Managing trucking fleets isn’t a walk in the park. According to a recent survey conducted by Littler Mendelson, 75% of employers say that their companies find it difficult to comply with the patchwork of state and local requirements. And while freight demand is stronger than ever — the American Trucking Association forecasted last year a 35.6% increase in shipment volumes by 2029 to 21.7 billion tons — there’s a driver shortage, with high turnover at least partially to blame.
Obaid Khan, Ryan Johns, and Shoaib Makani cofounded KeepTruckin in 2013 to address a few of those challenges, and they’ve had a good deal of success. In a little over five years, they’ve attracted tens of millions in venture capital from a bevy of investors, and they today announced the closure of a fresh financing round that catapults KeepTruckin to “unicorn” status.
The San Francisco startup raised $149 million in series D funding led by Greenoaks Capital, with participation from existing investors IVP, GV, Index Ventures, and Scale Venture Partners, bringing its total raised to $228 million following a $50 million series C last year. Makani said the fresh funds will be used to fuel the company’s continued growth through hiring, to invest in hardware and machine learning (specifically asset management tools), and to establish new partnerships. “Our mission is to connect the world’s trucks and fundamentally improve the safety and efficiency of the trucking industry. We believe that if you can model the past, you can predict and even shape the future,” he added. “Our platform unlocks the data that makes this vision possible.”
KeepTruckin offers a comprehensive toolkit that helps fleet managers and partners comply with rules and regulations, track shipments, ensure a baseline level of driver safety, and keep vehicles operating in tiptop shape.
Managers can dispatch information to drivers’ phones and match those drivers with loads, or dig into logs and see trucks’ routes in a calendar and map view, with entries denoting starts, stops, and breaks (along with durations for each). Drivers’ locations are tracked in real time with GPS in KeepTruckin’s dashboard and smartphone apps for Android and iOS, as is vehicle idling. (Admins can rank drivers by utilization and spot irregular or unsafe behavior like braking, speeding, and travel in or around restricted areas.) And for folks who require more granular tracking, KeepTruckin offers video monitoring via a dash cam and its bespoke hardware: a Bluetooth- and USB-enabled device that connects to 9-pin, 6-pin, OBD-II, Dual CAN, Mack, and Volvo ports and tracks vehicle data.
KeepTruckin claims its products identify over 95% of safety events and says that they comply with the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Electronic Logging Devices, which imposes certain performance and design standards and requires that commercial drivers prepare hours-of-service records of duty status. Furthermore, it says its automatic time log auditing and alerts features — features that support custom inspection forms and collate inspection history for maintenance and vehicle reports — help to maintain high compliance, safety, and accountability (CSA) scores under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rules.
That’s the tip of the iceberg. KeepTruckin can automate fuel purchases for vehicles, report per-jurisdiction fuel tax, and facilitate real-time driver-to-driver communication or fleet-wide broadcasts. (Its messaging feature supports text-based messages, images, documents, and more.) As for drivers, they get the forms required for each job and a built-in inspection checklist through the KeepTruckin app to which they can add photos and notes, and a tool that lets them upload receipts. KeepTruckin’s appliance, meanwhile, continuously monitors fault codes through its connection to onboard vehicle diagnostics and displays issues (along with actional descriptions) the minute they occur.
KeepTruckin says it has more than one million registered drivers and 250,000 connected trucks on its platform, pricing for which ranges from free to $30 per month billed annually. And it counts 50,000 for-hire carriers among its customers (up from 30,000 last year), including Harms Pacific Transport, WDC, BRT, Cascade, and IDI Distributors. Additionally, it says that the 25 integrations in its app marketplace are used by over 130,000 trucks.
As impressive as that growth might seem, however, KeepTruckin has no shortage of competition in the nearly $1 trillion trucking industry. Peloton raked in $60 million to improve truck platoon efficiency through automation, and on-demand freight delivery platform Ontruck secured $10 million. Convoy, which provides a platform that connects shippers with truckers, raised $62.5 million for a platform that connects shippers with truckers, while Convargo and CargoX nabbed $19 million and $20 million, respectively.
But investors like Greenoaks Capital founder and managing partner Neil Mehta believe there’s plenty of growth opportunity.
“Trucking … is the backbone of the global economy, yet has been underserved by technology. But change is coming and KeepTruckin is at the leading edge,” said Mehta. “KeepTruckin is building the technology that trucking companies need to compete in the modern economy. The network that KeepTruckin has built will enable it to change the way freight is moved on our roads.”
KeepTruckin has seven offices in addition to its San Francisco headquarters, across which hiring grew by two times in the past year. It now has over 500 employees.