airspace is building a true double bottom line company.”
CEO: Nick Bulcao
Business: Technology platform for time-critical logistics
Employees: Over 300
Notable: In April, Airspace teamed up with Hearts for Ukraine to offer free-of-charge delivery of essential items like medical supplies to the war-torn region.