By Lori Hawkins, Austin American-Statesman / Matt Chasen said the move will let him pursue other opportunities and get more involved with early-stage startups /
After nearly 14 years, fast-growing uShip will have a new leader.
Matt Chasen, who co-founded the Austin-based online shipping company in 2003, is stepping down from his role as CEO.
“As you can imagine, the decision to hand over the helm isn’t an easy one,” Chasen said in a letter to employees. “If you’ve ever turned a hunch or idea into something greater, especially into a successful and rapidly growing business, you will understand. Letting go is hard.”
Chasen said the decision to step down “frees me up to pursue other interests and opportunities, including getting more involved with early-stage startups.”
Uship runs an online shopping marketplace that matches customers who need to move unusually big items with thousands of transport companies that can take the loads.
Chasen will remain on uShips board. Jim Martell, a veteran of the logistics industry, has joined the company’s board and will serve as interim CEO while uShip searches for a full-time CEO, Chasen said.
Chasen founded uShip with fellow University of Texas MBA students Mickey Millsap and Jay Manickam. They saw an opportunity to use the Internet to make the shipping process more efficient, particularly by allowing truckers with partially empty trucks to pick up extra loads by bidding for the business.
In 2012, uShip raised $18 million from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The company has received a total of $26 million in venture capital investments since its inception.
The Kleiner Perkins investment allowed uShip to make a push into the $300 billion truckload freight market. The company also launched uShip PRO, which lets business shippers and freight brokers build their own carrier networks and manage and automate their shipping operations.
In August, the company said it had outgrown its two downtown offices and announced plans for a new headquarters on East Riverside.
The company said the move to a 45,000-square-foot campus at 205 E. Riverside Dr. will allow it to launch an aggressive hiring plan.
Currently, uShip has about 210 employees and plans to double its workforce over the next three years.
In his letter to employees, Chasen said he is ready to return to the startup environment.
“As uShip grew over the last couple years, I found myself in a CEO role that had become more operational and less entrepreneurial,” he said. “Along the way, I came to realize that my true passion is in the early, entrepreneurial stage of building a company. So, the timing feels right to make this move and scratch that entrepreneurial itch once again.”
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