Getting gas delivered to your car while you’re at the office is turning out to be a pretty nice perk — and investors think so, too.
Booster Fuels, which operates a mobile gas station that functions via smartphone, today announced a $20 million round from existing investors like Conversion Capital, which led the round, along with Maveron, Madrona Venture Group, Version One, Perot Jain LP, and RRE Ventures. New investors include Stanford’s StartX Fund, BADR Investments, and U.S. Venture Inc. Total funding to date is now $32 million.
Founded in 2015, Booster Fuels counts more than 300 large employers, including Facebook, Cisco, Oracle, eBay, and others, as customers that offer the service as a perk to employees. Users can request gas with a few buttons on the Booster Fuels app and someone shows up soon after in a custom-built mini-tanker to refuel your vehicle. Prices are similar to what you’ll find at the local gas station; Booster doesn’t charge a service fee.
The company originally started in Seattle, but relocated to Burlingame, Calif., to Silicon Valley last year. It operates in the Bay Area and the Dallas-Fort Worth region, and has delivered more than five million gallons of gas — that’s up from a 3 million milestone reached in April.
“Demand from customers drew us to the Bay Area where road congestion challenges the massive commuter base who we serve,” Booster Fuels CEO Frank Mycroft told GeekWire. “Booster helps reduce the stress and time of that commute. As a perk for large companies to offer employees, Booster helps employers attract and retain talent in the very competitive environment down here.”
Mycroft, a former executive at Redmond, Wash.-based Planetary Resources, said there are no immediate plans to bring the service to Seattle.
There is certainly plenty of opportunity for Booster, given that Americans used a record amount of motor gasoline last year and how filling up your tank is a rather mundane chore.
“I have yet to meet someone that says, ‘I love going to the gas station,'” Mycroft told GeekWire when we first discovered the company. “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 has developed its own transportation equipment; supply procurement; routing algorithms; and mobile app experience. It competes with companies like Purple and Filld, though differs because it focuses on large office parking lots at corporate campuses. The company also provides fuel for vehicles at university campuses, as well as to commercial fleets. Its service offerings include tire inflation and replacing windshield wipers, in addition to refueling your tank.
There have been legal and safety concerns about how Booster operates its business, but it seems investors aren’t worried. In a blog post, Madrona Venture Group Managing Director Matt McIlwain — whose firm invested in Booster’s seed round — called Booster a “truly special company” that succeeds at combining digital and physical.
“Frank and his amazing team have thoughtfully balanced four key areas: understanding the customer (both the consumer and the employer); developing intuitive mobile apps for consumers and drivers; designing efficient and effective physical delivery systems; and navigating federal, state and local regulations and relationships,” he wrote. “Blending these elements into a compelling and economically sustainable offering is hard. But, Booster has done exactly that.”
Booster employs 30 people; its service professionals are also full-time W2 employees with benefits.