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TMS provider Princeton TMX acquired by Stephens Group

Transportation management system provider Princeton TMX announced Thursday that it had been wholly acquired by the Stephens Group, the family office based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2016 by Tim Minnich, Princeton TMX has its roots in TransWorks, a software subsidiary of Norfolk Southern, and the company has found a niche in managing truckload and railroad transportation operations for large industrial shippers. Princeton TMX counts many of the top players in steel, lumber and chemical production as its customers and says its software is especially useful in managing leased and owned assets in rail yards, ordering cars, monitoring delays and managing the truck legs of intermodal moves.

“We are thrilled to find a like-minded investor that shares our culture, believes in the value we

can deliver and adds the experience necessary to help us capitalize on the significant opportunity available in this market,” said Minnich.

Minnich is a 30-year veteran of subsidiaries of Norfolk Southern, where he built software solutions to connect NS to intermodal carriers beginning in 2001. When NS wanted out of software, Minnich bought the business from the railroad and refounded it as Princeton TMX. He realized that the functionality he had built for carriers could be leveraged by industrial shippers, less than 5% of which used transportation management systems. 

Minnich spent two years moving the platform from dedicated data centers to the Amazon Web Services cloud, splitting the development team into front end and back end, revamping the tech stack and creating a modern, intuitive customer experience. Today, transactions worth about $5 billion in annual freight spend flow through the platform, which has approximately 10,000 users.

Stephens Group emphasized that the deal was structured to help Princeton TMX unlock long-term, strategic growth. With no debt to pay down, and an infusion of capital to use for growth, the focus is on hiring, adding modes like ocean and barge, and scaling the sales team.

“What we brought to the table was a desire to grow the business for the long term,” said Ryan Morrow, principal at Stephens Group. “We want to focus on really growing the team, and we have a lot of job specs open. Our focus was on the 10-year plan for a best-in-class asset in the space.”

Princeton TMX is already growing rapidly. Minnich said that the firm had “secured double the business in 2022 versus what we had in 2021.” 

“We’ve found Stephens Group to be a great partner,” Minnich said, “one that was very interested in investing in our company, helping us continue to go down the path we’re on and accelerate growth and help us move at even a faster pace than we were able to move ourselves. After the closing of the deal, I can’t say enough good things about them; they’ve been fantastic to work with.”

One point of differentiation that Princeton TMX offers is its pricing, Minnich explained. The TMS uses transactional pricing with no fees for implementation, training, support or additional integrations with carriers and other partners, an unusual approach for a software company focused on enterprise industrial shippers that often have unique needs. Minnich said that Princeton TMX’s modular architecture allowed the cloud-based platform to be easily configured to the customer and in some cases to the individual user.