Two experienced freight forwarders sold their business to a young, fast-growing company, which turned out to be able to build a platform that the experienced brokers were unable to. Milestone Group owners Juri Falandt and Co van Es put aside their personal feelings and chose the future of their company. They sold their shares to Shypple, a digital forwarding company led by founder Jarell Habets. TLN talked to the three entrepreneurs about how and why.
Left to Right: Jarell Habets, Co van Es, Juri Falandt
Why did you choose Shypple?
Falandt: "At Milestone, we worked for two years on a digital booking platform, but we just couldn't get it done. We bought the software and put people on it, but we kept running into problems. Then we met Jarell. He has a platform that does work."
Van Es adds: "Milestone Fresh is a worldwide forwarder of vegetables, fruit, plants, and flowers. In this market, it is very important to share information quickly with your clients. Everyone is waiting for the products. For days, two employees were busy keeping track of where all the containers were. Shypple's platform makes it possible to do that in a smarter way."
What is the advantage of that platform?
Habets: "We are a forwarding agent and we have a digital platform that ensures central communication: everyone can see what is being said. It also contains a lot of data: a container with a number, purchase orders, and tracking. You no longer have to wonder where that container is, because everyone can see it. Communication is much better structured, centralized, and completely transparent. It provides a big improvement in efficiency for the forwarder, but also a lot of added value for the supplier and the end customer."
What is so complex about building this platform?
Habets: "You build a platform for an intercontinental chain for at least four different parties, namely the shipper, the agent in the country of origin, the agent in the country of destination, and the customer. They all have a different role in the process, and you have to give them all a motive to use that platform. The trick is to keep the platform universal, usable for more customers, and at the same time user friendly."
What is your joint focus for the future?
In unison: "Continuing to grow." Habets explains: "For more clout, you need scale. I think the era of small forwarders and a fragmented market is rapidly coming to an end. A huge amount of companies will not be able to keep up with the digital transition, as it requires such large investments. We are also open for other companies to join our ranks; Milestone has decided to join forces with us, Co and Juri sold their shares to Shypple and reinvested the millions earned in the company, and other entrepreneurs could do the same."