SmartHop secured a $4.5 million seed round to develop a tech-enabled dispatch tool to help small trucking companies grow their businesses.
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The startup’s platform enables customers to plan, search and book loads, Guillermo Garcia, co-founder and CEO, told Crunchbase News.
“Ninety percent of trucking companies are mom-and-pop businesses with fewer than six trucks,“ he added. “I started out myself as a small trucking company with two trucks.”
The seed round, SmartHop’s first venture funding, was led by Equal Ventures, with participation from Greycroft and Las Olas VC. Garcia said the investment will be used to build out the company’s team, particularly in engineering and marketing.
What you should know
Garcia, Joaquin Brillembourg and Miguel Sucre started the Miami-based startup two years ago, and the platform went live in February. Garcia’s background includes working in supply chain for Nestle in Venezuela before founding ALCARIN, a large integrated logistics company.
“Since 2018, we have really been testing the waters,” Garcia said. “Last year was about building the technology, talking to customers, and iterating our message. Then we went through Techstars in New York to understand our business model.”
SmartHop is creating a countrywide network of brokers—there are approximately 15,000—connecting truckers with guaranteed loads at above-market rates. The all-in-one tool offers digital booking, as well as load suggestions based on location, date, hours of service and preferred trip type. Company owners can see detailed performance reports that include recommended strategies for improvement.
Today, the company is growing. It started with 11 employees at the beginning of the year and now has 30. Garcia expects to grow to 60 employees by the end of the year.
What investors are saying
Rick Zullo, co-founder and partner at Equal Ventures, said in a written statement that SmartHop offers a tech-driven competitive advantage for smaller carriers. Will Szczerbiak, principal at Greycroft, said Garcia “has assembled the technology and team to reshape the trucking industry and empower thousands of truckers to operate with a new sophistication.”
Next steps for SmartHop
Garcia expects the company to continue its rapid growth. At the pace SmartHop is going, he estimates to hit year-end goals by the end of the summer.
Meanwhile, the company will continue to help small carriers with their back-office needs, such as insurance, fuel and finding profitable loads.
“Previously, the only resource was to research loads manually through multiple sites,” Garcia said. “We connect truckers with brokers, and by understanding the context of the drivers, we can recommend a good load at a good rate.”
Feature photo: courtesy of SmartHop
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias