Michael Wax is the Co-Founder and CEO of Forto, Europe’s first digital freight forwarding company and the largest one as well. They are building the digital backbone for the multi-trillion global trade market and are currently at 1.2 billion valuation. They have raised a number of big rounds with the latest one, backed by SoftBank, which was 240 million. They are present in 14 locations worldwide and have about 600 people in a very short span of time.
Listen to the full discussion here:
- Listen on Stitcher
Connect with the Guest:
Michael Wax: LinkedIn
Some of the highlights from the podcast:
- How the idea for Forto came about
- The future of the 3PL Industry 3-10 years from now- will Forto become one of the top 10?
- Forto’s interview structure and why is performance revenue structure essential- giving candidates a good hiring experience
- New way of measuring inflation- unemployment rate and increase in prices.
- Advice to people making the shift from a corporate type of job to a startup entrepreneurial type
- [00:57] How did you end up in this startup type of environment? Why did you choose to set up in logistics and logistics technology?
- [02:09] It’s a really cool experience to hire and build your own team- seeing this dynamic and energy in one place of people all following the same vision. That’s why even after a short stint in the corporate world, I decided that I basically want to remain driving my career in the entrepreneurial area.
- [04:56] If you were to look back, are there certain gems of wisdom or secrets of success that helped you grow so fast and so well?
- [05:46] First is hiring a strong team; second is a super-strong customer focus; and lastly, constantly re-innovating and refining yourself. The bottom line is that the only thing that’s constant in a fast-growing company is change.
- [06:42] The 3PL industry is very fragmented and there are a lot of different players and they are trying quite fast to digitize themselves to get all sorts of new visibility and digital tools on their platforms. How do you see this playing out in the next three to five years? Is Forto going to be one of the top 10?
- [08:39] What are some of the things that make clients come back to you and also make you stand out in terms of new client acquisition? What do you hear from your clients? Why did they choose Forto?
- [09:53] What do you look for when you hire?
- [10:39] We are looking primarily for ambitious people that have very low egos. And when it comes to hiring, I think having not just the right interview structure, but also the right performance revenue structure in place is super essential.
- [12:25] I was talking with a startup and they got somebody that was a rock star in a different company, but they didn’t do the background checks properly. And it turned out that the person was not very good or almost toxic when it came to teams. So I’m just curious if you’ve come across such examples because sometimes we learn a lot also from our mistakes.
- [13:40] Whether a candidate is accepted or not, a great organization will make sure that they had a great hiring experience and will leave the door thinking, “Hey, I would have liked to work for the company, because it’s a great place to work for.” And that is our ambition.
- [14:10] In your perspective, when are the transportation costs going to come down to some level of normality?
- [15:10] I think the only thing we can look at right now is what will change the current situation, which is more available space or significantly lower demand. And the only thing I could or I would recommend now is to make sure that you build up resilience for whatever may come.
- [18:06] The way I look at it is there’s been a lot of money that was pumped into the market, and it’s still being pumped into the market. And the logical consequence of that is inflation.
- [19:22] Do you see certain trends accelerating across global supply chains driven by all these factors that we’ve just put in place? Which one do you think will be accelerated because of COVID even further?
- [21:51] What I can’t help to wonder is when things go back to some level of whatever normal will look like, will we kind of forget this and go back to what was prevalent? Or will people remember this for a while and we’ll keep this intent for resilience in the supply chain?
- [23:13] What would be some pieces of advice you would give to people listening to the podcast that wants to make the shift from a corporate type of job to a startup entrepreneurial type of job?
- [24:47] Tell us also something that we wouldn’t easily find in your CV, maybe some hobbies because I know that you’re a man of many interests.
- [25:22] I also do like to give back some of the experiences we made in angel investing, supporting some early-stage companies, primarily around B2B software supply chain topics and some fintech. And last but not least, especially on days like these, we all basically should build a political opinion.