M&A

Houston logistics SaaS company makes strategic acquisition

Houston-based Velostics has made an M&A move to integrate new software onto its platform. Photo by Tom Fisk from Pexels

A Houston company that has created software to automate logistics at terminals, plants, and warehouses has announced the acquisition of a California-based startup.

Houston-based Velostics Inc. has acquired Terusama, a logistics tech company with dock management and truck scheduling capabilities. The company's software solution that speeds up truck loading and unloading w2ill be rolled into Velostics's platform.

"We are enthusiastic about integrating Terusama's truck scheduling with Velostics' load automation and check-in solutions. The combined offering enables Velostics to create a new standard for inbound logistics automation," says Gaurav Khandelwal, CEO of Velostics, in a news release.

"We can now bring to market unmatched ROI on logistics automation, by providing visibility into future demand, reducing delays associated with load prep and staging, eliminating manual errors, improving throughput and reducing operating costs and detention at our customers' facilities," he continues.

The two software-as-a-service solutions aim to reduce delays and errors, improve ROI, and provide visibility into deliveries and future product demand.

"Appointment scheduling technology is a powerful lever to track, measure, and improve operations at facilities large and small. Being part of the Velostics family gives Terusama the opportunity to not only continue that mission, but also to accelerate and to serve larger markets," says Andrew Denta, CEO of Terusama. "I have full confidence that Velostics' unique capabilities, out-of-the-box integrations with carriers and solid support resources will further fuel the growth at Terusama and further reduce cost to the customer."

The details of the deal were not disclosed. Founded in San Francisco last year, Terusama has raised $150,000 from Y Combinator, according to Crunchbase, and has two employees.

Terusama's trucking software will be implemented into Velostics's services. Image via terusama.com

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Building Houston

 
 

Kelly Avant, investment associate at Houston-based Mercury Fund, shares how and why she made her way into the venture capital arena. Photo courtesy of Mercury

Kelly Avant didn't exactly pave a linear career path for herself. After majoring in gender studies, volunteering in the Peace Corps, and even attending law school — she identified a way to make a bigger impact: venture capital.

"VC is an awesome way to shape the future in a more positive way because you literally get to wire money to the most innovative thinkers, who are building solutions to the world’s problems," Avant tells InnovationMap.

Avant joined the Mercury Fund team last year as an MBA associate before joining full time as investment associate. Now, after completing her MBA from Rice University this month, Avant tells InnovationMap why she's excited about this new career in investment in a Q&A.

InnovationMap: From law school and the peace corps, what drew you to start a career in the VC world?

Kelly Avant: I graduated from Rice University with an MBA, starting scouting for an investment firm in my first year, and by the summer after my first year I was essentially working full-time interning with Mercury. But, I like to tell people about my undergraduate degree in gender studies and rhetoric from a little ski college in Colorado. If you meet someone else in venture capital with a degree in gender studies, please connect us, but I think I might be the only one. I’ll spare you what I used to think — and say — about business students, but I have really come full circle.

I always thought I would work in a nonprofit space, but after serving in Cambodia with the Peace Corps, working for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and briefly attending Emory Law School with the intention of becoming a civil rights lawyer.I found that time and time again the root of the problem was a lack of resources. The world’s problems were not going to be solved with my idealism alone.

The problem with operating as a nonprofit in a capitalism is you basically always pandering to the interests of the donors. The NFL was a key sponsor of The National Domestic Violence Hotline. The United States has a complicated, to put it lightly, relationship with Cambodia and Vietnam. It became pretty clear that the donor/nonprofit relationship was oftentimes putting the wrong party in the driver’s seat. I was, and still am, very interested in alternative financing for nonprofits. I became convinced that the most exciting businesses were building solutions to the world’s problems while also turning a profit, which allows them to survive to have a sustainable positive impact.

VC is an awesome way to shape the future in a more positive way because you literally get to wire money to the most innovative thinkers, who are building solutions to the world’s problems.

IM: What are some companies you’re excited about?

KA: There are a couple super interesting founders I’ve met directly engaging with . To name a few: CiviTech, DonateStock, and Polco.

I’m very proud to work on mercury investments like Houston’s own, Topl, which has built an extremely lightweight and energy efficient Blockchain that enables tracking of ethical supply chains from the initial interaction.
I’m also excited about mercury’s investment in Zirtue, which enables relationship based peer to peer lending to solve the massive problem of predatory payday loans.

We have so many awesome founders in our portfolio. The best part about working in VC is meeting passionate innovators every day. I get excited to go to work everyday and help them to build better solutions.

IM: Why are you so passionate about bringing diversity and inclusion into Mercury?

KA: I love working with exciting, highly capable, super smart people. That category includes so many people who have been historically excluded. As an investment team member at Mercury, I do have a voice, and I have an obligation to use that voice to speak highly of the best people in rooms of influence.

IM: With your new role, what are you most focused on?

KA: In my new role, I am identifying and researching high potential investments. We’re building out a Mercury educational series to lift the veil of VC. We want to facilitate a series that gives all founders the basic skills to pass VC due diligence and have the opportunity to build the next innovative companies. My goal is ultimately to produce the best returns possible for our investors, and we can’t accomplish that goal unless we’re building out resources to meet the best founders and help them grow.

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This conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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