Today, Next Coast Ventures is proud to announce that we invested in Minneapolis-based Navegate Logistics. This is an exciting moment for Next Coast: not only is it our first investment in Minneapolis – a hot Next Coast Market – but the investment hits on TWO of our focus macro trends, has an incredibly strong leadership team at the helm and a unique product that is well-positioned to disrupt a massive market. Essentially, it’s the exact type of investment we sought out when we started our firm.
So before we get into all the reasons why we love the logistics space, the new CEO Nathan Dey and the city of Minneapolis, we’ll explain what exactly Navegate does. Navegate is an integrated logistics platform that helps facilitate global supply chains through their software platform and global network of logistics experts. With a single, cloud-based platform, the technology manages every aspect of the freight logistics process – and this is a process ripe for technological improvements. The freight forwarding industry is a massive, $160B+ market – and it’s only growing (thank you booming eCommerce industry!). Right now, the freight forwarding industry is extremely fragmented: the largest industry participant only has 1.5% market share. So it’s a huge, growing market that requires global coordination and its current management tools are antiquated. Enter, Navegate!
Their proprietary software, numerous local branches for on-site support and understanding of the pain points of the freight forwarding industry makes them a true, full-stack business changing the future of work – both of which we are VERY excited about. They have been in business for 49 years, so they have the deep domain expertise in the freight industry, some of their clients have been with them for over a decade. With a large portion of of the logistics industry still in need of a technological overhaul, that means there is still incredible upside for customer acquisition both domestic and abroad. They have an extensive network of international offices, but are quarterbacking this excellent product from Minneapolis – a Next Coast Market! We have been eyeing Minneapolis for a while and think this innovation hub is only going to become larger and more innovative. We are very eager to be on the ground at headquarters working with Nathan and the Navegate team to help scale the business.
While this is a Core investment for Next Coast, it’s a little different for us as it is not a traditional venture round, but a search fund deal. At Next Coast, we are all about sourcing and supporting the best entrepreneurs in Next Coast Markets, and Nathan fits the bill – his search fund was waiting for a timely and uniquely-positioned company like Navegate, and they found the perfect fit. Nathan is the Managing Partner at Saltspring Capital and will be taking over as CEO and Chairman of Navegate, he has extensive experience in the worlds of investment banking and M&A and will bring a deep financial background to the business. His fresh perspective will be combined with the institutional knowledge of industry veterans like Chad Bickett, who will become COO, and Joe Pelletier who will stay on as President – both have 20+ years experience in logistics and supply chain management. We’re also excited about our first search fund deal because we get to join Operand Group and Relay Investments, a great group of syndicate partners focused solely on search funds that understand the entrepreneurial spirit and how to support it.
But, most importantly to us and our founding mission, this opportunity was a great fit for our “Built by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs” motto. We look to find the very best company builders in Next Coast Markets who are building disruptive business in huge marketplaces and try and help them in any way we can. The Navegate team has worked tirelessly to build a product that is revolutionizing the freight logistics space in a way that is in tune to the pain points of the industry, but innovative in how it solves them. Nathan is extremely passionate about Navegate’s mission, and his determination combined with a great product and industry veterans on the leadership team mean they’re poised for great things. We are proud to have been selected to partner with Nathan and the Navegate team for the next phase of their journey!