This Startup That Fills Your Gas Tank on Demand Just Raised $9 Million
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Ever feel like there is just more to be done in a day than you can ever possibly get done? It's simple to start crossing off mundane things off your to-do list with some strategic outsourcing.
That’s the sell that Seattle-based startup Booster is making. With the Booster app, you can request your car to be filled up with gas while you are at work.
The team has hit a nerve. Billed as the “Uber for gas” in its Crunchbase profile, Booster announced today that it has raised a $9 million series A round from Madrona Venture Group, Version One Ventures and RRE Ventures, according to the public fundraising database. Currently, Booster services are available in the San Francisco Bay area and the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
To be sure, the idea of pressing a button on your smartphone to get your gas tank filled may seem to be an outrageous extension of the Uber-for-everything, order-everything-from-your-smartphone, Silicon Valley startup culture. Perhaps, it is. It doesn’t take all that long to drive to a gas station to fill up.
That said, we have all had those days where it seems like the to-do list is overwhelming and it feels like there just isn’t enough time. And, if you can put yourself in that moment, the idea of being able to fill up your gas tank with a swipe on your smartphone while you are at work is actually kind of genius.
To “order” a tank of gas, customers download the free app and then order a fill up between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Booster uses “proprietary” GPS technology to locate your vehicle and confirms it is yours with the make, model, color and license plate. A large industrial truck full of gas then fills your tank. Customers must leave their tanks ajar while waiting for the service.
The website claims that gas prices can sometimes be lower than what is available at gas stations because Booster buys gasoline at wholesale prices. That’s how Booster plans to make money. The startup says that because it partners with wholesale gas delivery companies, and doesn’t have the high real-estate costs associated with owning and operating a gas station, it makes money on the difference.
Booster caters to corporate clients, billing itself as an especially appealing perk that a company can provide its employees. “Improve employees’ lives by eliminating the anxiety associated with running out of gas,” Booster coos. Sounds nice!
Booster is absolutely the sort of service that is likely to be popular with the hoodie-and-jeans-clad Silicon Valley engineer that uses “Uber” as a verb. Whether the likes of Booster, or similar Los Angeles and San Diego-based startup Purple, will catch on outside of the tech-savvy set is the real question.Related: The Future of the Sharing Economy Is a World Built Like Bitcoin