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Picap Accelerates Journey From Startup to Million-dollar Company with MongoDB


Travel – transportation – logistics


MongoDB Atlas
Atlas Device SDK
Time Series Collections





Streamlining transportation and logistics across Latin America

Ride-hailing and logistics are two industries that can’t afford delays — with the meter ticking, time is quite literally money. With MongoDB Atlas, delays are something that Picap and Pibox customers don’t have to worry about. The platform powers the fast, user-friendly app that gets customers and packages where they need to be as quickly as possible.

Founded in 2016 as a ride-hailing platform, Picap operates across Mexico, Brazil, Peru, and Colombia. And because the company is highly attuned to what customers want, it knows exactly how to serve the different needs of each market. In some regions, it’s known as the “Uber of motorcycles,” helping customers avoid traffic by riding on the back of a motorbike. In other areas, it offers vehicles for hire with a driver.

In 2020, the company launched a second line of business — Pibox, a cost-effective delivery service. Both services are powered by the same app and share a similar business model. Launching Pibox helped the company stay profitable during the pandemic, and by 2021, Picap was delivering around 400,000 packages per month.

While Pibox couriers initially handled last-mile delivery — taking packages from distribution hubs to the customer’s home — the company has expanded across the logistics chain, and now offers warehouse-as-a-service in Colombia, with plans to expand across Latin America. This makes end-to-end warehouse services available to customers on a flexible payment plan. It’s scalable, affordable, and helps to address vulnerabilities in the supply chain.

“MongoDB is a partner and ally for us. Atlas enabled us to grow significantly from a startup and today, our platform is entirely based on MongoDB,” says Edixon Hernández, Operations Lead at Picap.

“MongoDB is a partner and ally for us. Atlas enabled us to grow significantly from a startup and today, our platform is entirely based on MongoDB.”

Edixon Hernández, Operations Lead, Picap


Finding the right database for a scalable, mobile-first environment

Picap is a big believer in innovation and does a lot of development in-house. In an industry where manual processes are common, it designed software to digitalize 90% of the processes behind transport and logistics. But backend processes are only part of the story. Picap wanted the app it built for drivers and customers to be easy to use and designed around the needs of real people.

“People are at the heart of everything we do. Our platforms need to be scalable, highly available, and easy to use so we can help more drivers to earn on the road,” explains Andrés Murcia, Chief Technology Officer at Picap. “Working for us is the only source of income for some drivers, but others fit it in around their studies or other jobs. Our app was designed with the flexibility to cater to both groups.”

Picap’s multi-cloud environment spans AWS and Google Cloud, and it needs any technology it works with to be optimized for mobile.

In 2016, when evaluating available databases, Picap struggled to find a SQL database with the flexibility and scalability it needed. The solution Picap was looking for also needed fast response times and to be able to support the Ruby programming language and Google’s Flutter apps.

“The impact of choosing the wrong database solution would have been huge. Without high levels of performance and scalability, we wouldn’t be able to give customers and drivers the high-performing app they rely on,” says Murcia. “That would have led to a dip in service quality and bad reviews from customers that could potentially slow down company growth. In a competitive industry, it’s not a risk we could take.”


Taking a platform approach to support growth and agility

Picap implemented MongoDB Atlas as the transactional data store for its main platform, which supports business services and operations. Critical services rely on the biggest cluster, which stores transactional data for Pibox, while location data, metadata, driver working logs, and geolocation data is spread across other clusters.

“This setup enables us to achieve optimal efficiency around handling and processing data,” says Murcia. “The transactionality, speed, and reliability of MongoDB Atlas improves business processes and operations.”

Additionally, the introduction of MongoDB Time Series Collections has revolutionized the way the company has managed its extensive logistics data, such as drivers’ working hours. “The specialized columnar storage format and efficient data-handling capabilities allow us to process high volumes of time-stamped data with unprecedented speed and accuracy. This has not only streamlined our operations but also enabled us to extract valuable insights in real-time, helping us to continually optimize our services and customer experience," adds Murcia.

The company’s mobile app is optimized for multiple cloud environments, including AWS and Google Cloud. MongoDB Atlas is compatible with multi-cloud and handles data synchronization and real-time updates, which are vital for drivers. Features such as geolocation tracking and transaction processing are also made more efficient thanks to the platform’s robust data-handling capabilities. Overall, this makes life much easier for drivers and enhances the app’s user experience.

As the business matured and diversified, Picap implemented more of the MongoDB platform, including local persistence on-device with Atlas Device SDKs. The solutions are used alongside Ruby and Flutter to improve the developer experience and give them the agility, scalability, and responsiveness they require to build new features quickly.

“MongoDB is a pillar of our business. All transactions run on MongoDB, and it’s essential to managing both lines of business efficiently,” notes Hernández.

Picap also receives support from the team at MongoDB, including technical assistance, education around best practices, and guidance on how to optimize services. “The support from MongoDB helps us resolve issues quickly and maintain high levels of operational efficiency. That’s crucial to keeping our platform reliable and high performing,” adds Murcia.

“The support from MongoDB helps us resolve issues quickly and maintain high levels of operational efficiency. That’s crucial to keeping our platform reliable and high performing.”

Andrés Murcia, CTO, Picap


A leader in transport and logistics

With MongoDB underpinning its business, Picap can focus on innovation rather than maintenance and logistics. This gives it a competitive advantage in the sector. Working with MongoDB also means that Picap’s app is faster and more reliable, leading to improved customer and driver experiences.

Since going live, the company has seen significant performance improvements, including greater scalability and faster response times. Latency has decreased by between 60-70%, and the solution has enhanced data processing. In addition, “the seamless integration of Time Series Collections into our existing MongoDB architecture means we can now effortlessly handle vast amounts of time-series data. This capability allows us to maintain high-performance levels even as we continue to expand our services across Latin America, catering to an ever-growing customer base,” says Hernández.

This has freed up more time for the company to focus on its corporate social responsibilities. Picap has an unwavering commitment to being a force for good in the local community and taking care of staff and their families during difficult times.

“The efficiency of MongoDB Atlas means we can devote more resources to social causes and supporting our drivers. By streamlining operations, we can also allocate more funds to charitable foundations, which impacts more than 100,000 families in Colombia,” concludes Murcia.

Learn more about MongoDB Atlas, the multi-cloud developer data platform.

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