Becoming a homeowner is one of the best experiences one can have, but purchasing a property comes with many decisions. Finding the right home to fit your lifestyle and budget in your preferred location can seem like mission impossible. Add to that the interchangeable terms for property types, and the confusion can become mind-numbing. We’ll focus on handling one of those issues and explain the difference between a townhouse and a condo. We’ll also briefly cover other types of properties so you can walk into a realtor’s office with the knowledge and confidence you need to find the perfect place to start your new life as a homeowner. Keep in mind, though - real estate is one of those niches where definitions can vary even in theory; in real life, the line where a condo ends and a townhouse begins is even more blurred. However, once you have the basics, you’ll be able to tell one from the other much easier. What Is a Condo? In the realtor playbook, a condominium is a style of joint ownership - as a new owner, you’d be purchasing a piece of a building, which would give you exclusive access to some of its areas. Having a condo means living in an apartment building, but you own the apartment instead of renting. You also share joint ownership of the whole building with other owners, including the gym, pool, grounds, or any other common areas the building has. This solution is typically cheaper than the others, but it can also be limiting for some people. Living in a condo makes you a part of a community, but where that will land on the list of pros and cons of buying a condo depends solely on you. What Is an Apartment? Now, you’ll often hear the word ‘apartment’ used interchangeably with ‘condo,’ which can lead to confusion. However, the term ‘apartment’ typically refers to the individual units that make up a specific style of building. These units are usually occupied by tenants based on a lease. In practice, an apartment building is owned by a person or business that rents the units to carefully screened tenants and oftentimes relies on property management software or a company on call. Even though this is the main difference between a condo and an apartment, it isn’t always the case, and there are exceptions to it, too. You usually can’t tell whether a building consists of apartments for rent or if it’s part of a condominium just by looking at it, as they’re built more-or-less the same. Some modern condos look more like multi-level townhouses, which only adds to the confusion. Luckily, this is where brokerages and real estate agents can help, as it takes them a quick look into their real estate CRM to find precise information about the property you might be interested in. As mentioned before, there are always exceptions, but the main difference in the condos vs. apartment struggle lies in who owns the units in a building - those living there or landlords. What Is a Townhouse? A townhouse is a type of building: To first-time homebuyers, it’s easiest to explain by saying, “think row houses.” A townhouse shares one or more walls with other townhouses, but the owners don’t have to worry about downstairs or upstairs neighbors. You’ll also likely get your own basement, front yard, or backyard with a townhouse. Townhouses come with the convenience of a condo and some of the flexibility of a single-family home. With this type of property, you get more privacy than with the former, as it’s very close to owning a single-family home. The critical difference between a condo and a townhouse is that townhouses are more expensive. On the other hand, they’re much more affordable when compared to the price of a single-family home. In other words, it’s a reasonable middle ground, which is why this option is so popular with new homeowners. Homeowners Association (HOA) It is essential to take a moment here to discuss the role the Homeowners Association (HOA) plays with these types of properties. When you purchase either a condo or townhouse, you’ll have to abide by HOA rules, but also cash out for HOA fees. HOA’s fees are typically higher in condos, as the HOA is responsible for most of the maintenance, which allows for a lock-and-leave mentality, where you don’t have to worry about repairs. This is another difference between a townhouse and a condo, as HOA fees for townhouses cover only a few services, such as water bills or lawn maintenance. Any repairs on a townhouse may be a bit expensive, and you might have to pay for them at a moment’s notice. Now, let’s quickly go over the remaining property types: Single-family and semi-detached homes. Single-Family Homes Single-family homes or fully detached, stand-alone properties are the dream of many wannabe homeowners, but these can be very expensive. Still, they come with much more space, privacy, and rights than the other options on this list. Semi-Detached Homes A semi-detached house shares some similarities with the townhome definition, except you get to share a single outer wall of your home with someone else, whereas with a townhouse, you usually share both. These houses are typically mirrored images of each other. So, Which Home Is Right for You? As usual, the answer is: It depends on you and, more specifically, your lifestyle. People who chose condos typically appreciate living with neighbors, sharing common areas, and take a lot of comfort from it. Not having to worry about maintenance in a condo is a nice bonus, even though it might mean paying a bit more in HOA fees each month. On the other side of the condo vs. townhouse debate are the people who appreciate their privacy more. They could also prefer the type of lifestyle that requires a backyard, for example, but cannot yet afford a single-family home. All in All Either way, both have their pros and cons, which you should carefully consider. However, you should now have a clearer picture of their differences, which will help you on your quest to own a place you can proudly call home!
People who aren’t familiar with the real estate terminology quickly get confused by all those titles, licenses, and requirements they come across once they decide to sell their property and find someone to help them with it. Although, in everyday speech, many of these terms, such as real estate agent vs. broker vs. Realtor, are used interchangeably, there are, in fact, differences among them, and each of these real estate professionals needs to have a different skill set. In short, the main difference between an agent and a broker lies in the fact that agents must work under a broker, while brokers may operate independently. Real estate agents take a commission of a successful sale, out of which a percentage goes to the broker they work for, while brokers take both a percentage from their agents and a commission from their sales. Finally, a Realtor is anyone belonging to the National Association of Realtors. Now, since this is a very broad explanation, let’s get into what each role entails in more detail. What Is a Real Estate Agent? The real estate agent is typically the person people rely on when deciding to buy or sell a property. Also known as real estate associates or salespeople, agents meet with clients, list properties, host open houses, and handle everything else in the process of finding a new home for their customers. It's also the title anyone looking to sell houses will likely have at the beginning of their real estate career. How Do You Become a Real Estate Agent? Each state has its own set of requirements for becoming a real estate agent, from age and education level to strict background checks. However, regardless of the state, the steps for obtaining a license are the same - if you want to become a real estate agent, by definition, you have to take a prelicensing course and pass the licensing exam. Once you get your license, you’ll have to activate it with the state’s real estate agency. After activating their license, agents can start searching for the right brokerage to work with. It's essential to choose the brokerage with fair commission splits an excellent lead generation set in place. Brokers achieve this by assigning this duty to one or more of their employees or by purchasing a subscription at one of the best lead generation companies. Once they have a brokerage and their leads, agents can go ahead and help their clients sell or buy their homes. What Does a Real Estate Agent Do? There are several roles agents can fulfill. Depending on whom they represent, agents can be listing agents, buyer’s agents, and rental agents. Each of these specialists has their own set of responsibilities to help their clients make a sale or purchase they’ll be satisfied with. A listing agent represents home sellers and is there to help them through every step of the process, including pricing and marketing the home, hosting open houses, negotiating with buyers, and navigating closing procedures. The closing procedure is where the difference between a real estate agent vs. a broker is most noticeable to clients. At this point, the brokerage will step in and handle the legalities, hold the money in escrow, and help with the paperwork needed to seal the deal. On the other side of the deal, there’s the buyer’s agent. Buyer’s agents are responsible for finding the right home for their clients, negotiating the offer, and troubleshooting potential problems. The third role a real estate agent can take on is the role of the rental agent. These agents usually help prospective tenants find and lease their new homes or commercial property. They can also help landlords who have trouble finding and screening prospective tenants on their own. What Is a Real Estate Broker? A broker is someone who has started as a real estate agent but has completed additional training and obtained a real estate broker’s license. This additional license allows brokers to work independently and hire real estate agents. How Do You Become a Broker? Just like with agent’s exams, each state has its requirements for becoming a broker. The courses typically go a bit more in-depth than the regular real estate agent’s, but they cover similar topics, such as contracts, taxes, and insurance. Within these courses, brokers also get familiar with the relevant laws and regulations and how to legally approach issues that may arise in construction, property management, and operating a real estate brokerage. What Does a Real Estate Broker Do? All brokers have the primary goal of finding new leads and clients. All parties in a brokerage are responsible for maintaining relationships with their leads/clients, either in person or with some help from real estate CRM software. Depending on their other duties, real estate brokers can be associate brokers, designated, and managing brokers. Associate brokers are those who have a license but are working under another broker. In this instance, an associate’s responsibilities are similar to an agent’s, as they typically don’t supervise agents - that’s the job for principal brokers, also known as designated brokers. Every real estate brokerage has a designated broker, and their job is to supervise agents and ensure that they are operating in accordance with the law. The third type of broker is the managing broker. Managing brokers oversee daily operations in a real estate company. They are responsible for handling transactions, hiring new agents and training them, and managing any other administrative staff employed at the office. What Is a Realtor? The last title that can be somewhat confusing is the title of Realtor. A Realtor, by definition, is anyone who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Both agents and brokers can be Realtors, but other real estate professionals, such as appraisers and property managers, can also become members. All members must strictly adhere to the NAR’s Code of Ethics.
If you have a detailed and signed lease with tenants who follow it to the t, you’ve hit the landlord jackpot. It’s not always that easy, however - many landlords have shaky relationships with their tenants and will often find themselves in situations where an unpleasant confrontation is unavoidable. A tenant’s lease ending can be very frustrating for a landowner. There will be those unicorn tenants whose lease landlords will be happy to renew. More often, however, “How long can a tenant stay after the lease expires?” is just one of those questions a landlord might ask themselves with a tenant lease near expiring. The best route is to contact your tenants even before the lease expires and discuss with them whether you would like to have them stay or figure out whether they’re planning on leaving. Starting the process early will give you the time to attract new tenants if your property becomes vacated. But if it’s already too late for that, here are the answers to some common questions that might be keeping you and other landlords up at night. What Happens When a Rental Lease Expires? As mentioned before, this typically depends on your relationship with the tenant. If they were a good renter, you might consider renewing their lease. Otherwise, you could continue to accept rent from them without a lease agreement, which would be viewed as a tenancy at will - something we will discuss further below. Finally, you can start the eviction process, but that can be troublesome and time-consuming, so avoid it whenever possible. Smart landlords typically set up a clause in the lease on what happens after it expires. It can stipulate that the lease is automatically renewed or switch the tenant to a month-to-month agreement. If no such agreement is established, tenants turn into “holdover tenants.” What Is a Holdover Tenant? By default, as soon as their lease expires, a tenant becomes a holdover tenant. However, this is far from optimal for landlords - you’ll want to avoid having holdover tenants and redefine their tenancy within some kind of agreement. Without a lease in place, there’s not much to protect either party if anything goes south. Ambiguous leases are also very unhelpful. Some tenants will try to pay rent even after the lease expires, and you should avoid accepting that before putting the terms in writing. If you do take the rent, you expose yourself to several risks down the road. People whose lease expired and are still paying rent fall into two categories: Tenancy at sufferance and tenancy at will. Tenancy At Will This category entails paying rent and living on a property without a lease but with the landlord’s approval. It is a tricky position to be in for both landlord and tenant, as, just like the name suggests, either party can change their mind at any time. Tenants can stop paying rent and vacate the premises, and the landlord can tell them to leave by serving them an eviction notice with no warning. This term is sometimes used interchangeably with a month-to-month lease, but renting month-to-month after the lease expires is still commonly regulated by some type of written agreement that states how long the state can last or the conditions under which the lease ends. Tenancy At Sufferance Tenancy at sufferance is a situation that often ends badly, as it means that the tenant pays rent and occupies the property against the landlord’s wishes. If you, as a landlord, don’t want the tenants to stay, but they are staying anyway, you shouldn’t accept rent, as it can complicate the situation if you are forced to start an eviction process. After all, you shouldn’t have to accept “forever” as the answer to the “How long can a tenant stay after the lease expires?” If your tenants remain on your property against your wishes, you should refuse to accept money or extend the lease, thus making the tenant a trespasser on your property. This will help you prove that you don’t want them there if the situation escalates. How can the situation escalate, you might wonder? The tenant might up and leave, leaving you with unpaid rent. While you can overcome this situation relatively easily by going to a small claims court or hiring a collection agency, there is a worse situation to be in - the one where the tenant refuses to leave after the lease expires. How To Get Tenants To Vacate The Property If a landlord doesn’t want the tenant to stay on the property any longer, there are two approaches to solving this issue. Offer Them Cash for Keys Before starting an eviction, which on average costs $3,500, to get your property accessible for rent again, you might want to try the good old cash-for-keys solution. It may not be legal in your state, and it requires some negotiating, but it is undoubtedly the cheapest option in terms of both time and money. You would be offering your tenants cash to move out, and if they accept, you will be able to rent out your property to someone else sooner than you would with another solution. If you are comfortable paying the tenant who stays after the lease expires to vacate the property, make sure to put the terms in writing and not pay up before your former tenants move all of their belongings. There have been many instances when personal belongings created problems for both tenants and landlords. Starting The Eviction Process While, as a landlord, you might be considering eviction first, we’re leaving it as a last resort. Each state has its laws on eviction, so it can be challenging to estimate whether eviction is the right step to take. Some state laws favor tenants, other landlords. It would be advisable to hire a lawyer, or at least inform yourself of the applicable eviction laws in your state. If your question is: “How long does it take to evict a holdover tenant?” the answer can range anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and it depends on the tenants’ rights. The first step is typically serving the tenants with an eviction notice, which they will hopefully abide by, and leave your property. If not, the landlord needs to promptly file an official complaint with their local rent court after the notice expires. After this, the eviction court hearing date will be set, and it would be best to have a lawyer accompany you there. Eviction after a lease expires can be very unpleasant, which is why the better-safe-than-sorry approach is crucial when choosing tenants. It is always recommended that landlords perform a detailed background check on their prospective renters beforehand. Writing a clear lease that leaves nothing to chance and ensuring that your tenants are familiar with the terms before they move in are keys to a happy landlord-tenant relationship. All In All To sum things up, as a landlord whose lease with the tenant is soon to expire, you certainly have many options. You can try renewing their lease in one form or another, offering cash for keys so that they will move out faster, or try to evict the lease-expired tenant who won't leave. The best way to handle any stressful situation with your tenants is to be proactive about things and prevent any unpleasantness. Screen your tenants, create a thorough lease that works for both parties, and approach any case involving your tenant with an open mind: Having an honest conversation with your tenant and finding a win-win solution together trumps any other option on this list.
Renting out property can be a great source of income, but it isn’t always smooth sailing for the landlord. Aside from rent collection and potential disputes over maintenance costs, there are a few other scenarios that can complicate the landlord-tenant relationship. One of these is guests overstaying their welcome. These are individuals who stay at a property for an extended period of time without the landlord’s explicit permission. That’s why it’s important to answer the fundamental question: when does a guest become a tenant? Everyone has friends that need a place to stay while they’re between jobs or family members that fall on hard times. But the lease should always reflect the presence of individuals who are living at your property for several months. After all, these long-term guests are a liability for both the tenant and the landlord. Keep reading to learn how to identify and deal with these situations. Guest vs. Tenant - Is There a Difference? Tenants typically have a lease or at least a verbal agreement with the landlord, which obliges them to pay rent and permits them to make maintenance requests. Guests don’t. A guest visits occasionally and doesn't have any financial or legal obligations. Depending on their agreement, tenants can welcome guests and allow them to stay over for a certain period of time without the landlord’s approval. The lines get blurry when the term “occupant” comes into play. While some see occupants as anyone staying the night, the main difference between a tenant and an occupant is that the latter might reside at a property, but the obligations of the lease still fall exclusively on the tenant. Occupants are most commonly children. You aren’t under any legal obligation to add them to the lease, and they cannot be treated as tenants. Whatsmore, everyone is clear about the fact that they are covered by the tenant’s rent. Guests, on the other hand, can overstay their welcome, especially if the costs of them living on the property start piling up. So whether you want your partner or an old college buddy to stay at your place for a while, it’s important to ask: how long can a tenant have a guest?. Here, it’s important to make a distinction between a few scenarios that may cause confusion. For instance, if a college student comes back home every winter/summer break but always returns to school when the vacation is over, he is just a guest. However, if someone moves in because they’re no longer in school, that person becomes a tenant. Also, anybody visiting their children or helping out with a newborn is a guest. That’s not the same thing as an elderly person moving in with relatives because they’re incapable of living on their own. How Many Days Can a Tenant Have a Guest Visiting in the Home? The answer to this question usually depends on the agreement between the landlord and the tenant. The rules should be outlined in the guest policy section of the lease. Most landlords don’t allow guests for more than 14 days during a six-month period. However, landlords can have stricter rules, and it’s within their right to put them in writing. And while most property owners will request permission to conduct a thorough screening of their tenants, this isn’t an option with guests due to existing legal constraints. That’s another reason why communication with the landlord is essential. Tenants who plan to host someone for a longer period of time should get prior approval from the landlord. How and When Does a Guest Become a Tenant? The most common way for a guest to become a tenant is by adding their name to the lease. However, in practice, the courts can recognize many different circumstances as proof that a guest is actually a tenant. For example, if a landlord accepts money or another kind of compensation from a guest for their stay, the guest automatically earns the rights of a tenant. Additionally, if someone enters into a verbal agreement with the tenant and is covering part of the rent, they can be considered tenants. In some states, any guest who stays for longer than two weeks is considered a tenant by default. Can a Landlord Prohibit Guests? Technically, landlords can’t prohibit their tenants from having guests over. However, they can add sections to the lease that cover the tenant’s rights concerning visitors. But there are a few other factors to consider. For example, federal occupancy laws tell the landlord how many people are allowed to stay in each bedroom, while zoning laws can even limit the type of relationships that those renting in certain areas can have. That said, most landlords don’t really care how many guests the tenant has as long as they don’t receive noise complaints from neighbors and there isn’t any illegal activity going on like drug use. If any of these guests are thinking about establishing residency in a home, the landlord needs to be notified, and the lease agreement needs to be updated. Talk to the Tenant Every situation is different, and the landlord needs to be open to the tenant’s side of the story. The guest can be a family member or a friend who needs a place to stay until they get back on their feet. It could be someone trying to escape an abusive relationship or a special somebody who wants to move things to the next level, but the tenant isn’t sure about adding such an occupant to a lease yet. After talking to the tenant, the landlord can do a number of things depending on the situation: Add the Guest to the Lease If the tenant is willing to allow the guest to stay on the property, then the best course of action would be to add the guest to the lease. It’s vital to integrate long-term guests into the agreement so that all those living in the property are liable for what happens there. The lease agreement protects all the parties. If the guest is having mail delivered to the tenant’s address, bringing in their furniture, or parking the car in the unit’s parking spot, it’s time to add them to the lease and increase the rent to cover an additional person living on the premises. This isn’t a violation of the tenants’ rights to have guests. It’s just a way of binding people living on the property to the terms of the lease. If the tenant shares the landlord’s concerns about their guest’s long-term stay, they may decide to take on the role of the landlord and evict the guest themselves. Of course, if the tenant doesn’t want to agree to any of the aforementioned options, he is effectively breaching the terms of his lease, which is grounds for eviction. Evicting the Tenant If tenants continually host occupants who are not on the lease and who aren’t covered under the terms of the original agreement, landlords have little option but to evict them. Landlords can serve their tenants with an eviction notice for breach of lease because of unauthorized guests, though this can be hard to prove in court. The best course of action is to serve the tenant with a notice of non-renewal, which tells them that you won’t be renewing the lease. If the tenant is paying rent on a monthly basis, you could have them out before the start of the new month. All in All Communication is usually the key. However, if the landlord and tenant can’t come to an agreement, the landlord should consult with a lawyer. Considering the fact that each state has its own laws on tenancy, legal advice may be necessary in order for the landlord to resolve the situation. In some cases, the best solution may be to come to a temporary house guest agreement that benefits all parties.
The Singapore-based Nium Pte became a rare fintech unicorn in the city-state after raising more than $200 million in a funding round led by California-based Riverwood Capital LLC. The payments startup serving businesses announced that its value exceeded $1 billion after a Series D round. In addition to Riverwood Capital LLC, other backers included Temasek Holdings Pte, Visa Inc., Rocket Capital, Vertex Ventures, and Beacon Venture Capital. Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte also joined the round. Prajit Nanu, Nium’s CEO and founder, said the company plans to use the funds to expand operations in the United States and Latin America before pursuing an initial public offering in the US in approximately 18 to 24 months. Nanu also added that Nium may even pursue a secondary listing in Singapore at a later date. Earlier this year, the startup bought London-based Ixaris and Wirecard Forex India Pvt. According to Nanu, it will remain on the lookout for additional acquisition opportunities in the UK, Indian, and Australian markets. Nium reaching unicorn status marks a true milestone in Singapore, an affluent island city with a population of about 5.7 million. Aiming to position itself as a fintech hub, Singapore is home to more than 1,000 fintech startups that mainly focus on providing payment, personal finance, investment, and business lending services. Founded in 2014, Nium now has a network of over 200 clients, including Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. and Thailand’s Kasikornbank Pcl, among more than 200 clients. Similar to Stripe Inc., which became the most valuable US startup in March 2021, Nium offers software solutions that make it easier to accept online payments. It also allows its clients to send money and issue physical and virtual credit cards. Nium processes $8 billion in payments annually and issued over 30 million virtual cards so far.
As organized crime continues to be a massive problem in the retail sector, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), a US trade organization, called on online marketplaces to make a greater effort to prevent thieves from using them as their virtual storefront. Lisa LaBruno, RILA’s senior executive vice president of retail operations and innovation, said that online marketplaces are the primary selling point for shoplifted items and that Amazon, eBay, and Facebook aren’t doing enough to end this trend. “We can’t arrest and prosecute ourselves out of this problem. The retailers are carrying their weight. They’re doing their level best to address this problem. Law enforcement is doing its best to address this problem. The other key stakeholder in this is the online marketplaces,” LaBruno added. According to her, shoplifters “hide behind their computer screen name with essential anonymity,” which results in a “very low-risk, high-reward crime for them.” In response, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We don't allow people to sell stolen goods, we require sellers to adhere to local laws, and we make certain to respond to requests from law enforcement about stolen goods on our platform.” Similarly, an Amazon spokesperson insisted that “Amazon is always innovating to improve and protect our customer experience. We have selling policies that all sellers agree to before selling on Amazon, and we take action against those that violate them and threaten our customer experience. Policy violations can result in cancellation of listings, removal of selling privileges, withholding of funds, and legal action, depending on its severity.” In a pandemic-stricken world, more consumers are shopping online and new digital marketplaces are popping up every day. Many credit card issuers are offering special incentives to card members who choose to shop online instead of swiping their plastic in brick-and-mortar stores. This in itself is a challenge for the physical retailer market, and the worrying rise in stolen good trafficking has only served to exacerbate the issue.
About 30 container ships have been anchored outside the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles every day, waiting in line just to deliver their goods. This backlog is a consequence of a global supply-chain mess brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic that will ultimately lead to consumers seeing delivery delays for weeks. While retail giants like Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc. rush to rebuild their inventories to meet US consumers’ increasing demand, it’s the small importers and order fulfillment companies who have to bear the brunt of the messed-up supply chains and fight over limited cargo space on container ships coming in from Asia. According to information provided by cargo owners and brokers, small business owners who don’t want to deal with delayed shipments must pay up to three times the standard freight charges. In addition to rising freight costs and shipping delays, American businesses now also have to deal with a shortage of available labor and increased product costs. All of the factors above weigh particularly heavily on small companies, which rarely have the resources to absorb price changes or the leverage to negotiate lower rates or pass along the higher costs to their customers. According to recent data, the average shipment price for a container traveling from China to California is now $6,043. This is up 43% since the start of 2021 and 344% compared to the rates from the beginning of 2020. The price for sending a box from Asia to Europe is $13,073, up 130% from the start of this year. Still, small importers from the United States say they are also facing the challenge of finding available ships and are paying much more to get goods on them once they do. According to shipping executives, increased freight costs came from several different disruptions across supply chains that triggered delays at different points of distribution networks, as manufacturers and retailers rushed to meet the market’s demand. Freight prices started going up at the end of the summer of 2020 as homebound consumers began ordering an outstanding amount of goods like furniture, electronics, and exercise equipment. Things only got worse after the Suez Canal blockade in Marchand the congestion at China’s Yantian port and the ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Forto has raised $240 million in an investment round led by Softbank and its Vision Fund, the freight-tech logistics startup announced on Monday, June 21. The five-year-old Berlin company organizing trade shipments between Europe and China plans on expanding its geographical footprint to secure market leadership. “With this investment, we are able to further accelerate our growth path and roadmap,” Michael Wax, CEO and co-founder of Forto, said in a press release. The investment round was led by Softbank’s Vision Fund 2, along with Citi Ventures, G Squared, Northzone, Inven Capital, Unbound, and Cherry Ventures. Forto’s valuation now stands at $1.2 billion. “Logistics is the backbone of global commerce, and data analytics, machine learning, and process automation will reshape the global delivery of goods and services,” Karol Niewiadomski, senior investor for SoftBank Investment Advisers, stated. "Forto's centralized platform leverages these technologies to boost operational efficiency, lower handling costs, and increase transparency for their customers. We're pleased to partner with Michael and his team as they continue to scale the business internationally." With this financial boost, Forto can develop highly transparent and sustainable digitized logistics. Its current client base counts some 2,500 companies, mainly mid-sized businesses; the company helps ship up to 10,000 containers per year by air, sea, and rail. Forto’s biggest clients include Home 24, German supermarket chain Edeka, Glencore, and ThyssenKrupp. Despite the market getting ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, the German startup tripled its profits last year and plans on expanding beyond Europe and China. Forto is not the only freight tech company Softbank has placed its bets on. The Japanese multinational conglomerate led the $1.7 billion investment round backing China’s Full Truck Alliance in November 2020, and the overall startup funding numbers around the world continue to break all records.