Founded by Darren Bechtel, Brick & Mortar Ventures is joined by Alumni Ventures, as well as existing investors in Gearflow Newark Venture Partners, Watchfire Ventures and Liquid2 Ventures, as participants in the funding.
The investment will be used to further develop Gearflow’s heavy equipment parts supply chain solutions, which has customers that include equipment owners, dealers, distributors and original equipment manufacturers.
This latest round of capital brings the total amount of funding that Gearflow has raised to $10.1 million since its founding in 2018.
The company currently has a web platform that can connect people with parts suppliers and other customers who may have spares in their inventory.
"We are centered around helping fleets find the parts they need to eliminate downtime," says Ben Preston, Gearflow co-founder. "The more we dug into it, the more we realized that this is a bigger problem that parts are at the center of. Whole fleets are losing their margins [based on downtime]."
"We don't see the demand for heavy equipment going down at all and keeping that equipment running is pretty key to a lot of these businesses," says Austin Yount, senior associate at Brick & Mortar Ventures. "So, we saw what [Gearflow co-founder] Luke [Powers] and Ben were doing and we've been tracking them over time and really liked how they were approaching the problem."
Powers and Preston said they plan to use the investment to continue to develop their platform and add new ways to digitize equipment parts procurement.
A Connectedness Problem
"We found it was just as much a connectedness problem" as a procurement issue, Powers says. "There's all of these parts sitting on shelves, there's all of these parts suppliers that run great businesses between equipment manufacturers and their dealers," providing parts to other component manufacturers. "What the industry really needed was an automated, connected layer."
Powers said fleet managers having mechanics spending days searching for parts was typical before he and Preston tackled the problem in 2018. Cutting that process from days to hours to minutes was their goal.
The platform has more than 3,000 users to date, including contractors, rental companies, energy/utility fleets, government fleets and service shops.
Branch Civil, Roanoke, Va., is one of those users.
Tim Morgan, equipment operations manager at Branch Civil, said in a statement that his company is working with Gearflow to help us "to ultimately reduce our mechanics’ administrative time and the downtime on our equipment, as well as simplify our invoicing,”
“At Branch Civil," said Morgan, who is also board chairman for the Association of Equipment Management Professionals, "our equipment operations are a differentiator in job profitability.”