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Founder, CEO of Austin’s uShip steps down to pursue startup opportunities

By Greg Barr, Managing Editor, Austin Business Journal  /

Matt Chasen, founder and CEO of Austin’s uShip, is handing off the reins of the company he founded 13 years ago.

Chasen said Thursday that he plans to reboot his entrepreneurial focus to get involved with early-stage startups, but will remain on uShip’s board of directors. The company, which has received some $28 million in venture capital since its founding in 2003, operates an online freight marketplace used by logistics and transportation companies.

Chasen, who said in an announcement that he had been planning the transition for a year, has brought in Jim Martell, a veteran of the logistics sector, to join the board and act as interim CEO while a search is conducted for a permanent chief executive.

Martell has a long history in the logistics industry, including stints in senior management at UPS and FedEx, and running his own startup, UTi Worldwide. He currently sits on the board of several logistics/transportation companies, including supply chain management company OHL and California-based XPO Logistics Inc., a third party logistics company that was acquired by global shipping giant DSV A/S of Denmark in January.

“The decision to hand over the helm isn’t an easy one. 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 in a statement. “I’ll miss being part of the amazing culture we’ve built at uShip. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then we should feel quite flattered that many aspects of our culture have been modeled at other Austin startups.”

The company is in the process of building a three-story, 45,000-square-feet headquarters campus at 205 E. Riverside Drive to house its more than 200 employees. It will occupy its current office sites on Brazos Street and Congress Avenue until at least the end of the year.

UShip gained plenty of brand awareness when its contractors were featured on the A&E Network reality TV series “Shipping Wars” from 2012-2015.

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