The pandemic and the current supply chain crisis are bringing fleet management to the forefront of consumer and investor concerns. When it comes to getting goods from point A to point B, it’s essential that companies keep their trucks moving efficiently, on time and on budget.
Well before 2020, Tony Summerville was thinking about the inefficiencies surrounding fleet management. He spent his summers working for his father’s electric supply and distribution company, where he learned about the stressors local businesses faced when trying to organize company vehicles. .
“I’ve learned that many companies struggle with tracking vehicle maintenance and service history, inspecting vehicles, understanding fuel expenses, total cost of ownership, etc. he told Hypepotamus. “I noticed that there really wasn’t a modern, affordable software solution for small businesses managing a fleet using cloud-based software and mobile devices. »
He took up the challenge and turned it into a startup with international scope and a brand that has become a cornerstone of the Birmingham, Alabama business community.
fleetio is a SaaS alternative that automates a company’s fleet maintenance work. Customers include delivery companies, construction and landscaping companies, and freight companies with multiple vehicles to track.
From Bootstrapping to Series B
Summerville and the Fleetio team have traveled an ever-changing road within fleet management and the broader automotive space.
“Tthere’s never a ‘right time’ to pitch,” Summerville told Hypepotamus. But following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, he decided to embark on entrepreneurship in 2011.
“After a few conversations with my wife, we agreed that I would try to get something off the ground for a year and then go back to my old life, if that didn’t work out,” he added.
The team started in its infancy and took some funding from angel investors to get through the first four years. In 2017, the team was in real growth mode. Revenues have skyrocketed 392.8% between 2017 and 2020.
Investors have followed this growth. Fleetio closed its $3.5 million Series A and $21 million Series B in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Much of this growth has come from abroad, as Fleetio now has customers in over 80 countries. But the team still has strong roots in Birmingham city centre. The startup recently renovated a 15,000 square foot office in the city to house its growing team of more than 200 employees.
“We are proud to be headquartered in Birmingham and to be part of the tech scene here. Birmingham is currently experiencing a renaissance and I see more opportunities for the city to grow and become a tech hub,” added Summerville. “They call it ‘Magic City’ for a reason.”
The future of the fleet
Fleet management is an important activity for startups and seasoned companies today. But it has particularly caught the attention of VCs and other institutional investors after the rise of pandemic-era supply chain issues. Surely there is a lot of innovation needed to help fleet managers deal with the “snowball effect” of labor shortages, supply chain issues, increased demand for online deliveries and soaring costs materials.
Since the start of 2020, well over 160 fleet management-focused startups globally have raised institutional funding rounds, according to available Crunchbase data.
“When I started my entrepreneurial journey, I had no idea how much things would change in such a short time,” Summerville told Hypepotamus. “With connected cars and self-driving vehicles, many people are thinking about the future of mobility and transportation, and how technology can drive things forward. We live in truly amazing times when it comes to fleet management. .