Technology-driven trucking company aifleet announced it has closed on a $14 million venture round to continue scaling its fleet and proprietary solutions that enhance driver utilization.
The round was led by Ibex Investors with participation from Obvious Ventures, Gerdau Next, Compound, Cooley and individual investor Tom Williams. The company has raised $35 million since 2021.
“Trucking is one the largest and most critical industries in the US. It is also notoriously inefficient. Aifleet’s game-changing technology boosts efficiency via the utilization of existing assets, greatly reducing the time drivers spend lugging around empty trailers and waiting for their next job. This means more money in the hands of our drivers. It also means significantly less emissions in the mobility sector, which we believe will be one of the last [sectors] to decarbonize,” said Jeff Peters, partner at Ibex Investors, in Wednesday’s announcement.
|Funding amount||$14 million|
|Funding round||Venture round (second raise)|
|Lead investor||Ibex Investors|
|Secondary investors||Obvious Ventures, Gerdau Next, Compound, Cooley and Tom Williams|
|Business goals for the round||Scale fleet and add product, engineering and operations teams|
|Total funding||$35 million|
Aifleet co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Marc El Khoury told FreightWaves that the company’s mission has always been focused on utilizing drivers and assets to the fullest while working to get drivers home every week.
“Can we show that technology solves a driver utilization problem? Could we show that 1,500 loaded miles a week is not what a driver can achieve but instead, what a trucking company has traditionally only been able to assign? … Now we are at the point where we have solved that problem for our 150 drivers and we are confident that our technology can get us 35% higher utilization while making sure that we send the driver home every single week,” he said.
In order to capitalize on the driver’s time, aifleet has built the ability to see a large pool of freight and then let its solution decide the route.
“We put all of this freight into our solution and ask it to draw routes that not only connect lane to lane and then back home but connect based on drivers’ schedules for delivery and the time for the next pickup. … There is no good lane or bad lane or good deadhead or bad deadhead. There is only a focus on what is a good route for the driver to maximize their profitability,” El Khoury said.
With technology being the soul of what aifleet is bringing to the table, one would question why the company wouldn’t remain a pure-play technology firm. Why own and manage the assets as well?
“We must master safety, insurance and compliance in order to be successful. It’s just so easy to build technology and say trucking companies just don’t know what they’re doing. And so people build technology that way and nobody knows how to utilize it. Who is that helping? We need to know how to operate better than anybody else. … People ask, ‘Is this strategy the best thing to do because it is so hard?’ And our response is, ‘If you want to make a change you have to go knee-deep,’ and that’s what we are doing,” he said.
The approach is working as aifleet says it has grown its revenue by 4x since its 2021 raise, even with soft market conditions for carriers across the board.
With its new capital, aifleet is looking to grow its product, engineering and operations teams to double its 150 truck fleet and to continue improving on what the future of trucking could look like.
“Imagine a world where pretty much every driver goes home every day, not because they’ve become a local driver but because technology allows them. The more we grow, the more we find synergies in our network for getting them home, including potentially swapping trailers. Plus, it’s already extremely hard today to optimize diesel trucks. Well, just imagine how hard it is going to be to optimize electric trucks that have different ranges, different weather patterns and different routes. … Those problems are what get us really excited,” said El Khoury.