Saturday, June 15, 2024

Mexican ‘unicorn’ freight forwarder startup opens office in the US

Nowports, an automated digital freight forwarder based in Monterrey, has opened its first branch in the United States. 

Founded in 2018 by Mexican Alfonso de los Ríos and Uruguayan Maximiliano Casal, the company has arrived in Miami, Florida, looking to expand in North America before making the jump to Europe, Players of Life magazine reported.

“Miami is the Latin American hub. It was a no-brainer for us to open an office in Miami in order to support our customer base,” said Alan Bebchik, country manager of the new Nowports headquarters in the United States. He added that the growth in shipping to the US East Coast – and the port of Miami specifically – also made the city an attractive place for their branch.

Nowports company board of directors at Mastercard Gala Endeavor
Nowports board of directors at the Mastercard Gala Endeavor in December, where they won Entrepreneurs of the Year. (Photo: courtesy)

Nowports got its first big boost in 2018 when it was accepted into Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley accelerator, where they secured an investment of US $5.3 million dollars. Later in 2019, Nowports closed a $150 million Series C round with investors that included SoftBank, Tiger Global, Foundation Capitall and Monashees. In 2022, it officially became a “unicorn” when it announced its valuation had climbed to US $1.1 billion after an investment round led by SoftBank’s Latin America Fund.

The company, which currently operates in seven countries in Latin America (Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, Brazil and Panama), set up shop in Wynwood and 12 of its 950 employees are based there with plans to double its local headcount by May, reported Refresh Miami.

“We believe that transforming the supply chain in emerging markets can boost their economic growth,” said Alfonso de los Ríos, Nowports’ 23-year-old co-founder and CEO. “The opening of our office in Miami is a step in that direction. We are going to see a more intertwined commercial relationship between the US and Latin America in the next few years. Digitization of supply chains will be a crucial aspect of this new era.”

Nowports has also developed Nowports Capital, a fintech company that provides inventory credit solutions and an internal insurance company for their freight forwarding customers.

The company has received several recognitions, named as one of the 10 most innovative companies in Latin America in 2022 and the founders as “Entrepreneurs of the Year” by Endeavor México.

With reports from Players of Life and Refresh Miami

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