The term “carpool” may have once been reserved for commuting to school or soccer practice. But Atlanta-based entrepreneurs Michael Malakhov and Eric Morris are bringing a new “carpool” definition to the logistics industry with startup Carpool Logistics.
The two bring a combined 25 years of logistics experience at behemoth C.H. Robinson. Now, Carpool Logistics is building a network of drivers to help ship cars across the country. Its technology platform and network of contracted drivers help optimize automotive shipping to cut down on time, cost, and overall emissions associated with shipping vehicles.
“At CARPOOL, we pool cars. We have a shared economy business model that allows us to consolidate vehicles traveling to similar destinations,” said Malakhov.
The CARPOOL platform streamlines the end-to-end process so customers can get a quote, provide shipment information, make a payment, and track a vehicle shipment all in one place. Customers include auction houses, dealerships, or individuals who need to ship a vehicle. The quote provided is based on vehicle size, market size conditions, weather, and other geographic constraints.
It’s an interesting time to be connecting auto shippers and carriers, Malakhov told Hypepotamus. The automotive industry is going through a renaissance and one of the shifts is towards digitization. Auto dealers are expanding into e-commerce as consumers are more comfortable purchasing cars online, car auctions are shifting to digital, and even auto manufacturers are starting to embrace the direct-to-consumer model.
The vehicle logistics space has traditionally lagged behind the overall freight industry when it comes to innovation. Today’s consumers are used to speed, communication, and the ability to track products that are being delivered to their doorstep, yet shipping a $30K vehicle could take weeks, with no visibility and poor communication.
The vehicle shipping industry is estimated to reach over $13 billion this year as consumers become more comfortable shopping for cars online, the logistics space looks to “green” up operations, and consumers continue to struggle with the used car crunch.
Supply chain disruptions that the automotive industry has experienced due to the chip shortage have created a significant supply and demand imbalance. The shortage of new vehicle inventory drove up the demand and prices of the used vehicles which have made it cost-effective to buy a car remotely from another state and have it shipped, according to Malakhov.
“Significant supply chain disruptions are driving innovation and there is a lot of interest to invest in logistics space now,” added Malakhov. “At CARPOOL, we’re bringing speed, shipment optimization, and tracking visibility that’s absolutely necessary for the future of vehicle logistics.”
Atlanta’s “Auto Tech” Market
It’s no surprise that a car-dependent city like Atlanta has a number of automotive-focused entrepreneurs. On top of startup founders and investors in the area, Georgia is home to the likes of Cox Automotive, Mercedes-Benz USA, Porsche US, and a number of manufacturing plants.
It is also attracting a growing number of electric vehicle (EV)-focused ventures, including Rivian’s plant planned in Commerce, Georgia. Rivian is part of the growing trend of direct-to-consumer ventures in the automotive space changing the car buying experience.
For Malakhov, Atlanta’s logistics talent pool has also been instrumental in getting Carpool Logistics off the ground.
With a growing team run out of the Atlanta Tech Village, Malakhov said CARPOOL is currently focused on building out its technology platform and ultimately raising funds in the middle of 2022.
Featured photo provided by Carpool Logistics