Freight forwarders of all sizes made bank last year wrangling shipments of vaccines and e-commerce. Startup Logixboard just raised $13 million to help them make even more.

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Juan and Julian Alvarez cofounded Logixboard in 2016.

Logixboard helps small and medium freight forwarders compete with Kuehne + Nagel and DHL. Freight forwarders arrange cargo movement across ocean, air, rail, and road. The Seattle-based startup just raised $13 million to improve its software and grab market share. See more stories on Insider’s business page.

2020 was the year of the freight forwarder. For moving everything from PPE to vaccines, frantic retailers, hospitals, and even governments leaned hard on players that do the job by any means necessary – and that’s the specialty of freight forwarders, the travel agents of the logistics world.

Freight forwarders don’t own or operate ships, trains, planes, or trucks. Instead, they arrange transit from place to place for a customer – managing the relationship with each carrier along the way. The chaos of shuttered factories, canceled flights and sailings, combined with shifting regulations in every country made 2020 a logistically stressful year. It proved freight forwarders’ value as essential to supply chains, but it also revealed their weak points.

Logixboard, a Seattle-based startup that makes software to help freight forwarders talk to their desperate customers, saw a 14-fold increase in users on its platform last year. And it just raised a $13 million Series A round, led by Redpoint Ventures, to capitalize on that momentum.

“When there’s disarray and chaos in the market, there’s typically opportunity for growth. Freight forwarding companies really became a pillar for shippers all over the world, helping them manage that complexity,” Julian Alvarez, the 5-year-old startup’s cofounder and CEO told Insider.

The big names in the freight forwarding space are Kuehne + Nagel, Sinotrans, DHL, DB Schenker, DSV Panalpina, and Expeditors. (The opportunities are so tempting, though, that even some of the oldest players in freight, like Maersk, are jumping into the fray.)

These big players have thousands of employees around the world and are more likely to have sophisticated digital platforms that customers can use to track