Caltex Spark Program

Mentor Cate Hull, Cofounder of FreightExchange, on why a later stage Startup benefits from a corporate accelerator

- February 8, 2018 3 MIN READ

For Cate Hull, Cofounder of FreightExchange, the chance to work with food and beverage giant Lion through the Lion Unleashed accelerator program, powered by Slingshot Accelerator, was a dream.

“Lion is one of Australasia’s biggest manufacturers of food and beverages, and our application helps to optimise industrial freight movement, so they were a dream customer for us. In applying we thought, we could have an opportunity to collaborate with Lion? Hell yes.”

Founded by Hull and Martyn Hann in 2014, FreightExchange aims to reduce waste in the freight industry by connecting freight carriers with extra capacity on a particular leg to those needing something shipped, allowing a carrier to fill a gap in their truck with a smaller load.

With Lion’s portfolio of products and sites, logistics is a crucial part of the company’s backbone: indeed, an idea client for FreightExchange.

Like many businesses, they have corporate targets in their sights but the task of approaching a corporate – and then getting to the right person inside, was beyond FreightExchange at their current point of growth.

“Realistically, we would have had to approach Lion in the traditional sense, in every possible way,” Hull explained.

“Basically, you’ve got to spend time getting to know the business, and the business has to give you that time, so that’s your typical sales or business development management process, but actually having resources to do that as a Startup? You just simply don’t.”

Getting into a Slingshot Accelerator Program as a Scaleup last year accelerated this process dramatically.

Slingshot calls its Scaleup program a ‘Quick to No’ program, with the goal to help get the corporate and the Scaleup to a Memorandum of Understanding – whatever form it may take – in five meetings or less.

In approaching the Scaleup program, FreightExchange’s goal was simple.

“Our key goal was just, we were excited to work with Lion. We wanted to learn about their business and make sure our product could genuinely add value to their company, then actually go ahead and create value,” Hull said.

Upon entering the program, FreightExchange was assigned an area of the Lion business that had been identified as most relevant, and assigned a member of the Lion team to help them navigate it.

“Slingshot were instrumental in creating a navigation process for us where we could identify projects and work through them to eventually get something off the ground”

“When you’re a Startup you don’t have the data or the resources to learn a lot about a company, and you actually need a little bit of help from someone like Slingshot,” Hull said.

That help came in handy as the FreightExchange team examined the company’s freight in the lead up to Christmas.

“At that time, it actually was actually intimidating to look at it all and I thought, I genuinely don’t know if we can impact this business as a Startup, but it turns out, no, there were areas where our solutions really could help streamline Lion’s logistics, which was quite a lesson,” Hull said.

Though it would have likely taken FreightExchange a while before they were ready to approach Lion outside the confines of their accelerator, Hull said a couple of things are still the same when looking to work with a corporate in a Slingshot Scaleup program.

“Whenever you’re thinking through these things, you have to treat it like an opportunity to do something cool, and when you’re trying to do something cool, you have to get to know the other person or other side of the business,” she said.

As Slingshot gears up to launch its Caltex Sparke program, Hull urged later stage Startups to research Caltex and what the giant does beyond petrol and look at how you can add value to their entire operational process.

In partnership with Slingshot, Australia’s leading accelerator, Caltex has recently launched the Spark Accelerator to find and work with some of the most disruptive businesses in the region. Hull, now acting as a Spark mentor, is giving back to Startups that apply.

Caltex are looking for businesses or ideas that could help them with mobility, retail, convenience and efficiency.

“Get to know Caltex: they are a diverse business with a broad range of customers so do your homework and get to know them.”

Do you know someone with a business idea that could help Caltex and their customers in the area of Mobility, Retail, Convenience or Efficiency? Or maybe you can amaze us with something completely different.

Join us to meet the Caltex and Slingshot team working on the Spark Accelerator at a Roadshow near you.