Technology-enabled trucking company AI Fleet announced Monday it has closed on a $21 million series A round led by Obvious Ventures with participation from Compound, Ibex Investors and angel investor Tom Williams.
Marc El Khoury, co-founder and CEO of AI Fleet, told FreightWaves the company’s goal is to build a trucking company highly focused on implementing technology to fix the major problems that drivers have with the job today.
“I worked with trucking companies in the U.S. and Europe and continued to see the same issues with driver turnover,” he said. “Drivers are leaving because they are underpaid and many of them are underpaid because we don’t give them enough miles. … We truly believed that technology could make an impact on this and by building a trucking company from scratch, we could show a higher utilization of driver’s time could solve these problems.”
|Funding details||AI Fleet|
|Funding amount||$21 million|
|Funding round||Series A|
|Lead investor||Obvious Ventures|
|Secondary investors||Compound, Ibex Investors and Tom Williams|
|Business goals for the round||Expand fleet and grow technology capabilities|
|Total funding||$21 million|
As El Khoury and his team built the company, they focused on automating as much as they could, including a number of back-office operations and what El Khoury found most important: order acceptance and planning.
“Our technology is picking loads for drivers based on what is best for the driver and what will generate the most revenue on the truck, which in turn, generates the highest potential salary for our drivers,” he said. “That is really why we are completely obsessed with our revenue per truck per week and miles per week metrics. That is where we believe the driver shortage that everyone is talking about comes from. If every driver on the road today could drive an extra 30 minutes a day, there would be a surplus of drivers.”
El Khoury said AI Fleet is finding time for drivers by diminishing their dwell time.
While many companies are focused on ending dwell time at the shippers and receivers, AI Fleet believes a lot of the dwell time that is easy to fix comes from drivers waiting to receive their next load or waiting for appointments due to poor scheduling, explained El Khoury.
“If you go to a truckstop today and ask the drivers why they are sitting there, a majority of them will tell you it’s because they are waiting for their next load. We have completely eliminated that at AI Fleet. Every driver knows their next load before they even deliver their previous load,” said El Khoury.
According to the company, this technology-centric approach has enabled its average drivers to earn six-figure salaries because of the added miles and efficiencies included in the driver’s day. The company also provides its drivers with health care, paid time off and free parking, which is easy for drivers to find with their applications.
“We pay well and we even guarantee home time and a safe place to park every single night,” said El Khoury. “This is why 60% of our drivers are referred to us and why 30% of our fleet today is women.”
With its new capital and investor relationships, AI Fleet plans to continue growing its fleet and improving its technology to build on the efficiencies it has already achieved for its drivers.
“We know our technology today is probably the best out there and we have also identified many areas where it can get dramatically better. Our goal with this investment is to continue obsessing with the most important metrics, asset utilization and driver utilization, while focusing a lot on the next phase in automating a few back-office activities to operate as lean as possible,” said El Khoury.
“The biggest challenge facing trucking today is efficiency, specifically asset utilization. AI Fleet’s technology ensures the highest utilization of trucking assets while enabling drivers to get paid more for less time on the road,” said Nan Li, managing director at Obvious Ventures. “Marc and the team are building a scalable, driver-centered trucking company that has potential to transform the industry as we know it.”