New in Town: Kansas City's Bungii thinks Music City likes Pickup Trucks
By Milt Capps
BUNGII LLC, the Kansas City startup that has a last-mile app to help us crowdsearch for a pickup for an occasional chore or to help us get our bigscreen TV home after it wouldn't fit in our back seat, has entered the Nashville market.
Co-founder and CEO Ben Jackson confirmed for Venture Nashville that Bungii has raised $13.4MM (all via priced rounds) since its launch in 2015 by 20-somethings Jackson and Harrison Proffitt, his fellow alum at Kansas State University, where the two truck-owners hatched the idea.
In addition to Nashville, the company is now operating in eight U.S. cities, including Louisville, Atlanta and Chicago -- and, all its markets lie east of its Kansas City homebase, with some concentration in what's sometimes described as the Chicago-Miami flyway.
In the context of what he describes as the company's "aggressive" expansion plans, Jackson explained the Nashville gambit:
"When we were researching cities where to expand next, we questioned Nashville a lot, like we do every city, but ended up going for it... It took about two days before our launch team fell in love with the city. Nashville's friendly people, laid-back atmosphere, contagious sports teams and vibrant city quickly confirmed it was absolutely the right choice. A major part of Bungii's success is directly related to all the support we've received from the people of Nashville. It's humbling and encouraging at the same time," he added.
Of course, home is still KC: The CEO said the company relies on KC-based Polsinelli for legal and regulatory, banks with Freedom Bank, and handles both its accounting and PR in-house.
Looking ahead two years, he predicted "Bungii will have a nation-wide infrastructure layer in place providing on-demand, last mile, big & bulky delivery. This include local drivers, labor, vehicles, the platform/tech, logistical IP, partners and end-to-end delivery value chain process/knowledge. It will be one of largest sharing economy footprints in the U.S."
Jackson told VNC that he had been advised early-on "to go straight to the coasts for funding, but 95% of the money we raised came from Midwest and East Coast Investors. I strongly believe this is proof that things are quickly changing for tech outside of Silicon Valley."
Jackson said the expansion-minded company's Series A was oversubscribed, adding, "we have enough 0s in our bank account for awhile."
Still, when asked to crystal-ball a Series B, Jackson affirmed that the company's next letter-round could target $25MM, in 2021.
Asked about an eventual exit, he first commented on the traditional rental business (think U-Haul, Penske, et al).
Jackson said that the company estimates that "on average, using Bungii takes about a third of the time that renting a truck would. We come to you so we take picking up and dropping off the rental out of the equation. Plus, our delivery professionals help load and unload, as well as safely securing the items in transit. We've found that fumbling around with finicky ratchet straps isn't high on most people's list; our delivery professionals handle off of that."
He also noted that disruption is needed not only within ranks of big rental companies, but also among home-services companies (Angie's List, Taskrabbit, et al); and, among the major logistics companies.
What about Uber or Lyft? Jackson replied, "We don't believe they'll get into this business as their current efficiencies are in small cars, or moving small packages and food. There's no labor component in any of Uber/Lyft's silos. To set something like Bungii up it's completely different with vehicles, driver on-boarding, driver training, ongoing monitoring, etc. Uber/Lyft are used to on-boarding 1000s of drivers at once and setting them loose but with Bungii, it's very different. If they see that someone has figured out the on-demand, large item, last mile delivery, there is a major possibility they could acquire us."
Strategic partnerships? Jackson said the company's in discussions with some major brands, and is particularly interested in prospective partners "in the retail and logistics space, but we have been approached by some other interesting use cases, like suppliers, contractors, and even restaurants with requests to deliver everything from lumber to HVAC parts to beer keys. There's a lot of opportunity in this space."
The company's 2018 SEC filing is here. VNC
. Last edited 1855 16 January 2020