Nowports logtech
Alfonso de los Rios (22 years) leads Nowports, a Mexican startup that simplify tasks for foreign trade companies. Photo: Courtesy

Mexico's Nowports taps $150 million from SoftBank to digitize port logistics in Latin America

Series C funds will be invested primarily to scale the operation in Brazil, considered the log tech's main market

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Nowports, a Mexican log tech that has built a solution to digitize the import and export logistics experience for Latin American companies, today announced a $150 million funding round. The Series C was led by SoftBank Latin America Fund and followed by Tiger Global, Monashees, Soma Capital, Broadhaven Ventures, Mouro Capital, Tencent, and Base10 Partners. According to Nowports, the startup reached unicorn status, with a valuation of $1.1 billion.

Founded in 2018 by Alfonso de los Ríos and Maximiliano Casal in Monterrey, Mexico, Nowports operates as a kind of freight digital agent, managing cargo transportation by ships and planes and making international trade processes in the region easier through artificial intelligence, big data, and IoT solutions.

Besides a platform that integrates data about the location and receipt of each container, the company also provides financing and insurance products. The startup gets paid by charging operating fees per container monitored.

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According to Los Ríos, Nowports’ purpose is to build a complete service platform to improve the supply chain, allowing all the import and export logistics to be done more predictively and assertively, avoiding the formation of silos and delays in the shipment, transport, and landing of containers. “The biggest challenge [of the logistics chain] is digitizing the entire experience to avoid silos. It is an industry that involves between 11 and 12 players for each transaction”, he said.

The Series C funds will be used to expand the operation and develop new logistics, finance, and insurance products. The idea is that Nowports’ platform will bring together in one place all the services needed by companies involved in the import and export chain.

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One of the log tech’s bets is to expand the credit offer for customers. According to Nowports, more than $100 million will be allocated to financing inventories in its new platform.

With offices in Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru and Brazil, where it landed just six months ago after announcing a $60 million Series B led by Tiger Global, Nowports considers Brazil its biggest potential market, since it holds the largest maritime trade in the region.

To scale the product in the major Latin American economy, Nowports plans to invest between $24 and $30 million in the country in the coming months, expand the team from 50 to 250 employees, and open a new office in the port city of Itajaí.

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“This investment reaffirms our commitment to transform the region’s supply chains with technology and fast access to financing for companies that import or export goods. We will make Nowports a key driver for all emerging economies around the world, not just Latin America,” said de Los Ríos.

The startup does not disclose absolute numbers of its operations, such as revenues and number of customers, but says it is in a fast pace of expansion, such as the opening of two new offices, in Concepción (Chile) and Medellín (Colombia), and the beginning of operations in Panama in the first quarter.