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Founder of Online Freight Platform uShip to Step Down


By Erica E. Phillips, Wall Street Journal Logistics Report  /  Departing CEO says Austin, Texas-based freight booking startup is on track for initial public offering  /  

Matt Chasen, founder of online freight booking service uShip Inc. is stepping down as chief executive, after a period of rapid growth that he says puts the company potentially on track for an initial public offering.

Austin, Texas-based uShip has emerged as one of the largest in a pack of dozens of freight startups that allow shippers and truckers to book loads online, bypassing the traditional freight forwarding business. Mr. Chasen, who started uShip in the back row of a business-school lecture with two classmates in 2003, said he’s handing off management to logistics-industry veterans as the company grows in scale.

This summer, uShip announced a partnership with DB Schenker, one of the world’s largest logistics providers, to use the Texas company’s technology to book freight transportation in Europe. UShip is eyeing an initial public offering in the next couple of years, though it has made no firm plans, Mr. Chasen said.

Jim Martell, a 40-year veteran of the logistics industry, will take over as interim CEO. Mr. Martell sits on the board of several logistics companies and held management positions with FedEx Corp. and UTi Worldwide.

Mr. Chasen said he would remain on uShip’s board of directors and will assist in recruiting a new chief executive. “The role needed…a more rigorous disciplined operator at the helm,” Mr. Chasen said in an interview. “I’m not too shabby an operator but I’m an entrepreneur at heart.”

The company operates a digital platform for booking freight shipments, which is now used by about 100,000 truck drivers globally at any given time.

Even the biggest online freight platforms has yet to grab significant market share from established brokerages. But Mr. Martell, who joined uShip’s board earlier this year, said the company ”had scale in the space and had the best chance of anybody out there of disrupting the marketplace.”

Since its inception, uShip has raised $25 million in three funding rounds and is valued at over $100 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

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