Less than a year after its launch, Kansas City-based truck-sharing app Bungii is gaining significant traction.
In addition to expanding its platform from only Kansas City to include Lawrence, Bungii has tapped hundreds of users that temporarily need a truck to haul their stuff.
Led by two recent college graduates, Ben Jackson and Harrison Proffitt, Bungii’s on-demand model is similar to Uber and Lyft. Users in Kansas City and Lawrence can request a local truck and schedule pickups for items they’d like to move. Bungii charges $1 per minute and $1 per mile, with the average trip costing around $40, according to Jackson.
To vet its drivers — and their trucks — Bungii completes a background check, vehicle inspection, personal interview and customer service training. The platform also has in-app GPS tracking so users can track their drivers and provide them with a rating after their service is complete.
With 75 drivers employed in Kansas City and more than 1,500 trips completed, Jackson said that the startup has grown at a 25 percent monthly rate since the iOS launched in November.
“We’re really excited about the growth rate,” Jackson said. “Now that the weather is getting warmer and the app is continuing to spread, I think we might even see the trend bump even more.”
If you’ve been to the West Bottoms for a First Festival Weekend recently, you may have noticed Bungii is promoting its service on many storefronts. Jackson attributes the startup’s growth to his commitment to customer acquisition and local marketing efforts.
“We’re pretty much entirely focused on growing demand,” Jackson said. “Harrison and I made a list of every single vintage, consignment or second-hand store in Kansas City and spent two months going to them until we got it in their heads that Bungii is a great option for their customers.”
Starting Thursday, the app will be available for Android devices. Jackson said that not having Android as an option for his customers has held the firm back, and he’s excited about the launch.
“Android is almost half of the market share for mobile,” Jackson said. “The way we see it, once we add Android, our market share — the trips, revenue and everything — is going to double. This day couldn’t come soon enough.”
A 2016 graduate of Kansas State University, Jackson said that there have been aspects of entrepreneurial life that surprised him, yet the challenges have been rewarding.
“We thought that it was one of those things where if we built the software and put it out there, they’ll come to us,” Jackson said. “Building it was the easy part. … I’ve learned that successful entrepreneurship is just chopping away at a tree. It’s not sexy, it’s not glamorous, there’s no ‘bling, bling’ to it — you just keep your head down and keep working. I don’t know if it’s the ignorance or grace on our part, but we just keep getting back up there and keep attacking it.”
Although Jackson and Proffitt may be new to the business world, their fresh eyes have resulted in big dreams. With a series A funding round on the horizon and more than $200,000 raised thus far, Jackson said he hopes to expand Bungii to six Midwest cities in the next year.
Jackson added that high expectations for himself, and the firm, drives it forward.
“With Bungii, you can’t patent the process — if someone wanted to start this in another city, there’s nothing we could do to stop them besides having a larger footprint,” Jackson explained. “This feeling gives us a sense of urgency to scale as quickly as we can. By 2025 we want to be nationwide and operating in over 100 cities from coast to coast.”