Columbia startup raises millions to build software for trucking, aims to reshape industry

January 24, 2023

source: The Post and Courier Columbia

COLUMBIA — Motor Supply Inc. is not your typical trucking company, co-founded on something of a dare by a Columbia computer scientist with no prior experience in the industry.

The teams’ technical skill sets combined with on-the-job experience gained while directing 17 semis back and forth across the United States over the past few years have culminated in something entirely different.

Having raised more than $2 million as a company to date and continuing to fundraise, the Motor Supply team finds itself in the midst of a pivot — from a small long-haul trucking firm to a software company boasting a fleet of trucks — they think could reshape the legacy industry.

“Half our day is now spent polishing code, and the other half is grease and diesel,” said CEO Alex Abrashkin.

The company plans to launch the first iteration of its in-house software, LoadFlow, in 2023, Abrashkin said.

The goal of LoadFlow is to better pair trucks with shippers in a way that results in fewer empty truck miles — automating the calculations that go into matching available trucks and freight in the same area, essentially making it possible for a single dispatcher to look over more vehicles.

“This industry hasn’t been transformed yet,” Abrashkin said. “Everybody in the trucking industry will benefit from LoadFlow, from owner-operators and fleets, to freight brokers and shippers.”

Before Abrashkin started Motor Supply in 2018, he had been on sabbatical and met up with some friends who had recently started driving their own truck. Curious about the business, he convinced them to allow him to spend a week on the road with them.

With so many windshield hours, he passed the time crunching numbers and analyzing the business. It was a money-making year for the trucking industry. Seeing the potential, he started talking to investors about a profit-sharing model to add trucks to a fleet.

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