Colombian VC fund Odiseo made a US$125k investment in Liftit, a cargo transportation startup. This is Odiseo’s inaugural investment.
(Press Release) With Liftit, Odiseo backs the formalization of 3.000 cargo truck drivers in Colombia
● Liftit is a startup that uses technology to connect the demand for cargo transportation with the supply of drivers and vehicles available in the streets.
● This is Odiseo’s first investment, a fund created by Capitalia and Lift G&I to invest on high impact startups in Colombia.
● This deal impacts nearly 3.000 truck drivers that are already a part of Liftit and that can have access to a steady demand for their services in addition to all the benefits of formal employment.
Medellín – Odiseo formalized it’s investment in Liftit, a startup that uses technology to connect the demand for cargo transportation with the supply of drivers and vehicles available in the streets. It was created by a team of entrepreneurs with previous experience in successfully creating and funding startups and has a direct impact on a sector that has been historically informal in Colombia.
“I started looking at the market for cargo transportation and realized that there’s not that many players in that particular space of on demand cargo. There are many options for transporting people, food and small items but quite a few on demand cargo businesses. So with that initial idea, I launched a Facebook page from San Francisco with two business partners that were in Bogota, this was in october last year. As soon as we launched the page, we started to get requests right away for people needing a truck on demand”, says Brian York, cofounder of Liftit.
As soon as requests came in, York’s partners would run to the streets to recruit drivers. That’s how Liftit started back in 2016 and, according to his creator, the business has been growing strong ever since. Ten months later, they hit a million dollars in gross sales annualized revenue and now they’re in the middle of doubling that, so they should be able to make two million by the end of this year or early next. Today they are headquartered in Bogota with over 20 employees and connect hundreds of rides daily, from small pickups within the city limits to larger delivery services nationwide.
Driver’s happiness is at the core of the business
This significant potential for growth and expansion -Liftit is arriving in Mexico in 2018 and is already planning on opening new markets within Latin America- was one of the attributes that caugh Odiseo’s attention, but it certainly wasn’t the most important one.
“In addition to the profitability that we observe in Liftit, it’s about the social and economic impact that the startup is having in the community, especially in terms of employment formalization. Every driver in the platform has a formal employment relationship with the company offering transportation services and are guaranteed safe working conditions”, manifests Harold Calderón, managing director for Odiseo, and adds that, besides better working conditions, drivers have been able to increase their income thanks to the new demand connected through Liftit’s platform.
“Driver’s happiness is at the core of our business. We also train them in technology and the fact that our drivers like working with us has an exponential positive impact on our business”, explains York.
The USD 125.000 they received from Odiseo, which can potentially add up to USD 1,5 million in the next year, means that Liftit will have enough resources to strengthen its commercial and technological structure, as well as work capital to continue growing. But most importantly, the fund’s partners will bring to the table access to other potential investors as well as new costumers and deep knowledge onto Colombia’s regulation for the transportation sector.