27 February 2023

Bornholm-based entrepreneurs are transforming haulers’ daily work from analogue to green and digital

image Photo: Rikke Høyer & Sidsel Høyer

DORA has developed a system which makes haulers’ and freight forwarders’ day digital, enabling them to handle consignment notes, among other daily tasks, from their phones. Simultaneously, DORA makes it easy to do the regulatory CO2-emissions calculations easily and transparently. A collective investment of 4 million DKK, from Denmark’s Export and Investment Fund among others, is going to drive the business toward new, international markets.  

The two entrepreneur sisters from the Danish island of Bornholm, Rikke and Sidsel Høyer, have, with a starting point in own experience from the industry, specially developed a system for haulers and freight forwarders.  

DORA’s system offers the truck driver the ability to store and share documents digitally, that would usually be in paper form. In this way, the drivers are able to handle consignment notes and route planning with their phones. This enables good communication between colleagues, drivers, and suppliers. 

Simultaneously, the system aids in the task of the regulatory CO2-emissions calculations, so clients gain knowledge of their specific carbon footprint, and the haulers can track their trucks. The system works as one single solution to handle tasks that would usually require multiple systems to complete. 

Experience from the freight and tech industry  

The idea for DORA came to life when the two sisters were gathered over Christmas on the island of Bornholm two years ago. Rikke Høyer was telling her sister about the challenges she was facing in her daily work as a dispatcher in the freight industry, where she was tasked with planning the routes of the drivers. Sidsel Høyer was working in Berlin in the tech-startup environment at the time, and immediately got ideas for how technology might be able to solve some of the issues that Rikke Høyer was describing.  

That became the starting point of an entrepreneurial adventure, where each of the two sisters’ skills got to play a part. They were certain that the platform, which solves many of the haulers’ issues through the use of a single system, was going to be in demand. The uncertainty was in how to create such a system.  

However, a particular entrepreneurial drive and talent for autodidacticism quickly got them started:  
“We felt inspired, and we felt like learning the things we needed to learn in order to make this thing succeed. So Rikke took a course in the psychology of sales, and I learned to code, so that we could build our prototype,” says Sidsel Høyer.  

Rikke Høyer has always known that she belonged in the freight industry. With ten years of experience from within the industry, she knows all about the challenges you face every day as a hauler. This is why she prioritizes in-person visits with the freight businesses in order to listen to their specific needs.  

“It is the coolest industry, but it is a large issue that many are currently using systems that are not at all built for what we do. That inspired me to create something myself,” she says about the system, that can handle orders, route planning, bookkeeping, invoicing, digital consignment notes and CO2-emissions calculations.  

The first investment of Denmark’s Export and Investment Fund together with Unconventional Ventures 

The total investment is around 4 million DKK, where Denmark’s Export and Investment Fund contributes with just about 2 million DKK. This is the first time that the state fund invests in syndication with Unconventional Ventures, which is the first European fund with a stated goal of investing exclusively in scalable tech companies with impact at the core of its business, founded by women and minorities.  

The investment syndicate also includes Fast Track Malmø and several business angels. The investment is primarily going to scale the business toward a commercial rollout in Europe, where 90 percent of the freight businesses are of the size that DORA has specialized their system to. 

DORA as the front runner of a green transition of the freight industry 

Unique to DORA’s system is the ability to create transparent CO2-emissions calculations. The standards and regulations for such calculations are constantly changing, and soon a new EU-directive will be put in place, which the team behind DORA estimate will influence the freight industry in a comparable manner to the implementation of GDPR-regulations.  

“It is a huge task, especially for the smaller freight businesses, to do these calculations, and we want to solve that task for them. Many of the haulers’ clients want the data on how much CO2 their exact order emits, and if the businesses are to meet that request, the numbers need to be calculated easily and quickly,” says Rikke Høyer.  

The freight industry is one of the largest emitters of CO2, and there is a huge potential for green transition of the industry. However, it requires knowledge of and data on the exact emissions in order to create change, and the data is currently often based on estimates. Uniquely, DORA collects specific numbers and data, enabling a precise insight into the emissions of the haulers’ business.  

“The team behind DORA takes pride in acquiring comprehensive knowledge of the industry they navigate in. They have proven the large potential that lies in the collection of data and transparency of CO2-emissions calculations. The Bornholm-based startup is a promising example of the new technologies, that with risk capital from Denmark’s Export and Investment Fund, can accelerate the green transition of the freight industry,” says Louise Middelhede Flyger, Investment Manager in Denmark’s Export and Investment Fund.  

“The freight market presents a huge opportunity as it is painfully underserved in terms of efficiency and transparency - with increasing demands from users, regulators and customers - for saving time and money but most importantly in connection to CO2 emissions. With Sidsel’s background within business and product development, together with Rikke’s decade of experience from the transportation and dispatching industry, this team has a unique position to usher the sector across the finishing line of its digital transformation,” says Thea Messel, General Partner in Unconventional Ventures.