During their eight-year stint at Walmart’s technology labs, Syed Aman and Sharan Grewal, were part of the team that built the online grocery platform into a multi-billion dollar business. The two used their technology and produce delivery expertise to develop Hwy Haul, a Silicon Valley-based technology company that helps move freight by matching shippers with carriers on its digital freight brokerage platform.
Founded in October 2018 in Santa Clara, Calif., the company has grown 400% year-over-year and raised close to $3 million from notable investors. The company’s mission is to reduce food wastage, lower carbon emissions and improve all stakeholders’ efficiency.
“Hwy Haul is reimagining the future supply chain of fresh produce,” says Sharan Grewal, CTO and co-founder of Hwy Haul. “Our (patented) digital freight platform uses Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Optimization Algorithms to match loads with reliable carriers in our network -- both in U.S. and Canada -- and provides real-time freight tracking with smart alerts. We would like to create a near-magical and touchless experience for every actor involved in this value chain.”
According to Grewal, tackling long haul fresh produce is an extremely hard problem to solve.
“There are various complexities and nuances that are not applicable to other industries and commodities -- such as strict packaging requirements, temperature and humidity levels to be maintained throughout the trip, tighter OTD (On Time Delivery) requirements by nation's top retailers and grocers,” says Grewal. “We have been delivering loads to marquee destinations such as Walmart, Costco, H-E-B, Kroger, Safeway, Hello Fresh, and the nation's other top grocers.”
After laying the foundation of Walmart's online grocery platform and helping scale it to multi-billion dollar business, Aman and Grewal say they developed a deep appreciation of the quirks involved in handling grocery orders, which included fresh produce by and large.
“The separation of ambient, chilled and frozen items, the strict cold-chain compliance adherence, the successful grocery packaging and delivery to ensure reduced spoilage and throws. The sheer scale of a behemoth like Walmart taught us to build highly scalable and reliable systems and leverage the might of data, providing actionable insights to various stakeholders,” says Aman.
Zahed Khan, COO and co-founder of Hwy Haul, says a background in business led to the founding of the company.
“Food wastage is a global problem. During my experience owning various produce businesses over the last 20 years, I've seen 10-14% of loads getting rejected,” says Khan. “In fact, the food wasted during transit may add up to whopping billions of dollars. Key reasons include highly manual ways of scheduling, routing and lack of visibility and transparency during days in transit.”
Hwy Haul is helping to reduce carbon emissions and food waste.
“Hwy Haul is reducing carbon emissions in two main ways -- cutting down the empty miles that the drivers travel using machine learning and reducing the food wastage during transit,” says Grewal. “We have already reduced the load rejects in half through our digital freight platform and advanced cold chain visibility and monitoring capabilities that we are building.”
The company’s recent investment round was led by some of the eminent founders, CEOs and executives of multi-billion dollar technology companies based out of Silicon Valley.
“We have also gathered a very active and distinguished advisory board group,” says Aman. “Shippers and carriers need to adopt technology more going forward, and we are seeing that trend already. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic which calls for an elastic supply chain that can react to the changing dynamics of the freight market. Hwy Haul is exactly building that.”