Because the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing health authorities to push us all to stay at home, truckers are doing the opposite to help us live our lives internally. More than ever, parcel delivery and in-store grocery shelves are a luxury we rely on – and the trucking industry is working hard to keep it going.
To optimize this industry, TrueNorth in San Francisco has developed a platform that independent truckers can use to better manage how they do business. The company offers truckers software that allows them to optimize all moving parts that are delivered with a delivery, from the routes to the time they spend on invoicing.
TrueNorth, The company raised $ 600,000 from investors such as Jack Altman, Parker Conrad and Peter Fishman during the YC .raised $ 3 million from a group of investors, including Sam Altman, CEO of, at a valuation of $ 15 million OpenAI, the former president of YC, and Kevin Lin, the co-founder of Twitch.
TrueNorth was co-founded by Jin Stedge and Sanjaya Wijeratne and wants to help independent truckers solve various problems related to running their own businesses, such as finding good routes and consistent, well-paid jobs. Another focus is the optimization of the trucker papers and billing.
Truenorth is not concerned with the truckers who work for large companies like JB Hunt. It's about those who
While TrueNorth is trying to fix long-standing inefficiencies in trucking, technology has already caused some fluctuations in the industry. Despite this overwhelming trust, TrueNorth's co-founder, Stedge, says little innovation has been done to bring technology to the trucking industry.
KeepTruckin, a hardware and software company that helps truck drivers manage their rigs better. was given unicorn status in April last year when $ 149 million was raised at a value of $ 1.25 billion.
Government regulations require truckers to track their days in 15-minute increments on an electronic logger. KeepTruckin's hardware helps them do this.
Samsara is another competitor that allows drivers to track their hours using hardware and software. While KeepTruckin and Samsara are startups, they are not TrueNorth's direct competitors. The two startups help truckers ensure compliance by tracking data, and TrueNorth manages hourly tracking and billing on behalf of truckers.
With Samsara, TrueNorth can track the location and hours of the driver and help with mileage reports for fuel tax filing. and track fleet safety using data from the Samsara device to better understand speed and braking events.
When asked why Samsara would not simply pan to do what TrueNorth does because it is already present, Stedge compared the two companies to the hospital system. Hospitals use electronic patient records to log patient records. These systems are highly regulated and complex due to HIPAA compliance and patient tracking, so hospitals rely heavily on them for this specific need. But, Stedge said, there are many other activities that care for patients in hospitals.
Think of Samsara as the highly complex electronic medical record system and TrueNorth as the hospital. Samsara is at the heart of the technology used by truckers and TrueNorth as an outsider who optimizes this technology under one roof. This is becoming increasingly important for an independent trucker who doesn't have a large fleet of resources – that's exactly what the customer is trying to get the stedge on board.
She has a personal competitive advantage when it comes to understanding her customers: Stedge was adopted as a child by a family of truckers, and her family has been part of the industry for over 40 years.
The capital will be used to build the development team, and Stedge plans to hire three to four more people.
When it came to fundraising, Stedge spoke to 30 to 40 investors within four days.
Stedge tells me that she increased the round within a week of the demo day, which was the first time ever. was completely digital due to COVID-19.
Don't assume, however, that a fully digital demo tag made closing deals for this batch easier. The investors in the TrueNorth starting round largely came from warm intros from the $ 600,000 round they had collected during the YC. In fact, Sam Altman invested after his brother Jack Altman invested capital in the company.
Instead, the start-up financing from TrueNorth is an example of a longstanding truth in the YC financing craze: The best companies are often able to secure the financing or at least seedlings of it themselves before the demo day.
As for the valuation, TrueNorth's recent round brings the above $ 15 million into the valuation. This number is high for normal startup standards, as a report shows that the average startup rating at the seed stage is around $ 7 million.
For YC, $ 15 million is equivalent and maybe even a little conservative. Stedge claims that it had "several other offers at higher valuations". The company's decision to seek lower ratings could provide insight into the changing attitudes towards absurdly high ratings in the seed stage world.
Stedge mentioned that investors felt they had to act fairly quickly this time due to market fluctuations. It took the founder a second to rewind to 2008 to better understand what she was up to.
"I looked into what happened in the 2008 downturn and what happened was that a lot of independent truckers went out of business first," she said. "If your costs are high, you have very little scope to lower your earnings and they struggled to find work quickly. "
This history lesson, Stedge said, gave TrueNorth a welcome confirmation and even more drive. Accelerate his plan to help truckers work more efficiently.