Penske has a fleet of more than 50,000 vehicles, ten times the size of Fluid Truck’s current fleet.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images
A decade after ridesharing rose in popularity, a start-up based near Denver, Colorado is betting that there is an untapped market for those looking to share utility vehicles in a Penske and Ryder dominated market.
Fluid Truck, which launched in 2019, raised $ 63 million in its first external donation round.
“It is so difficult for most small and medium-sized businesses to rent trucks that they are forced to buy or lease vehicles,” said James Eberhard, Founder and CEO of Fluid Trucks. “Our platform allows them to quickly access and book a vehicle, as quickly as you can book an Uber. It allows them to bend up and down to really meet their every need.”
A truck can be seen outside the U-Haul facility as the city resumes Phase 4 of its reopening after restrictions were imposed in New York City on August 31, 2020 to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
John Lamparski | Getty Images
Fluid Truck is entering a niche market that has long been dominated by companies ranging from U-Haul to Ryder to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. All are companies that specialize in renting out vans or box trucks to consumers and small businesses. Eberhard believes the process is slow and cumbersome. Small business owners will be interested in an app and service to deliver a commercial vehicle at short notice.
“It takes a few minutes and you can do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.
Fluid Truck’s business plan makes sense on paper. The challenge is to attract business owners who have made up their minds for years to establish players like Penske Truck Rentals. Penske has a fleet of more than 50,000 vehicles, ten times the size of Fluid Truck’s current fleet.
As Fluid Truck wants to expand, it will capitalize on its relationship with IKEA. The furniture chain’s investment arm is one of several companies supporting Series A funding. In a statement announcing his company’s investment, Krister Mattson, Managing Director of Ingka Investments said, “This is another step in enabling IKEA Retail to offer our customers last mile delivery services, further enhancing our customer promise and at the same time to protect our environment. ” Footprint.”
While Eberhart could envision that Fluid Trucks could one day be part of a fleet of vehicles that could support IKEA customers, the focus right now is on expanding business operations to the current space of more than 25 stores.
“The complexity of running and managing a fleet is one of the biggest issues that most companies don’t want to deal with,” said Eberhart. “We can make it easy through our platform.”
CNBC’s Meghan Reeder contributed to this report