The Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek and the global freight forwarder Kuehne + Nagel will jointly make $50 million in funding available to technology startups through a new venture fund, the companies announced Thursday.
The Singapore-based fund, called Reefknot Investments, will invest in startups globally, the companies said, and adds to the growing number of funds, accelerators, and incubators aimed at fostering growth of emerging technology in the supply chain and global shipping arenas. Others to have emerged in recent years with ties to the maritime or logistics industry include Copenhagen-based Rainmaking Transport, the Port of Rotterdam-affiliated PortXL, PSA International’s unboXed, Singapore-based Pier 71, Hamburg-based Next Logistics Accelerator, Chattanooga-based Dynamo, San Francisco-based Schematic Ventures, and Marseille-based ZeBox.
There are also a host of more general investment funds and accelerators, such as Plug and Play and Accel, that make numerous investments in supply chain technology. Alongside those are corporate venture funds offered by existing logistics and shipping enterprises, such as the Maersk Growth fund, ProLogis Ventures, and UPS Ventures.
Bigger pipeline for logistics tech
Venture capital funds globally have funneled billions into logistics startups in the last decade — estimates range widely, depending on the definition and scope of what is considered a logistics company. The size of the Reefknot fund is relatively large for an early stage investor, allowing the fund to make anywhere from five to 10 Series A or B investments, the stages at which the fund indicated it will focus its activity.
The joint venture between Kuehne + Nagel and Temasek, which owns the global terminal operator PSA International, first emerged in January 2018. “This joint venture will be able to accelerate the transformation of the logistics industry. The cooperation combines Temasek’s focused and long-term oriented investment strategy and expertise, with Kuehne + Nagel’s global logistics network and know-how,” the companies said at the time.
Among the core areas Reefknot will focus on, according to its website, are companies involved in artificial intelligence, digital logistics, and trade finance.
Venture funds raised by large corporate enterprises — often referred to as corporate venture funds — typically target investments that feed directly or indirectly into the businesses of those managing the funds. Some, however, seek more general-purpose investment opportunities, regardless of whether the investor will directly benefit from the startup.