#188: Sennder and Lessons in Building a Trucking Unicorn

#188: Sennder and Lessons in Building a Trucking Unicorn Featured Image

This podcast episode features an interview with David Nothacker, Co-founder and CEO of Sennder, the leading digital road freight forwarder in Europe. David shares insights into digitalizing the inefficient and fragmented trucking industry, key inflection points in his entrepreneurial journey, and overcoming challenges.

Our conversation also covers the future of trucking with autonomous and electric vehicles, sustainability initiatives, and the importance of talent attraction and retention. David also provides valuable perspectives on hiring top executives and investing time in people.

Listen to the full discussion here:

  • Stream by clicking here.
  • Download as an MP3 here.



Connect with the Guest:

David Nothacker is the co-founder and CEO of Sennder. David started his career at strategy consulting firm Roland Berger and co-founded ‘Smiling Box’ in 2014. During his MBA studies at INSEAD, David co-founded Sennder. Whilst pivoting the original business model, he was joined by Nicolaus Schefenacker and Julius Köhler, who he knew from Roland Berger. Since founding Sennder in 2015, the company has grown into Europe’s leading digital freight forwarder. Under David Nothacker’s leadership, over 12,500 connected trucks have completed over 500,000 FTL shipments throughout Europe. Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, Sennder has 1,000 employees across 11 European offices. To date, sennder has raised over $ 350m from leading investors.

David Nothacker holds a Bachelor in Economics & Management from the University of Bocconi, a Master’s degree in Management from London School of Economics (LSE) and International Management from ESADE Business School, as well as an MBA from INSEAD in France.


Questions I Asked:

  • One or two moments that made a difference in your career journey?
  • What are some defining moments in your experience with Sennder?
  • Any example of trucking companies that have embraced innovation and seen positive impacts?
  • How do you approach hiring, attracting, and retaining top talent in your company?
  • How do you feel about the importance of bringing the right people and developing talent for the success of a company?

Show notes:

  • [1:57] Could you share some inflection points or moments in time that really mattered to you? 
  • [7:37] How do you see electric vehicles and autonomous trucks evolving over the next months/years?
  • [13:32] What would you advise a trucking company with 5-20 trucks to do to prepare for the next couple years?
  • [15:29] Can you share any examples of smaller companies that have effectively embraced new technologies or strategies? How has this positively impacted their business or growth? Such examples could encourage others to follow suit.
  • [24:01] On the topic of talent and people, what are some of the principles you follow when it comes to hiring, attracting and retaining top talent?
  • [30:51] What one or two pieces of advice would you give to the younger generation out there, whether they are just starting their careers or thinking of setting up a company and disrupting the industry?

Quotes from the Episode:

About the Host:

What a great discussion I had with David Nothacker. I am your host, Radu Palamariu, Managing Director of Alcott Global for APAC and Europe, working on C-level and top management executive search assignments with Top Fortune 500 companies and local conglomerates in value chains for manufacturing, logistics, transportation, supply chain management, and e-commerce and also the co-author of “From Source to Sold – Stories of Leadership in Supply Chain”.

Alcott Global provides Executive Search Solutions for key positions at all pillars of the end-to-end value chain: planning, procurement, manufacturing, logistics, e-commerce, and overall supply chain operations.

In our Makers & Movers face-to-face events, we bring together value chain executives to connect, collaborate, and innovate – a forum focused on business value creation.

Yearly, we celebrate and award the Top 30 Leaders in Supply Chain for their achievements in digitizing operations, decarbonization, and sustainability, as well as in creating a diverse and equitable environment for supply chain teams to thrive and excel.

Related Episodes:

#185: Ditching the Self-Doubt Tax by Developing Authentic Confidence at Work

#186: Shaping a Greener Future for Chemical Supply Chains

#187: Surrounded by Idiots and How to Write a Bestseller




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