Geographic-specific startups face a unique challenge when it comes to scaling, as founders have to replicate success in each new market their open.
“In classic marketplaces, you want to balance growth with having great economics in each city,” he said. Fetch, which started in Atlanta in 2016, had been expanding nationally and building partnerships with the likes of Roadie and Home Depot. As an on-demand rental service and marketplace for trucks and vans, users rent a truck of any size within the app while truck owners list their vehicle to earn extra money.
That might look like an individual loaning out trucks in a peer-to-peer, Airbnb-style rental system or “professional fleet owners” listing multiple trucks on the site.
But like many startups, COVID forced the team to rethink priorities when it came to expansion. Steinberg said that the team refocused on the Atlanta market during COVID and turned attention towards building out the marketplace with truck supply partners.
“Like many businesses, we took a minute to figure out how the macroeconomy was going to shake out. What we realized was…the contactless rental experience Fetch pioneered through our proprietary technology has become the new customer default,” he added.
That contactless, frictionless rental option is key for small businesses owners, Steinberg said. Fetch has honed in on this segment as a target market, as contractors, event planners, caterers “constantly need trucks a few days a week, but it doesn’t make sense for them to own and maintain [one].”
New Funding, New Team members
Earlier this month Fetch closed a $3.5 million Series A round, led by New York-based NextView Ventures. Atlanta-based Knoll Ventures, a previous investor in the startup, also joined the round with Zeno Ventures and Nassau Street Ventures out of the Northeast.
Steinberg said that NextView’s “deep expertise in next-generation commerce” made them the right partner for this round.
The team is ready once again to scale to different geographies. The team has launched in Dallas, Philadelphia, DC, and Baltimore with more markets on the horizon.
Also on the horizon: A much bigger team.
“Up until about 90 days ago, we were 10 people,” Steinberg added. “Now, we’re 18. And we will be 25 people in th next 90 days.”
Steinberg said the funding is helping “double” the engineering and customer support teams while investing heavily on the growth and marketing side of the business.