Trucker District looks to build a community of drivers

(Photo: Shutterstock)

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Startup wants to provide tools and resources for truck drivers to connect with each other

Trucker District, a FreightTech startup from Houston, Texas, is a company built by truckers for the trucking community. The idea behind Trucker District evolved during CEO Marcel Alvarado’s time working with Stevens Transport as a truck driver. During his year-long stint, Alvarado gained insights into the difficulties faced by drivers in the industry and potential problems arising due to the deeply fragmented trucking community.

“Trucker District is the very first mobile and web app that provides a comprehensive integration of the entire logistics and trucking industry,” claims COO Katrina Alvarado. “Our app also provides an effective social and communications network that also includes tools and support needed to improve life on the road radically.”

There are over 1 million companies and 8.7 million people working in the U.S. trucking industry. Even with such numbers on the workforce, the truckers’ fraternity is still facing a disconnect.

“We looked into our competition, and there are a lot of significant players out there looking to improve the industry. But I think the one thing that they haven’t figured out is how to bring the community together,” says Alvarado.

Much interest has been generated over Trucker District’s driver-centric social networking feature. The application connects drivers, companies, shippers, and service providers and helps them to interact and manage business and logistics more efficiently.

Trucker District is also looking to help companies improve driver retention.

“The main problem with trucking is the lack of transparency and communication once the driver leaves the training school and gets out on the road,” says Alvarado. “There are a lot of new drivers that aren’t expecting the job to be hard. Communication can be crude between the dispatcher, driver, and shipper. We need a transparent communication for drivers to feel supported and connected.”

To help ease this predicament, Trucker District integrates a career sensor within its platform that allows drivers to look for jobs, get support through social networking, and even ask fellow drivers for advice when on the road. Companies can use the feature to manage their drivers right from the hiring stage and to track them on the road.

“This tool would be great for smaller independent companies out there, who can’t afford to spend on the emotional well-being of their drivers,” says Alvarado. “When people can connect and communicate, it reduces loneliness and thereby improves the relationship between the drivers and their company. This greatly increases driver retention, since they feel secure at their jobs.”

Another feature on Trucker District’s platform is the real-time parking insights for truckers on the road. The drivers can plot their trip and choose to see truck stops, weigh scales, and hotels on their route. The startup is working towards partnering with designated truck stops to get them highlighted on the platform. When the stops opt for a monthly subscription with Trucker District, they get to communicate directly with incoming truckers and provide them with discounts and incentives to pull up at their stops.

Ever since the launch of its Beta product, the startup has been going strong, with over 1,000 downloads of the application and a retention rate of 80% week by week. Trucker District has also teamed up with freight industry influencers on YouTube and is looking to promote its product through their channels soon.

“There are several more avenues to market our product to grow the number of downloads,” says Alvarado. “But we need funding to be able to do that.”

The startup believes that being one amongst the trucker community provides it a strategic advantage over other companies in the trucking space.

“We want to give a face to the drivers,” says Alvarado. “This is something that has not been done before and [something] we believe we can since we are already a part of their community and understand their struggles really well.”

Between an application with largely positive reviews and a team that understands the plight of the drivers, the prospects look bright for the startup. Trucker District is now actively raising money, with a target of $1.5 million for its seed round funding.