monashees and Base10 led a US$5.3m seed investment in Nowports, a Mexican automated freight platform, with participation from investors including Y Combinator, Broadhaven, Soma Capital, Partech, Tekton, and Paul Buchheit.
(TechCrunch) Nowports, a developer of software and services to track freight shipments from ports to destinations across Latin America, has aims to become the regional answer to Flexport’s billion-dollar digital shipping business.
Almost 54 million containers are imported and exported from Latin America each year, and nearly half of them are either delayed or lost due to mismanagement.
Nowports is pitching shippers on its digital management software to keep track of each container, and has signed on a number of leading venture capital firms to fulfill its mission.
The Monterrey, Mexico-based company raised $5.3 million in its seed round of financing. The round was led by Base10 and Monashees, with participation from Y Combinator and additional investors like Broadhaven, Soma Capital, Partech, Tekton and Paul Buchheit.
“In Nowports we saw a very strong combination: well prepared and ambitious team using technology to help thousands of customers to improve their importing and exporting processes. By adding efficiency, reliability, and transparency to change a multi-billion dollar industry, Nowports has been able to attract many clients that saw significant improvements in their daily routines by using the solution” said Caio Bolognesi, general partner from Monashees, in a statement.
The company said it would use the money to expand into new markets, grow its team and integrate with more companies involved in the (very fragmented) Latin American logistics industry. It’s a market that needs a range of better logistics technologies.
“Even though over 90% of the world’s trade is carried by sea, the most cost-effective way to move goods en masse, there has yet to be a solution that’s able to connect suppliers, customs brokers, carriers and transportation companies to provide an efficient and reliable service,” said Maximiliano Casal, founder and chief executive of Nowports, in a statement. “This is why we launched Nowports, combining our 10 years of industry expertise to fill this void and are currently working with over 40 customers in the region and growing.”
The company now has offices in Chile and Uruguay, and is planning to expand to Brazil, Colombia and Peru.
With “platforms, algorithms with AI and integrations, our platform allows companies to take control of their shipments and plan and predict the best timing to move the freight based on the needs of their own company,” said Alfonso De Los Rios, founder and CTO of Nowports.
As the company looks to expand, it has a strategic road map it can follow in the growth of Flexport, the Silicon Valley startup that has become a billion-dollar business by applying technology to the outdated shipping industry.
The two co-founders of Nowports met at a program at Stanford University, with De Los Rios hailing from a family with deep ties to the shipping industry. He and Casal linked up and the two began plotting a way to make the deeply inefficient industry more modern and transparent. To familiarize himself with the market for which he’d be developing a technology, Casal worked in a freight forwarder in Kansas City that had been operating for more than 30 years.
In all, freight providers are getting paid nearly $40 billion per year to move freight into Latin America.
“Alfonso and Max are the ideal founders we look to invest in as they are industry experts and passionate about evolving the industry using technology and automation,” said Adeyemi Ajao, general partner from Base10. “We are proud to be investors in Nowports alongside our friends at Monashees and look forward to watching the company’s continued growth.”