Elevator Pitch: Vozeeme
CO-FOUNDERS: Anastasia Andreeva and Maria Ioveva
LOCATION: Brooklyn, New York
LAUNCHED (in beta): Fall 2010
2011 PROJECTED REVENUE: $1.7 million
2012 PROJECTED REVENUE: $5.1 million
REGISTERED USERS: 60
BACKGROUND: Andreeva and Ioveva have been friends since high school. Andreeva's family owns a small trucking company.
RECENT BUZZ: Last year, Vozeeme received seedfunding from DreamIt Ventures, an incubator in Philadelphia.
FUNDING SOUGHT: $500,000
The Pitch: "Each year, freight trucks travel empty for 17 billion miles. Meanwhile, manufacturing companies pay billions of dollars a year to shipping brokers, who act as liaisons with the truckers. Vozeeme eliminates this waste of manpower, money, and fuel by matching small trucking companies with manufacturers on an easy-to-use website. Manufacturers post a description of what they need transported. The truckers place bids, and the manufacturer chooses one for the job after reading reviews from other users. The service is free for manufacturers, and we charge truckers 10 percent of every deal. We're raising money to hire a sales team and add more features to the site."
The Experts Weigh In
Focus on a Region
It's hard not to like a company when a founder has personal experience in the industry. Andreeva's family business probably has relationships that Vozeeme can use to get going. That's the most compelling thing about the company. But this isn't a new concept. What Andreeva and Ioveva are doing is called load boarding, and I don't see anything that differentiates Vozeeme from the pack. One thing the founders could do is focus on one region and be the best load board in New York. I wouldn't invest in this company as a VC, but I might as an angel investor.
General partner, New Enterprise Associates
Get Big Quickly
I love this idea. I'm not concerned about barriers to entry but rather about achieving critical mass. The system has no value if no one's using it, so this isn't a business to grow slowly. Right now, Andreeva and Ioveva should do some manual labor. As soon as a manufacturer posts a job, even if there are no truckers available, the founders should call companies and ask them to move the goods. Once Vozeeme gains critical mass, the users will take over. I would consider investing in this company, but it needs to get out of beta testing as soon as possible.
Partner, Canrock Ventures
Jericho, New York
Be More Like a Broker
This is certainly an investment I would take a look at. But there are some legal and regulatory issues around shipping that Vozeeme needs to comply with. Alcohol is a perfect example of something that can't just be shipped anywhere by anyone. I would want to know that Vozeeme protects the shipper and the trucker and ensures that both sides are compliant. That may be why people still use brokers. Andreeva and Ioveva need to understand everything a broker does and try to incorporate all of those services into Vozeeme.
Founding managing director, Illuminate Ventures