Sure, the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.
In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In has launched The Future 5 across 11 major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. Read our round-up of Atlanta’s rising startups from last quarter here.
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Finding a car carrier trailer or truck on the expressway is a fairly common sight, but seeing these trucks filled to capacity is a rarer occurrence. Typically, these trucks transport cars to various locations across the country, and Atlanta-based Carpool Logistics wants to make sure these trucks are full of cars that are headed in similar directions.
Serving dealerships, auto auctions, fleet companies and individuals, Carpool’s internal transportation management system allows multiple clients to share space on one truck. By bundling the shipping of these vehicles, Carpool helps businesses save money by making fewer shipments. It also lessens carbon emissions by ensuring fewer half-full trucks are on the road.
The solution also pays the carriers doing the heavy lifting within 48 hours after transporting a shipment, with no fees. This feature is particularly valuable for small automotive businesses that depend on a fast cash flow, according to Michael Malakhov, Carpool Logistics’ co-founder and CEO.
“Consumers are already buying cars online. Carvana only represents 1 percent of the market,” Malakhov told Built In. “There are 160,000 plus dealerships in the U.S. that also want to be able to sell to customers online or at the store. So creating the delivery solution is going to be more and more important for the entire ecosystem.”
Carpool offers businesses that ship cars with increased visibility, including tracking a vehicle’s shipment while it’s in transit. The company also facilitates omnichannel communications to keep clients updated via phone calls, emails or text messages. It’s currently in the midst of building a mobile app to provide drivers with the same level of visibility.
“One of the challenges in this space is it’s very unreliable — we never know when a vehicle’s going to be picked up, or when it’s going to be delivered,” Malakhov said. “We’re trying to really bring a lot of transparency into this space.”
With more than two decades within the supply chain space, Malakhov has worked in both freight and automotive logistics. He noticed that the freight logistics space was advancing with new tools and efficiencies much faster than its automotive counterpart, and decided to build a tech solution to optimize the auto logistics space.
“Our goal is to be one of the top players in automotive logistics, supporting car manufacturers, dealerships, the entire automotive ecosystem and ... consumers as well.”
Carpool was made to make the automotive supply chain more sustainable, especially amid current supply chain challenges. Over the course of the pandemic, supply chains were impacted by product shortages and increased consumer demand, something that is still taking place in the automotive sector.
“[At the start of] Covid, automotive manufacturers cut their demand for different products that go into manufacturing vehicles. … As that happened, their suppliers cut those orders,” Malakhov said. “But then they ran into similar challenges where consumer demand was going through the roof, yet they didn’t have enough supplies to produce vehicles.”
This trend of demand outpacing supply has lingered longer in the automotive space than it has across the rest of the supply chain industry, according to Malakhov. As a result, the prices of vehicles have largely increased in markets nationwide.
Carpool allows dealers and auctions to move their inventory wherever there is high demand. In the same vein, its marketplace lets consumers purchase vehicles anywhere in the U.S. and have them transported to their homes.
“Our goal is to be one of the top players in automotive logistics, supporting car manufacturers, dealerships, the entire automotive ecosystem and ... consumers as well,” Malakhov said.
Carpool has seen significant growth since its launch last May. The company’s team expanded from two to 20 people, including co-founders Eric Morris, Terrence Jackson and Joe Norton. What started as a venture that transported around two to three cars a month has since grown into a business that handles more than 1,800 transports each month, Malakhov said.