Federico Vega, founder and CEO of Freight.com
Over the past few years, Argentine Federico Vega has gotten used to sitting face to face with managers from some of the largest venture capital funds in the world to negotiate investments. The last time he did this, in November last year, he secured an investment of US$ 200 million in Freight.com, the holding company that controls the operations of CargoX and Freightbras, becoming a unicorn, as companies worth over US$1 billion.
Over the next two years, however, Vega will switch seats at meeting tables. With R$ 300 million to acquire from startups, the entrepreneur will now wear the shirt of an investor and already has 20 companies on his radar. On target are technology companies that help digitize solutions for road freight transport.
“There is no rule. It may be that we only make an investment of R$ 300 million in a single company”, says Vega, in an interview with NeoFeed on the value of checks. The trend, however, is for several separate investments to be made in startups that work with software and services aimed at the logistics area. The first deals should be announced within the next six months.
The difference between Freight.com and managers is that logtech’s appetite is greater. Instead of minority stakes in the business, the intention is to acquire full control of the operations to incorporate the business into the operation of the logistics holding company, which processes more than R$100 billion in transactions per year and R$2.5 trillion in value of transported goods.
The money to invest comes from Freight.com itself, which is capitalized. Despite Vega being the main name in the business, who will coordinate the day-to-day of investments will be Marco Fabio Moura, an executive who has been at logtech since last year and has already commanded the area of mergers and acquisitions at Grupo Fleury.
Investing in new businesses in Brazil is almost a personal mission for Vega. When he arrived in the country, still in 2013, the entrepreneur says that he had difficulty raising the first contributions to CargoX. There was prejudice with the fact that he was Argentinian and wanted to work in a sector that was not very attractive in the eyes of international investors.
According to Vega, it was more difficult to raise the first $250,000 from the pre-seed round than the $200 million the company raised in November last year in a Series F round with investors such as Softbank, Tencent, Valor Capital. , Lightrock, among others. With the last capital injection, he created the Freight.com holding.
With the R$ 300 million, the idea is to invest in business in the area of road logistics. Despite being an essential market in Brazil, since the rail network accounts for less than 25% of cargo transport in the country, the sector does not open the eyes of US investors “which is where the money is”, according to Vega.
On the Freight.com side, the plan is to look for businesses that can help logtech to grow in the market. The company operates with a platform that connects truck drivers with transporters and has more than 700,000 registered and active truck drivers, which represents 47% of the truck fleet in Brazil.
Freight.com does not reveal billing data, but it is known that the CargoX operation had revenue close to R$500 million in 2018.
time to invest
The change of seat at the table comes at a time when startups are finding it more difficult to raise capital. At least as far as bigger checks are concerned. With term sheets more stringent, investors are more cautious when investing. “It’s over happy hour” says Vega. “Entrepreneurs need to get down and execute.”
According to Crunchbase data, in May of this year, the amount invested by venture capital in startups fell 14% compared to April and totaled US$ 39 billion worldwide – falling below US$ 40 billion for the first time in more than one year. year. For the sake of comparison, investments made in November last year registered a record US$ 70 billion.
The anchor has been investments in more advanced fundraising rounds. Contributions in late stage fell from an average of $36.2 billion in 2021 to $22.3 billion in May this year. Investments in seed rounds increased 11% to $3.1 billion in May.
As an example is Tiger Global, one of the largest global investors in technology companies. In the first six months of this year, the manager invested in 220 deals with US$ 18.4 billion. The number of investments is higher and the volume contributed was lower than last year, when Tiger Global disbursed US$ 29.2 billion in 145 operations.
In Brazil, data from the District show that Brazilian startups raised US$ 2.6 billion in the first five months of this year in 282 funding rounds. Last year, adding up the contributions made between January and the end of May, there were 349 deals which totaled US$ 3.2 billion.