RMB Solutionist Thinking is a podcast series hosted by Bruce Whitfield which focusses on great South African minds thinking differently and going against the norm. In this episode in the second series, Whitfield interviews the founder and Chief Executive Officer of EmptyTrips, Benji Coetzee.
If you didn't know better, you'd be forgiven for thinking that innovative technologist, Benji Coetzee's management consulting background – much like her role in a male-dominated industry – could be slightly mismatched.
And, while her efforts are still to pay off, this young millennial woman’s passion for entrepreneurship has seen her challenge the operations of established players of South Africa’s logistics industry – a sector traditionally resistant to change.
It was a trip along the N3 from Durban to Johannesburg that sparked the idea.
A lot of companies are going to become irrelevant very soon because they have this inertia towards change.— Benji Coetzee, founder and Chief Executive – EmptyTrips
After seeing a long convoy of empty trucks returning to its destination, empty after delivering goods to its destination – Benji realised that something needed to be done about the inefficiencies in the freight transport industry.
Her solution? EmptyTrips – an artificial intelligence enabled digital logistics platform for cargo, using smart matching algorithms to connect and create an open marketplace for freight transport with spare capacity, whilst improving economics and significantly reducing the catastrophic environmental impact of carbon emissions.
Africa's first transport marketplace – EmptyTrips not only helps better match the supply and demand of cargo transport but, aims to deliver what Benji calls the Triple Bottom Line Impact, namely:
- reduce carbon emissions substantially,
- save money and,
- create sustainable business.
We need to take drastic change and not all of us are going to recycle, and not all of us are going to make drastic changes, but if we simply just fix the wastage in this one industry, we could actually just reduce carbon emissions by need 5%.— Benji Coetzee, founder and Chief Executive – EmptyTrips
Today, the startup is close to becoming profitable and, Benji has been recognised as a Forbes Global Top60 woman in technology, a Top50 woman to watch by Entrepreneur Magazine, a trailblazer for change by CNBC Africa and an impact challenger by Singularity University.