By Nancy Dahlberg
Octopi, the Miami-based software startup that built a terminal operating system to serve small and medium sized seaport container terminals, launched with its first customer just over three years ago. The company’s cloud-based TOS is now in use at 10 terminals in seven countries.
That’s a lot of early success, but expect much faster growth now.
Today, Navis, a California subsidiary of Helsinki-based Cargotec, announced that it has purchased Octopi. Cargotec , a publicly traded company on the Finish stock market, is a leading provider of solutions and services for the cargo industry and generated about $3.7 billion in sales in 2018. Navis is the market leader in terminal operating system sales. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Octopi’s entire team will be staying with the company and in Miami, where Octopi will continue leading the product for the new owners, said Octopi CEO Luc Castera.
Octopi was founded in 2015 by Castera (pictured) and Guille Carlos, who have more than 25 years of experience developing software. Miles Varghese joined the team to head up sales in 2017. The Octopi TOS solution helps seaport terminal operators manage operations, track cargo, and communicate electronically in real-time with commercial partners. “From inception, our focus has been on creating the most user friendly, intuitive, mobile-first TOS in the world,” said Castera.
In an interview, Castera explained that Navis sells terminal operating systems but Navis focuses on the big ports of the world. Octopi services the small and medium sized container terminals and mixed cargo terminals that cannot afford the bigger solution.
“There are a lot of those guys out there. Navis saw the same opportunity, and they knew they needed an agile, cloud-based solution to serve that market,” said Castera. “It’s a win-win situation. We are allowing them to tackle a market they were not able to tackle with their existing product line and they are going to help us scale.”
Benoit de la Tour, president of Navis, agreed: “Offering a cloud-based TOS that is intuitive and quick to implement will enable us to serve an entirely new segment of the terminal market. We’re proud to welcome Octopi and its customers to the Navis family.”
Castera said Octopi will be able to grow the team, now nine full-time employees. It will have marketing resources it never had as a startup and can draw support from Cargotec’s and Navis’ numerous offices worldwide. “That will allow us to provide better customer support 24/7 because ports never close.”
But a big benefit of the acquisition for Octopi is a very practical one, Castera said. “It’s a conservative industry, and many times in the sales process they would see a small company like us and they would have concerns about whether we will be around in the future. Now that we are backed by a billion-dollar company, that concern is alleviated.”
The largely bootstrapped Octopi won the eMerge Americas Startup Showcase early-stage competition in 2016, winning $50,000. That year it also participated in the Venture Hive accelerator class, and has been growing its revenues and customer base since.
“We are super excited on a personal level,” said Castera. “We think we will achieve great things within Cargotec-Navis. We love the fact that we have gotten a lot of support from the Miami tech community and we are happy that we have lived up to the expectations that a lot of people have put on us.”