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Nuvocargo Announces Acquisition of Oncarriage; Launches to Modernize Freight Forwarding Between U.S. and Mexico

| March 13, 2020

Acquisition of Oncarriage provided key licenses Nuvocargo needed; accelerated market entry by several years

Nuvocargo, the first digital freight forwarder and customs broker for U.S./Mexico trade, launched publicly after signing up and serving dozens of early customers, including some of the largest shippers moving cargo between the U.S. and Mexico.

Nuvocargo’s proprietary software helps shippers coordinate door-to-door transportation between US/Mexico including procuring trucks on both sides of the border, customs clearance, insurance, financing, reporting, and more. Nuvocargo’s goal is to become every shipper’s “one-stop shop” for all things related to U.S./Mexico cross-border trade, and eventually for US/Latin America. Nuvocargo is modernizing a multi-trillion dollar market that has traditionally relied primarily on paper, faxes and spreadsheets, and enables shippers to have one main point of contact for the entire international logistics process, rather than a dozen.

Run by a fully bi-lingual team located in New York and Mexico City, Nuvocargo has been growing revenues by 70 percent month over month since beginning operations in August 2019. “Our customers see us as an extension of their team and their supply chain. They can focus on their core business, and rely on Nuvocargo to take care of supply chain logistics,” said Deepak Chhugani, founder and CEO of Nuvocargo.

Nuvocargo has been able to dramatically reduce the administrative overhead that shippers incur in managing all these parties related to their cross-border freight – namely carriers, customs brokers and freight brokers. It greatly reduces complexities associated with regulations and language barriers across US and Mexico.

Nuvocargo’s swift launch was enabled in large part by the strategic acquisition of Oncarriage, a traditional freight forwarder and customs broker that already held key government licenses in USA that Nuvocargo required – including one that normally takes up to three years to obtain.

Chhugani had some personal experience and contacts in this area, as his family had run an international logistics business in Latin America. He knew that freight forwarding was in dire need of digitization. “This is a very complex process that requires expertise and a network across import/export, compliance, and transportation,” said Chhugani. “However, the industry is going through a digital transformation. We at Nuvocargo firmly believe that most workflows, tools and processes in freight forwarding can be dramatically improved, resulting in fewer errors, less human effort, and better service for shippers. That’s what we do.”

Nuvocargo’s early clients range from multi-billion dollar companies – leaders in construction, beverages and spirits – to fast-growing early-stage startups navigating the complex world of freight forwarding for the first time. One customer is Calidra Group, a producer of raw construction materials based out of Mexico.

“Exporting from Mexico to the U.S. is a confusing process, with a lot of regulations, security concerns and a dozen potential points of failure,” said Juan Sebastian Munoz, Director of Innovation at Calidra Group – one of the largest producers of lime in Latin America. “Traditional freight forwarders had archaic systems and were not at all transparent about the processes & costs, and we needed to deal with several different companies to get everything from Point A to Point B. Nuvocargo is the first freight forwarder with a single dashboard to track everything end to end, and a fully bi-lingual team that can coordinate every detail from start to finish on both sides of the border. It’s a huge improvement on the old way of doing things.”

Nuvocargo’s genesis is unusual: the company was originally founded as The Lobby, a NYC-based startup that helped job candidates connect with insiders at leading financial institutions, for career and hiring advice. The Lobby raised $1.2M, and attracted a lot of interest and a core group of very happy users, but growth was slow. Chhugani ultimately decided to radically pivot the company into a completely different area, and offered all of his original investors – including Y Combinator – their money back. Most investors chose to stay in, and many even increased their investments. This enabled Nuvocargo to acquire Oncarriage, a licensed US customs broker and freight forwarder, allowing the company to save years of regulatory hurdles to launch and begin serving shippers.

One investor who stayed in is Y Combinator. “We invest in founders first, and ideas second,” said Jared Friedman, partner at Y Combinator. “I was impressed with how Deepak handled his investors when he pivoted to this new idea of Nuvocargo. It showed me that this was a person with strong character and determination who was not afraid to make a bold move in order to succeed. He made a strong case for why Nuvocargo was a winning idea, and we’re excited to continue to back him.”

Category: Featured, General Update, News

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