TRUX Gives Dump Truck Drivers and Managers a Much-Needed Technology Assist
“My whole family on my dad’s side is in construction. So, I’ve been surrounded by it my whole life. Me, my siblings and cousins would be climbing on dirt piles and playing around the machines,” said TRUX Co-Founder and CTO Mike Saccone. “After college, my cousin [TRUX Co-Founder Richard Saccone] noticed a lot of the problems that my dad and my uncle would face with their contractors. He started brainstorming on how to solve these problems with technology in an intelligent way, asked me to join him to build the platform, and that is what evolved into the idea of TRUX.”
Construction work is hard labor; there’s no doubt about that. One aspect of the construction business that is arduous is being able to schedule pickups and having material transported, as well as being supplied the right amount of trucks for the job. There is also a lack of a management platform for managers to schedule contractors and to make payments.
Founded in 2015, TRUX is a startup out of Concord that is building technology to help update this industry.
The origins behind TRUX
Before the company’s founding, Saccone wasn’t following in his father’s footsteps and was, instead, working at Goldman Sachs. On the side, however, he was building out a logistics platform that was the beta version of TRUX.
Luckily for him, the feedback was positive and was encouraging for him to start a tech company, leave Wall Street, and get involved in a familiar industry.
“The root of the problem is a lot of construction companies need to get materials to their job sites. In almost every case, they don’t own the dump trucks they need to move the materials, so they have to rent them usually by the hour,” said Saccone. “On the other side of the transaction is the material producer for the construction company. So, we started this idea as ‘Uber for dump trucks’ but began to realize that was only one small problem in this large problem space.”
The platform and how it’s solving problems for construction workers
When asked, both Saccone and TRUX CEO Jeff Gower have described the construction industry as “pen-and-paper” and “analog.” The majority of dump trucks out there are individually owned. Combine this with the lack of technology to connect them, and it results in a hugely fragmented market. Some companies will have a team of dispatchers, who will be on the phone all day just trying to get in contact with anyone who owns a truck.
At its core, TRUX is a cloud-based web and mobile platform that is built to address some of the logistical, scheduling, and planning challenges that come with construction work. One part of the business the startup is targeting, in particular, is supplying dump trucks and transportation of materials for a variety of jobs. The platform’s GPS also allows managers to track incoming fleets as well.
“What the platform does is not only allow people get the supply when you need it, and do it in a more efficient way, but to also reduce your equipment expenses and take advantage of the sharing economy at large,” said Gower. “What we see is not only that the growth of the platform is going to increase, but the assets of the contractors will be decreasing.”
One other major feature of the TRUX platform is the ability to manage day-to-day operations, which also includes being able to schedule payments on time. For many truck drivers in the industry, it is common to have to wait 30 days (or more) for payment. TRUX guarantees its drivers will be paid weekly and saves them from having to follow-up on unpaid invoices.
TRUX Chrome is another feature of the platform, which is a buyer’s club featuring all kinds of products and services for truckers. They can access options to buy discounted fuel or supplies for their vehicles all on the mobile app.
TRUX’s growth and the outlook for the future
“Growing up, I didn’t think I was going to be working in construction, and I think my dad knew that. At Goldman Sachs, I thought I was going to be solving the most interesting problems, but it turns out, there are more interesting ones in the construction space,” said Saccone with a laugh.
The company has currently raised close to $6M in capital, with their latest round bringing in $5M. The recent growth in funding also coincides with its increase in the Greater Boston area, as several major construction companies have begun using TRUX.
However, the company is remaining headquartered in the suburbs of Boston. While the majority of TRUX’s clients tend to be stationed outside of the city, which is one of the reasons why they are staying out there, Gower has noticed another trend in the surrounding towns of the HUB.
“I think you should go where you can find the best talent, and in some ways, everyone believes tech companies have to run to the city to find talent,” said Gower. “We’ve found that same level of expertise in the Route 128 belt -- there’s an amazing amount of great tech talent out here.”
The TRUX team is confident that their location, projected growth, and most importantly, their technology to help to keep them driving forward.
“Our roadmap is ahead of us with this platform, and we see a pathway for us to continue to deliver more and more value, whether it’s by driving more efficiently or introducing new products and services. What started as small has become very interesting, very quickly,” said Saccone.