Gasoline may be the newest entrant to the on-demand economy.
A handful of startups on the West Coast are racing to make the pesky errand of stopping for gas a thing of the past. How? By sending refueling trucks directly to consumers who order on-demand gas through mobile apps. Some of these companies aren't even charging a delivery fee for the service--yet.
Here are three startups with an early lead in the gas delivery sector.
1. Booster Fuels.
Seattle-based Booster Fuels was founded in 2014 by Frank Mycroft, a former vice president of strategy at asteroid-mining company Planetary Resource, and co-founders Diego Netto and Tyler Raugh. The startup offers an invite-only service in San Francisco and Dallas that sends trucks to refuel cars in corporate parking lots. Individuals who download Booster Fuels's app are notified if the company can service their cars.
Booster does not charge a fee on top of the price of gas at the moment, according to the app's description in the iTunes store. Mycroft declined to disclose whether the company purchases the gas wholesale. He also declined to comment on the size of his staff and the company's growth plans, saying his team is remaining "stealthy" until the "near future." Booster Fuels raised $3.1 million in funding in May from venture capital firms including Madrona Venture Group.
Founded in January of 2015, San Francisco-based Filld provides on-demand gas to customers throughout Silicon Valley via its free mobile app. The company sources from a wholesaler, charges a flat fee of $5 per refueling, and determines the price of gas by taking an average from the five nearest gas stations to each customer. Co-founder Chris Aubuchon is a former general partner at San Francisco venture firm Innovation Acceleration Capital. He started the company with Scott Hempy, a project manager at medical device company Omega Ophthalmics.
Filld has 10 full-time employees and is soon to announce a Series A funding round, according to Aubuchon. The company plans to increase its truck count by 10x during the next 12 months, and grow its team by hiring aggressively in marketing and operations. Aubuchon declined to comment on revenue, but said the Filld has "thousands" of customers.
Los Angeles-based Purple was founded last November by Bruno Uzzan, former founder and CEO of 3D graphics company Total Immersion, and UCLA bioengineering professor Jean-Pierre Hubschman. The startup raised a seed round of between $500,000 and $1 million from investors including Oscar Salazar, Uber's third co-founder alongside Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick. Uzzan declined to disclose revenue figures.
Purple's mobile app provides gasoline delivery in Los Angeles and San Diego, and the company has plans to expand to Palo Alto and one additional city by the end of 2014. Uzzan says he expects to close as Series A round during the first quarter of 2016 and expand to 10 cities by the end of the second quarter of 2016. Purple makes money by charging a small premium above the cost of gas. On top of this, customers also pay a $1 fee for gas delivered within one hour, but no fee for gas delivered within three-hours. Purple company has seven full-time employees and 12 drivers.