Renren, a Chinese enterprise focused on social connectivity and communication, has agreed to back Trucker Path – to the tune of $1.5 million. Trucker Path is a mobile application that allows truckers to locate nearby stops, inns and travel centers, gas and weigh stations, parking, rest areas, and more. It also allows drivers to map out trips and information related to nearby stops, such as ratings and prices. This data is thoroughly scoured, crowdsourced, and updated for accuracy.
Foreign Interest in Trucker Path
Why has Renren expressed such an interest (and commitment) to the growth of this U.S. enterprise? Even though a Chinese version of Trucker Path’s platform is not being developed, Renren has conveyed an interest in logistics. According to Ivan Tsybaev, CEO of Trucker Path, the goal of this investment is to connect consumers in China with shipping and transport options in the United States. A precedent for this was set in 2014 when Renren invested in Hong Kong-based GoGoVan, an app that facilitates small shipments in Hong Kong and Singapore. Freight brokerage is a possible application of Renren’s massive investment.
If freight brokerage played a part in this deal, it likely has to do with Truckloads, Trucker Path’s beta platform (currently invite only), which is a broker, shipper, and carrier service. It facilitates interactions like freight tracking, scheduling, and booking. It is easy to see how handy this kind of social-professional hybrid could be, not to mention its applications within a global market.
Pending Logistics Improvements
Regardless of the intent behind Renren’s investment, Trucker Path and its logistics services will likely undergo several new changes and overhauls, impacting the trade to its core. These include:
- Increased connectivity. As mentioned, the Truckloads platform under development aims to streamline shipping, transporting, and receiving processes. Whether or not Renren will help develop that service, Trucker Path has expressed interest in acquiring a Freight Brokerage Company. This is related to the rollout of its new shipper/carrier platform, which will soon be available publically.
- Reshaping the trucking pipeline. As Trucker Path continues to explore these industry renovations, it will inevitably affect the way business is done. Freight brokerage – the process of connecting people with goods to ship to those capable of transporting them – is being taken out of the hands of a middleman and into the hands of either the person with the goods or the individual who wants to receive them. This not only enables greater flexibility for the shipper, receiver, and carrier, but affects everyone participating in the industry, from USPS to Amazon.
- Encouraging market growth. As the processes become more streamlined and appealing, Tsybaev hopes to see a resurgence of people interested in joining the industry. This technology may allow for improved income for truckers, as well as increased efficiency throughout the entire process.
Trucker Path currently has 100,000 active users and over 20% month-over-month growth on its platform. These numbers are set to increase as the company branches out into new areas, forges new partnerships, and rolls out new software. Time will reveal the full impact of these logistics innovations, but for now, the enterprise continues to expand in hopes of reshaping this high-potential market.