Ryder System, Inc. recently invested in a locally based solution for truckers.
Through its corporate venture capital fund RyderVentures, along with Union Square Ventures, Ryder invested in Miami-based SmartHop, which received a $12 million Series A financing round. Other investors included Equal Ventures and Greycroft. The funding complements SmartHop’s initial $4.5 million seed round, bringing its total funding to $16.5 million. Union Square Ventures was the lead investor.
The dispatching platform that helps companies “truck smarter no harder” is helping companies at a time when “smaller trucking businesses [with six or fewer trucks] have been strained due to ongoing driver shortages and tighter capacities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said in a press release.
“The past year was an especially challenging one for small and independent truckers, essential parts of the country’s economy who already were facing significant challenges in competing against large carriers and high rates. We created SmartHop to help these businesses thrive, and the need for our platform is stronger than ever today,” said Guillermo Garcia, co-founder and CEO of SmartHop. “This fundraising round will enable us to continue growing our network and enhance our product and team to meet the urgent and evolving needs of small owner-operators so they can retain the control and freedom that brought them to the trucking market.”
SmartHop’s AI-powered load network helps smaller owner-operators through 24/7 support, fuel and insurance savings and a “copilot” program that “helps plan better routes that yield more profit and higher-paying loads.” It also offers truckers solutions through partnerships with the likes of Loadsmart, Redwood Logistics and Parade. Through its Ryder partnership, SmarHop also helps truckers with lease rates and maintenance costs. Through these efforts, SmartHop’s customers see an “increase in take-home pay over 48% as a result of a more competitive cost structure.” It was founded by Venezuelan native Guillermo Garcia who owned a 500-person trucking company in the South American country and launched SmartHop in 2018.
“Ryder established a corporate venture capital fund late last year to identify new technologies and companies addressing pain points in the industry and to help bring their solutions to market quickly. We’ve kept a close eye on SmartHop since its founding and have been impressed by both their technology and their approach to addressing the challenges of fleets,” said Karen Jones, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of new product innovation at Ryder in the press release. “As the first investment through RyderVentures, we are firm believers in Guillermo’s vision for SmartHop and are eager to both invest and collaborate to bring Ryder’s 90 years of experience in logistics to support the SmartHop team’s success.”