By Chloe Aiello and Alex Heath
Samsara, one of the hottest tech startups in the freight and logistics space, is raising $100 million in fresh funding, Cheddar has learned. The new round will value the three-year-old startup at about $3.6 billion, or more than double the valuation it achieved through its last round of funding just nine months ago.
Samsara is raising the money from its existing, big-name investors, Andreessen Horowitz and General Catalyst. The round is already fully committed and is expected to close in early January, Samsara EVP of products and marketing Kiren Sekar told Cheddar on Friday.
The company disclosed its plans to raise money in a filing with the state of Delaware on Dec. 21 that was provided to Cheddar by Lagniappe Labs, creator of the Prime Unicorn Index, which tracks U.S. private companies valued at $500 million or higher.
Focusing on a segment of Internet of Things (IoT) called connected operations, Samsara uses sensors, and cloud technology to collect data on operations that it uses to improve safety and efficiency in transportation, logistics, food delivery, and manufacturing. Customers like Proctor and Gamble ($PG) and Chobani use Samsara’s internet-connected hardware, like sensors, dash cams, and GPS trackers to monitor product integrity, driver safety, and fleet location in real-time.
Sekar said he’s seen “incredible customer response” to the technology, largely because operational industries are “traditionally underserved by technology.”
“Part of that is the physical characteristics of these businesses: they were often distributed, they were remote, they might be operating in rugged conditions,” Sekar said.
“But now, with technologies like cellular connectivity available practically everywhere, with a smartphone in every pocket ... We are finally seeing there is a foundation to enable technology to address these industries.”
Since its founding in 2015, Samsara has become one of the fastest-growing enterprise startups, bolstered by investment from Silicon Valley heavyweights. Its two co-founders, Sanjit Biswas and John Bicket, previously sold their networking start-up Meraki to Cisco for $1.2 billion.
So far, Samsara has managed to generate significant buzz by outfitting companies with smart sensors to improve their logistics and operations. And its company culture has also been recognized; Samsara ranked 16th on LinkedIn’s 2018 list of the Top 50 Startups, and CEO Sanjit Biswas was the most highly rated CEO of a small or medium business on the job review site Glassdoor in 2018.
The $100 million in funding Samsara is looking to raise follows the $50 million it raised earlier in 2018 for its Series D funding, which valued the company at $1.4 billion. The company had planned that funding to expand its workforce past 550 — which it has — and expand its network of customers.
“We’ve been incredibly excited by the progress we’ve made in the past year,” Sekar said.
Sekar said Samsara did not actually dip into the last $50 million it raised in its prior round earlier this year, but would use its funding to continue to invest building its technology, expanding its global footprint, and growing its workforce. Samsara plans to add 1,000 new employees, including about 400 over the next two years at a new east coast hub it plans to open in Atlanta, Ga., in early February.
2019 is shaping up to be quite the year for unicorn IPOs, but Sekar was coy about whether or not Samsara would consider going public in 2019 or beyond.
“We don’t have anything to announce on that at this time,” he said.