By Nancy Dahlberg
Miami tech startup SmartHop has raised $4.5 million to grow its platform that helps small trucking companies work smarter, not harder. The company has tripled its team since January and is still hiring.
SmartHop, founded by Guillermo Garcia, Juaquin Brillembourg and Miguel Sucre in 2017, has created a tech-enabled dispatch solution that helps owner-operators of small trucking companies grow their businesses. It’s a large market: Over 90% of trucking companies in the U.S. operate with fewer than six trucks.
SmartHop designed the platform to these small companies to improve efficiency by serving up easy digital load booking, end-to-end back-office support, and above-market rates per mile. The company’s AI-powered platform also tailors strategies based on a trucker’s habits and trends in the market to pair the trucker with loads that meet their preference – and result in more revenue.
“What we do is sell this business in a box that gives all the tools and resources that a small trucking company needs,” said Garcia, SmartHop’s CEO.
With the funding, SmartHop wants to continue building its team and developing the processes to scale its technology solution.
“It’s been a crazy ride but a very, very good one “, said Garcia, a native of Venezuela who ran a traditional trucking firm there that employed over 500 employees and after attending Columbia University he also started a trucking company in Miami before launching SmartHop. Due to all the inefficient manual process and the lack of buying power as a small trucker, “I suffered firsthand what thousands of truckers out there are suffering… I am excited to bring this to life to impact those hard workers.”
The company has raised a $4.5 million seed round led by Equal Ventures, a New York seed-stage venture fund, with participation from Greycroft and existing investor Las Olas VC. Fort Lauderdale-based Las Olas VC, an early-stage funder of B2B tech companies, was also a very early investor in SmartHop, having put in pre-seed money when it usually funds companies with more traction. “They saw something in us very early - they are usually Series A kind of guys," said Garcia. “We are super excited about those guys; they have been super helpful.” Altogether, SmartHop has raised about $5 million, he said.
A key milestone for SmartHop is a partnership with Miami-based Ryder. Garcia pitched at a LAB Miami Ventures Future of Logistics Summit a couple years ago and connected with Ryder there. Since then, SmartHop started a project with Ryder and today “we are dispatching Ryder trucks as we speak,” he said. “That is pretty exciting to see how the Miami ecosystem is growing.”
The startup’s team has grown from 11 in January to more than 30 currently – and expects to be at 60 by the end of the year, said Garcia, whose offices are in WeWork Brickell City Centre. SmartHop hired Uber Freight’s former head of marketing as its marketing chief and a former Uber Eats GM-Southeast as its general manager. Garcia is actively looking for a head of product and VP of engineering, among other more junior roles.
Pictured at top of post, left to right, SmartHop co-founders Joaquin Billembourg, Guillermo Garcia and Miguel Sucre.
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