#50: Jett McCandless CEO and Founder of Project44

#50: Jett McCandless CEO and Founder of Project44

Jett has built his expertise in transportation, logistics, and SaaS technology, and decided to create project44 to connect transportation networks in real-time and deliver seamless interoperability between carriers, shippers, LSPs, systems, and customers. Over 8.5M assets are tracked in their system across 48+ countries. They have raised over $100M+ through multiple rounds.

project44 has also established partnerships and out-of-box integrations with over 600 telematics devices and over 60 TMS vendors, project44 supports all transportation modes and shipping types, including Parcel, Final-Mile, Less-than-Truckload, Volume Less-than-Truckload, Truckload, Rail, Intermodal, and Ocean.

Listen to the full discussion here:

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Connect with the Guest:

Jett McCandless: Linkedin | Twitter

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • The story of project44 – creating a less fragmented chain through the platform.
  • How they became the first technology company to be a FedEx, JB Hunt, and Old Dominion Trust API integrator.
  • Attracting and retaining talent- the biggest challenge for project44
  • Using 25 KPIs to track the company’s status.
  • How they help clients like Amazon improve visibility
  • Path to profitability and are we heading for a recession
  • “Doing what you’re saying you’re going to do and providing value to the team members you work with and your customers are what’s important.”

Show notes:

  • [01:15] Tell us the story on how you came up with the name Project44 and how is it connected to the company’s vision?
  • [02:24] Project 44 is the digital upgrade for transportation and logistics.
  • [03:23] How does project 44 create a less fragmented chain through your platform?
  • [05:20] “What we are trying to do is provide the visibility and automation to all the parties of the ecosystem both within the company and their suppliers and carriers.”
  • [06:48] Can you give us a concrete example of how you help your clients?
  • [07:29] The idea behind the delivery economy is pretty simple. Customers are not just buying the product, they are also buying the logistics and the delivery experience.
  • [10:39] What would be the benefit of companies building their own APIs rather than paying for somebody like yourselves?
  • [13:24] Our current customers spend over $150 billion a year on transportation and that’s a huge number. So the majority of our customers, share their data with us to build analytics products.
  • [14:31] I suspect that out of the top 10,000 global brands, there will be some folks out there that have that pride of authorship that will want to try to build it themselves.
  • [15:44] How is project 44 built around ensuring data security?
  • [17:33] We acquire a company in Europe to ensure that we keep the same level of integrity that we have in the US around security and privacy. The approach is expensive but we keep the trust in the market that it is a wise investment.
  • [19:42] How is Project 44 unique and what can you bring to the table in working with your client?
  • [21:32] We are solving the problem from the inside out and when you look at other visibility companies, they’re trying to solve it from the outside in.
  • [23:25] We’re the only technology company in the world that’s on the FedEx API integrator, JB Hunt’s API integrator program and the only technology company in the world that has Old Dominion Trust as an API integrator.
  • [24:03] What’s next for the visibility market across the world and are there any specific variances in adoption in terms of continents in the future?
  • [25:28] We also adjust culturally, for example, in Europe our carrier team speaks 13 different languages and in the US our carrier team speaks only three languages.
  • [26:10] What are some of the most important challenges that you face at the moment for your next phase of growth? What are some of the bottlenecks in your operations in moving forward and growing even faster?
  • [27:28] The biggest challenge for us is looking for the right type of talent, bringing them in and retaining the talent and at the same time making sure that we can deliver according to our customer’s expectation.
  • [29:05] If you were to look back over the last five years, what would you say are some of the most successful principles that you applied that led you to where you are today?
  • [29:45] Having a real talk with our customers and with other folks in the ecosystem is something that really helped us along the way. It’s not over committing.It’s talking to customers about where we are currently at and what we plan on accomplishing.
  • [32:38] What is your path to becoming profitable?
  • [33:51] The kind of mindset that we and our investors bring to the table is delivering incredible value and the profit will come later.
  • [35:02] What are some of the most important metrics that you track to let you know that project44 is going in the right direction?
  • [35:13] One of the most important things for us is to know that our customers are happy with our products.
  • [36:14] We have 25 KPIs that we track as a company that we all get access to on a dashboard weekly that rolls up to five strategic objectives.
  • [38:26] It’s about what information can resurface to our team members that are relevant to help them make better decisions and gives them access to the cadence of the company and where we are at the moment- whether we are winning or losing.
  • [39:18] Do you have any thoughts or prediction in 2019? Will this be the year the bubble burst? Will it not? How will that happen?
  • [41:37] One unique thing is that you don’t see as much of these large companies investing in R&D as we’ve seen for the previous hundred years. They’ve essentially consciously or unconsciously made a decision that they’re going to outsource R&D to startups and then acquire that innovation for growth engines.
  • [43:09] What’s your plan for Asia in general and how will you deal with the complexities of archipelago countries?
  • [45:12] How do you attract and keep talent?
  • [46:00] For us it’s really about always making sure that we have the right recruiting and procurement or interview process.
  • [48:28] How do you think in terms of diversity and balancing skills, experiences and ages? How does that play a part?
  • [49:00] We have zero tolerance for anyone that doesn’t embrace diversity. We are constantly challenging ourselves to put the work to both local communities and nationally and to find talent that can add the most value to our customers and to the team.
  • [50:06] From a leadership perspective, what do you look for in people? How do you if this person is the future leader of the organization?
  • [51:00] The team member has a responsibility to invest in themselves. Whether that’s through books, programs or executive coaches.
  • [53:24] What would be some of the best pieces of advice that you’ve received throughout your career now, the startup life, that has helped you the most?
  • [54:38] Doing what you’re saying you’re going to do and providing value to the team members you work with and your customers are what’s important.

Related Episodes:

Episode #39: Richard White CEO of WiseTech Global and CargoWise

Episode #42: Chris Sheldrick CEO & Co-Founder of what3words

Episode #49: Vikram Agarwal Chief Supply Chain Officer of Avon

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