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Driver clearinghouse Tenstreet acquired by Providence Equity Partners

Seating trucks remains a challenge

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Tenstreet, a leading provider of driver recruiting software and workflow solutions for the truckload industry, announced Monday morning that it was acquired by Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm. Spectrum Equity, which took a stake in Tenstreet in 2016, was a seller in the deal, although it retains a material equity position in Tenstreet.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Tenstreet would not report metrics like revenue or EBITDA. The company has 132 employees on LinkedIn. DC Advisory advised Tenstreet on the deal.

“Providence’s impressive track record of supporting the growth of technology-driven businesses, including in the transportation and HR compliance sectors, makes them the ideal partner for Tenstreet as we plan for our next stage of growth,” said Tim Crawford, Tenstreet co-founder and chief executive officer. “We are excited to work with them, along with our current investor, Spectrum, to promote the expansion of our platform and further enhance our solutions for customers.”

Providence Equity Partners has invested in transportation and logistics industry companies before, including 3PL providers GlobalTranz and Worldwide Express.

Tenstreet was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tenstreet’s software works as a universal clearinghouse for truck driver employment applications but also streamlines onboarding and the post-hire management of safety records for drivers. In November, Tenstreet acquired Stay Metrics, which performs industrial site-based surveys of truck drivers for the purposes of retention. 

Tenstreet’s truck driver recruiting clients include approximately 3,500 carriers, and even more participate in Tenstreet’s platform for driver verification, when new employers verify information with applicants’ previous employers. Crawford told FreightWaves that 93% of the applications that Tenstreet saw from experienced drivers were from drivers already on Tenstreet’s platform. 

Crawford spoke about the situation facing trucking carriers who are trying to seat their trucks and retain their drivers, without necessarily endorsing the idea of a systemic “driver shortage.”

“What’s the right noun used to describe the driver situation?” Crawford asked. “It’s really hard to fill orientation classes and keep trucks off the fence. There is an overlapping set of factors driving it. The structural aging of the driver force is really well documented; that’s absolutely true and we see it across the platform. There are also COVID-related effects in the market, and applications plunge every time a government stimulus is announced.”

Trucking employment levels were decimated by the bear market of 2019, when spot rates fell through the floor, and shippers pushed down contract rates in a market that combined slowing demand and a glut of trucking capacity. Since the second quarter of 2021, the trucking industry  has mounted an especially swift recovery in employment but has still not surpassed the 1.55 million employees working in trucking in July 2019, the previous high-water mark.

John Paul Hampstead

John Paul conducts research on multimodal freight markets and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. Prior to building a research team at FreightWaves, JP spent two years on the editorial side covering trucking markets, freight brokerage, and M&A.