Amazon vet Dorothy Li joins trucking startup Convoy as CTO, says company is at ‘inflection point’


Dorothy Li, a 23-year Amazon vet who helped launch game-changing improvements such as Prime to Kindle, is the most recent skilled govt to affix Convoy’s management workforce.

The Seattle startup right this moment named Li its new chief expertise officer. She is going to oversee engineering groups constructing Convoy’s digital freight community that matches shippers with truck drivers.

Convoy is one among a handful of privately-held firms within the Seattle area valued at greater than $1 billion, elevating $400 million at a $2.7 billion valuation in November 2019.

The startup — backed by the likes of Invoice Gates, Jeff Bezos, Marc Benioff and others — has bulked up its C-suite over the previous few years. Final August the company hired former Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom as president and COO. Different leaders got here from firms such as Hulu, Airbnb, and Amazon, the place Convoy co-founders Dan Lewis and Grant Goodale labored earlier than launching Convoy in 2015.

Goodale was beforehand CTO; he’ll transition to a brand new function overseeing the company’s provider market.

Li mentioned she was drawn to Convoy for quite a lot of causes, however partly as a result of it reminded her of Amazon within the early 2000s, simply as the company was about to show right into a behemoth.

“Convoy feels very very similar to it’s at an inflection level,” Li informed GeekWire this week. She most just lately was vp of BI and Analytics at Amazon Internet Companies, and beforehand frolicked at Oracle.

Lewis mentioned Convoy’s enterprise is “stronger than ever,” with year-over-year income progress within the triple digits. Its community now has greater than 67,000 carriers and 300,000 vans. Delivery prospects embrace Anheuser-Busch, P&G, Niagara, and Unilever.

Amazon vet Dorothy Li joins trucking startup Convoy as CTO, says company is at ‘inflection point’

Convoy was capable of climate the pandemic-driven volatility that rocked the U.S. trucking industry. There are ongoing world container shipping delays, however Lewis mentioned it hasn’t impacted Convoy as the company’s enterprise isn’t reliant on how containers come out and in of ports.

Then there is the trucking industry labor shortage, although some query whether it is an actual shortage or only a retention downside. Regardless, Lewis mentioned an absence of drivers doesn’t have a fabric influence on Convoy as a result of it targets smaller carriers, or the “lengthy tail of trucking firms” which might be “truly actually out there and lively.”

Craig Fuller, CEO of trucking information and information hub FreightWaves, spoke on a Bloomberg podcast this week and mentioned there have been 11,000 new trucking firms that entered the business inside the previous month — a pattern that might bode effectively for Convoy’s technique.

Convoy additionally faces competitors within the $800 billion U.S. freight business from a flurry of digital freight startups which might be additionally elevating gobs of enterprise capital, and conventional brokers such as C.H. Robinson. Lewis mentioned he hasn’t seen many more recent entrants “truly shifting the freight themselves.”

Direct rivals embrace Uber Freight — which reported $301 million in income for the March quarter, up 51% — Transfix, and Sennder, which raised $80 million this month however operates in Europe.

Convoy has rolled out numerous new options and providers over the previous 12 months, together with an expansion of its “drop-and-hook” program Convoy Go.

Lewis declined to say if one other funding spherical or IPO plans are within the works. “There shall be alternatives for us to take the company to the following degree, from a financing and liquidity perspective sooner or later, however there’s nothing imminent,” he mentioned.

Goodale’s new function will embrace spending extra time with truck drivers and “advocating” for them on an area and nationwide degree,” Lewis mentioned.

“There are loads of industries that want they might have accomplished that earlier,” he added. “Transportation, supply, housing firms — they didn’t actually have any individual to advocate on behalf of the folks doing all this work, to determine methods to make their expertise higher and set them up for fulfillment within the nation. So I feel we’re going to get forward of that.”

Convoy employs round 1,000 folks and plans to rent all year long. Li mentioned she hopes her new function at Convoy helps elevate different numerous leaders.

“There are usually not that many feminine expertise leaders which might be seen,” she mentioned. “One in every of my targets is to carry extra of that inclusion and variety into Convoy and for the larger Seattle space as effectively.”

Flexport, one other billion-dollar digital freight company, also has a CTO who got here from Amazon: James Chen, who was beforehand director of expertise for Amazon Delivery and joined Flexport in 2019. He is primarily based in Seattle.

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