The Hamburg-based Cargonexx logistics start-up went from success to the next last year beginning in February when it prevailed over 500 European mobility start-ups to win the European Startup Prize for Mobility presented by the European Parliament and the European Commission. Then in autumn, the Cargonexx team, led by founder Rolf-Dieter Lafrenz, won the Hamburger Gründerpreis 2018 in the business start-up category. Shortly afterwards, Lafrenz won the Startups@Reeperbahn Pitch, organised by the private initiative Hamburg Startup, and secured a trip to this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW), the leading digital and creative festival in Austin, Texas.
The unrivalled festival gets underway from March 8-17, 2019 and will transform Austin into a hotspot for creative people, start-ups and media players from all over the globe. SXSW is generally seen as a launching pad for start-ups and in 2007, Twitter made its breakthrough there. In the run-up to the festival, Hamburg News talked to Lafrenz about his expectations, hopes and plans for Austin.
Hamburg News: How does it feel to be representing Hamburg as a business and start-up location at the world’s largest digital and creative trade fair?
Rolf-Dieter Lafrenz: As a Hamburg native, it is of great personal concern to me that our city should become even better known as a location for founders. The opportunity feels great.
Hamburg News: What are your goals for Austin?
Lafrenz: I want to gain many new inspirations, get to know interesting people and meet potential investors.
Hamburg News: What do you hope to achieve with Cargonexx?
Lafrenz: Cargonexx uses data intelligence to raise the utilization of trucks in long-distance traffic. The more we transport, the more greenhouse gases we save. Our goal is to save 100,000 tons of CO2 every year. We have set up a pan European truck transport network to achieve this goal.
Hamburg News: The keyword is “one-click-trucking”. How does your business idea work?
Lafrenz: We become a liable freight forwarder and take over the cargo from freight forwarders, commercial and industrial companies. Our algorithms organise the cargo into ideally combined tours. Neuronal networks that learn the dispatchers’ expert knowledge play a special role in this process. The tours are then dispatched across our network, which consists of more than 6,000 transport companies and over 80,000 trucks. All the processes are digital and largely automated.
Hamburg News: Can you describe the Cargonexx team?
Lafrenz: Our team is a great, fantastic mix of young and experienced professionals. Management in particular can look back on several years of start-up and leadership experience. This is a great help in a B2B environment.
Hamburg News: Can you outline your post-Austin plans?
Lafrenz: Keep going full speed ahead. We want to triple our transport volume this year, develop the major European markets (France, Spain and Italy) and conclude a round of financing. So it will be exciting.
Hamburg News: Thank you for the interview, Mr. Lafrenz.
Interview by Sarah Bischoff
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