George Abernathy describes a FreightWaves SONAR image. (Photo: FreightWaves staff)

George Abernathy is leaving FreightWaves to become president of Emerge. Following a $130 million fund-raise from 9Yards, Tiger Global and The Spruce House Partnership, Abernathy was chosen as the senior executive to lead the next generation of growth at Emerge. 

“While this means he will be departing as president of FreightWaves, we are honored for the time that he spent in a key leadership role with our company,” stated Craig Fuller, FreightWaves’ founder and CEO. “With his leadership, the company has become the third-fastest growing software company in the U.S. and Tennessee’s fastest-growing company overall.”

“FreightWaves’ impact on our industry is immense and impossible to overstate,” commented Abernathy. “Craig’s passionate and driven vision to build ‘the Bloomberg of Freight’ has been exceeded, and FreightWaves delivers the most impactful information and data in our space,”Abernathy said. “The team at FreightWaves is truly extraordinary, providing unique and unparalleled value, insight, research and commentary, and I thank every single one of them for making me extremely proud to have served as the first president of FreightWaves.”

FreightWaves’ Craig Fuller (left) and George Abernathy at TMSA 2018 (Photo: Deb Schroeder/TMSA)

Abernathy has been with FreightWaves since 2017 and developed one of the finest sales organizations in all of FreightTech. “His ability to navigate the various stages of growth, including pre-product, finding product market fit, and the growth stages has enabled the company to succeed throughout the journey and beyond,” commented Fuller. “FreightWaves has now achieved escape velocity and continues to grow exceptionally fast.” 

Fuller added, “George is a professional leader in every sense of the word and has coached the sales teams that he managed to succeed, even as he moves to another great growth adventure.” Fuller added, “George came to FreightWaves when the company had zero revenues and is leaving an organization that is on the path to achieve $25 million in revenues in 2021, up from $14 million in 2020, with over half of this revenue from SaaS.” The company is forecasting revenues to nearly double in 2022. FreightWaves was cash flow positive in the second quarter of 2021. 

Over the summer, FreightWaves received an investment from Triangle Peak Partners that valued the company at nearly $300 million, up from $100 million the year prior.  

“Working with George has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Not only has he been a great leader and coach for FreightWaves, he has been a mentor to me as I matured through the various stages of being a startup founder to the CEO of one of the most valuable freight tech companies in the industry,” Fuller added.

FreightWaves’ two businesses – media and SaaS – are both growing quickly and have scaled to a point where each is now a large company under the FreightWaves banner. Abernathy developed an infrastructure that will enable FreightWaves to continue its forward momentum. With his departure, FreightWaves is actively recruiting two executives for the next stage of growth, one for the software business and another for media. 

The new executives will join a very strong management bench at FreightWaves, with leadership from Spencer Piland, the CFO and COO, along with Kevin Martin, the company’s General Counsel, Daniel Pickett, the Chief Data Scientist Officer, and Travis Rhyan, the Chief Product Officer.

“Our pivot during the pandemic to being a primarily work from home company has allowed us to recruit top talent from across the country,” said Spencer Piland, CFO and COO. “The new C-suite leaders we recruit will join our deep ranks, allowing us to evolve into the next phase of growth at FreightWaves – one that continues our dual focus of being a content-supported SaaS platform with leading editorial insights for the industry and proprietary market data available to our customers.”  

Emerge and FreightWaves have long been partners. Emerge has been active at FreightWaves events and received its first institutional investor while participating in FreightWaves LIVE. Today, the companies have expanded their partnership to include SONAR market data and FreightWaves media. Abernathy has also served on the Emerge board of directors for the past year. 

“George will not only be a member of the FreightWaves alumni network, he will remain a material shareholder of FreightWaves through equity he earned as president,” Fuller said. ”He will work closely with us in his new executive role at Emerge, a disruptive freight tech innovator. We wish him the very best as he tackles the next challenge in his career.”

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