Today I’m officially announcing that after 14 years, I’m stepping down from my role as CEO at uShip, the online shipping marketplace I founded in 2003. I will remain on our Board and continue to guide and advise the company along with our other Directors. Ultimately, this frees me up to pursue other interests and opportunities, including getting more involved with early stage startups.
I’m also excited to share that Jim Martell, one of the industry’s most seasoned logistics veterans, has joined uShip’s Board and agreed to serve as interim CEO while we narrow down a large field of full-time chief executive candidates. Jim is an experienced CEO and will offer great wisdom and insight to the team.
As you can imagine, the decision to hand over the helm isn’t an easy one. If you’ve ever turned a hunch or idea into something greater, especially into a successful and rapidly growing business, you will understand. Letting go is hard.
I’ll miss being part of the amazing culture we’ve built at uShip. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then we should feel quite flattered that many aspects of our culture have been modeled at other Austin startups. While we’ve always taken our work seriously, we’ve always had fun in the process, whether it’s epic ping pong tournaments, First Fridays floating the river, enjoying daily home-cooked lunches, and other team bonding activities that ultimately help us work better together.
I’m also proud of how we’ve given back to the community. We were founding members of the Startup Games, which has gone on to raise thousands of dollars for charities, and also sponsored Help on Wheels, our charitable shipping program, that helps get supplies and donations delivered to those in need.
I’ve been planning this transition away from the operational CEO role for almost a year. For a few reasons, now is the right time. First, I wanted to see through the signing of a milestone strategic partnership, as well as to see some of our key strategic initiatives take root and establish momentum. Now that those things have taken place and the company is firing on all cylinders, it’s the right time for me to make my next move.
Over the summer, we announced a five-year partnership worth tens of millions of dollars with DB Schenker, Europe’s largest truck logistics company, to power its next generation load matching platform.
uShip’s less-than-truckload offering continues to see triple digit year-over-year growth and now features a roster of 30+ national and regional LTL carriers, including the nation’s top five—FedEx Freight®, XPO Logistics, YRC Freight, Old Dominion Freight Line and UPS Freight®.
Further, we’ve been enjoying accelerating growth across our marketplace as a result of several key product changes we’ve been implementing over the last two years.
When two classmates—Jay Manickam and Mickey Millsap—and I wrote the business plan for uShip for a Texas MBA class in 2004, I never would have dreamed we would accomplish what we have to date: Nearly $1 billion in gross sales earned by over 800,000 registered transporters who have made over one million deliveries in 138 countries. Not to mention 100 episodes of “Shipping Wars,” the A&E reality show that featured uShip for seven seasons between 2012-2015.
Out of hundreds of startups that have pursued this space, we are far and away the leading freight marketplace in the world. And we’ve done it by raising only $25M, a very little capital raise by today’s standards.
As uShip grew over the last couple years, I found myself in a CEO role that had become more operational and less entrepreneurial. Along the way, I came to realize that my true passion is in the early, entrepreneurial stages of building a company. I started to feel like I was doing myself (not to mention uShip) a disservice staying in a role that was not leveraging my skills and satisfying my interests. So, the timing feels right to make this move and scratch that entrepreneurial itch once again!
uShip has made such a difference in so many people’s lives. I couldn’t be more proud of what this team, our current 200+ employees, and all of our alumni have built together. We’re really just getting started in disrupting the $2.2T global freight industry.
Thanks, uShip. It’s been an honor and privilege to have served as your first CEO. I’m excited about what the future holds for us both!