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Bill Gates joins the roster of big names behind trucking startup Convoy

It’s part of a $60 million funding round.

BNP Paribas Open - Day 14 Clive Brunskill / Getty

Bill Gates is adding his heft to the trucking startup Convoy, injecting his cash into a company that is already winning interest from other A-list investors and potential acquirers.

Convoy said Tuesday that Gates and other backers would invest over $60 million into the company, which connects shippers and truckers on a mobile app. The cash serves as another sign of Convoy’s growing credibility in the industry, even as the Seattle-based company slowly fights to expand its network of trucks outside of its initial base in the Pacific Northwest.

Convoy declined to share its new valuation, but also claimed to be the first company to receive funding from Y Combinator, the prestigious startup incubator, that was not part of its program. The investment size from YC and Cascade Investment, Gates’ personal investment vehicle, in this Series B round are also undisclosed.

Dan Lewis, Convoy’s CEO, said in an interview that they had developed a rapport with Gates over the last year given their postings in Seattle. Gates joins another Seattle magnate, Jeff Bezos, in investing personal funds in Convoy — Bezos Expeditions was part of their Series A round in late 2015.

The relationship with Bezos has fueled some speculation that Convoy could be an attractive acquisition for Amazon, which relies on trucks to ship products nationally.

“We’re not looking for any acquisitions right now,” Lewis said, offering that they have a “good relationship” with the retail giant but swatting away questions about any looming purchase.

Convoy is also carefully monitoring any innovation in autonomous driving, though Lewis said Convoy has no plans to build out any of its own tech. And he said any self-driving automations that could boost its bottom line are still “quite a ways away.”

The breakthrough that more directly shapes their business? Truckers now have smartphones, allowing them to stitch together complex pick-up and delivery routes and price shipments planned on short notice.

“This is the technology shift that had to happen for truck brokering to go to the next level,” Lewis said.

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