Softbank-Backed Olist Buys Brazil Logistics Firm in Online Push

E-commerce firm Olist bought logistics startup PAX as the coronavirus pandemic spurs online sales in Latin America’s largest economy.

The company, which is backed by SoftBank Group, saw revenue double this year as Brazilians turned to e-commerce amid the virus-imposed restrictions. It plans to expand the range of services provided to merchants with the acquisition, for which it did not disclose a transaction value.

“PAX will help us handle the first mile for small merchants that don’t have enough volumes to find competitive shipping costs,” Chief Executive Officer and founder Tiago Dalvi told in an interview, adding the startup’s 65 employees will be fully integrated into Olist.

Dalvi said funding comes from the latest Series D round of 310 million reais ($61 million) led by SoftBank in late November. Born in Silicon Valley back in 2014, Olist has raised a total of $113.5 million in seven rounds, of which the Japanese conglomerate has led two.

The Curitiba-based e-commerce firm plans to widen PAX’s infrastructure by opening 30 new cross-docking hubs in different Brazilian cities next year, Dalvi said, from the five the startup currently has. At first, PAX’s services will only be available to merchants who already sell through Olist’s flagship online store and partner platforms, the CEO added, but the idea is to expand beyond this scope once the new hubs start operating.

“We do not rule out new financing rounds, though the focus now is to execute our strategy,” he said. Besides logistics, areas such as e-commerce tools, payment services and technology are also priorities. The e-commerce firm still aims to further boost its so-called Olist Shops, an app launched earlier this year that has already helped 80,000 sellers in 165 countries to set up their own online store.

As for the Olist flagship store, which currently gives 25,000 small-sized Brazilian merchants access to major marketplace platforms such MercadoLibre and Amazon.com, the goal is to launch it in other countries as of 2021, Dalvi said, citing Latin America as one of the main regions in the company’s radar.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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