Marc Held, a Boston entrepreneur who previously founded Weft and Zazu, is heading a new venture he’s been keeping relatively under wraps. He sold his last company Weft to Genscape, an energy intelligence company also based in Boston, this past June. And after taking some time off to travel, he quickly became antsy. Held went back to the supply chain logistics drawing board and started Armada.
“I had to do it,” Held told us. “I’ve spent five years in the space now. I know there’s a bunch of problems that aren’t solved yet. Here, I am tracking pallets. It will affect way more people than with Weft. The scale is way larger and there’s a much crazier opportunity. The impact is so large, and the people who have money for it are willing to pay money for it.”
Where Weft focused on supply chain tracking for shipments traveling by sea, Armada expands the scope of visibility. It’s developed a tiny piece of hardware with which they can wire up pallets going out for shipment. The hardware relays data back to Armada’s software, which then generates predictive analytics based on all the information.
Armada also tracks “every boat in the water, train, truck – everything that moves that we can get our hands on.” Held said, “It’s less about tracking one, individual pallet in the world and more about figuring out how that pallet is performing in context.”
He added that most companies shipping large volumes of pallets currently have no insight into what’s going on in their own supply chain. “They’re making decisions with information that’s out of date, slightly inaccurate or just wrong. Introducing just a little bit of light into their customer supply chains is great… Armada is about creating visibility into their supply chain by wiring up pallets and analyzing the data. It will help them make decisions like who to ship with, which port is better to go through, which airline have the best rates.”
Armada customers get X number of devices to use for shipments, depending on how many needed, and they pay per shipment per month.
Up until this point, Armada has been self-funded, with a small amount of cash coming from friends and family. It will be looking to fundraise early next year. Other next steps include officially opening its headquarters in Central Square, as well as making key hires.
With regards to Weft’s acquisition this past summer, Held wasn’t able to disclose any details, but he did say a “chunk of the employees” stayed on with Genscape.