A new Seattle startup wants to eliminate the gas station errand.
Founded less than a year ago, Booster Fuels is seeing early success with its service that lets car owners push a few buttons and have their gas tank filled up shortly thereafter.
We first wrote about Booster Fuels earlier this year, noting its $3.1 million funding round from top venture capital firms, and now we know a bit more about this stealthy startup.
Frank Mycroft, a former Planetary Resources executive and CEO of Booster Fuels, told GeekWire today that his new company has been operating on an invite-only basis in the Dallas Fort Worth region, as well as the Bay Area.
“Customers absolutely love it and keep coming back,” he said.
For the user, Booster Fuels is rather simple.
After creating an account and entering relevant details like payment information, you park your car, push a button on the company’s app, and open your fuel door. From there, Booster Fuels comes to your car and fills up your tank with either regular or premium gas.
“I have yet to meet someone that says, ‘I love going to the gas station,'” Mycroft said. “This industry hasn’t changed much in a long time. Our goal is to provide a more cost-effective and energy-effective way to get this chore done that doesn’t involve you having to go to the gas station yourself.”
Booster Fuels does not require a monthly membership and notes on its app description page that “our quality fuel is always just the price of fuel.”
As far as where the gas comes from and how much Booster Fuels marks up from what it pays, Mycroft wouldn’t provide further details on what he referred to as the company’s “secret sauce.”
He did say, though, that the startup is targeting places where “people’s cars are clustered together for long periods of time” — like company parking lots, for example — and busy customers that value their time.
“We look at those cars and say, gosh, they just sit there,” Mycroft said. “Imagine all the wonderful things you can do to help people out while their cars are idle.”
“I’m definitely not surprised that other people want to find a better approach,” Mycroft said. “Ours is super unique. We have a killer team with expertise on many verticals to build a completely new way of getting this job done.”
Mycroft, who earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton and graduate degrees from Stanford and Harvard, said that he’s always been drawn to difficult logistics problems. It’s why he entered the space industry a decade ago, first becoming a NASA Research Fellow before taking jobs at Boeing and most recently Planetary Resources, the Redmond-based asteroid-mining company.
But now with a wife and daughter, he’s also realized how valuable his time is.
“Getting gas late at night when you’ve been at work for 12, 16 hours a day — you want to spend time with your family, not getting gas,” Mycroft said. “It’s such a simple problem that hasn’t gotten better.”
There are plans to expand outside of California and Texas, but Mycroft wouldn’t provide a specific timeframe.
As far as how electric cars fit into Booster Fuels’ long-term strategy, Mycroft said that “99 percent of new cars use fuel.
“Range anxiety is a common problem for electric vehicle owners that our capabilities can help solve,” he noted.
Booster Fuels’ investors include Madrona Venture Group, Version One Ventures, Vulcan Capital, RRE Ventures, Ross Perot Jr., Ethan Beard, The Haystack Fund, Rolling Bay Ventures, and Conversion Capital. Planetary Resources co-founder Eric Anderson was listed as the company’s chairman in its most recent SEC filing.