As a designated “chief fueling officer” of the family, Frank Mycroft found himself at his local Seattle gas station, sitting in line for the second time in a day. There had to be a better way.
The former Boeing engineer would go on to help launch Booster Fuels, a high-tech mobile fuel delivery startup that was founded in Seattle but soon relocated to the Bay Area.
Now, after raising nearly $90 million and delivering millions of gallons of gas, Booster is making a return to Seattle, launching its service across the region as part of a nationwide expansion.
The 4-year-old company uses its purple-branded trucks to fill up tanks on corporate campuses. Fortune 500 giants such as eBay, HPE, and Cisco use Booster to provide a fueling perk for employees. Health clubs and retail centers are customers as well.
Booster also now serves business fleets, working with hundreds of companies that use a large number of vehicles and need frequent fill-ups.
Companies such as Advanced Government Services, CenturyLink, Imperfect Foods, Traffic Management Inc., and Monarch are some of Booster’s initial customers in the Seattle region. The startup already serves the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, and San Diego regions.
“Seattle holds a special place in our history,” Mycroft told GeekWire this week.
Seattle-based venture capital firms including Madrona Venture Group, Vulcan Capital, and Maveron were some of Booster’s earliest investors. Mycroft previously spent three years at Bellevue, Wash.-based Planetary Resources as vice president of strategy before starting Booster with Diego Netto and Tyler Raugh.
Booster’s arrival in Seattle comes nearly a year after one of its closest competitors, Filld, had to shut down service in the city. That’s because Filld wanted to fuel vehicles on Seattle streets, directly to consumers. But a few months after launching a pilot, the Seattle Fire Marshall ordered the company to stop mobile fueling and handling of flammable liquids, Filld’s core business.
By focusing on fill-ups on private property, Booster is able to avoid some of the more complicated regulations.
“There’s a lot of work we do at the local level that explains what we do, and frankly how it’s better than other models out there,” Mycroft said.
Filld has a smaller footprint than Booster, operating its consumer service in two cities and a fleet service in Washington D.C., Portland, Ore., and Vancouver B.C.
Booster’s revenue eclipses $250,000 per day, on average. The company is not yet profitable but Mycroft said the unit economics are “really good.”
“When we sign up another customer or another fleet, it makes the cost of the service for everybody go down,” he added. “That philosophy has helped us scale in a smart way.”
Powering the entire network is FuelOS, Booster’s proprietary software that routes, queues, and dispatches mobile fuel tanks with built-in operational efficiency and predictive analytics.
Booster is able to keep its prices competitive with incumbents because it eliminates the fuel delivery middleman and other associated costs of operating a physical gas station.
Users can request gas from Booster with a few buttons on its app and a service professional — who are Booster employees and receive benefits — shows up soon after in a custom-built mini-tanker to refuel the vehicle. The company is able to offer similar prices to what you’ll find at the local gas station and does not charge a service or subscription fee.
Other trends such as consumer expectation for on-demand service and increasing real estate prices for gas stations are also helping Booster, which provides additional services including windshield cleaning and tire replacement. In that vein, it’s similar to Seattle startup Wrench, which just raised $20 million for its mobile car repair service.
U.S. car owners used 142.86 billion gallons of gas last year, according to the U.S. Energy Industry Information Administration. That number stayed flat year-over-year as U.S. gasoline consumption stalled.
Booster’s model can also be used for alternative energy solutions.
The company employs more than 200 people. It raised a $56 million round in June.