Andrew: Hey there Freedom Fighters, my name is Andrew Warner, I’m the founder of Mixergy,
where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. I’m incredibly excited to talk to you, and I’ll tell you why.
First of all, you’ve got a nice business, a set of businesses, too, that are just so easy to understand and create. In a world where people keep trying to out AI the next guy and out VR the first guy, This just makes sense. It’s in moving, it’s in storage, and it’s still something that we needed years ago and will need in the future.
And frankly, I’m also excited because I’m a customer of yours. The person I’m talking to, everyone, is named Pete Warhurst. He is the founder of two companies. The first is Pods, and the second is Red Rover. Pods, I was a user of when I was living in San Francisco, and I wanted to move out, Pete, and I didn’t know where we were going to go.
So, We hired a team of movers, they packaged up everything in our house and they put it in this pod that was delivered in front of our house and it sat there. And then a few days later, a truck came, picked it up and then moved it to storage somewhere in Texas. And for about a year, we basically lived out of that.
We’d get to an Airbnb, then another Airbnb and another and another. And whenever we needed something from our personal items, we’d go to pods. And pick it up. And then in the end, when we finally bought our place here, in Austin, I had a truck driver come and deliver the pod. We took everything out and then they took it away.
That’s this idea. Phenomenally successful. Pete sold it. And now he is working on a new company. It’s called Red Rover. And the idea there is, Hey, Andrew. Do you really want to schedule with a dude who’s going to come over to your house and not care so much about your beautiful property? Or, how about you just come and get one of these trucks and pick up your own, uh, storage container and deliver it wherever you want it, and we’ll make sure that it’s easy for you.
And that’s the idea behind Red Rover. I invited him here to talk about both businesses, and I could do it thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first, if you’re at all interested in how new organizations are… Forming. I want you to check out how I do a podcast with entrepreneurs who are creating Dow’s decentralized autonomous organizations.
It’s available. It’s available at join origami. com slash podcast. And if you’re hiring a developer, go to a lemon. io slash mixer. Do, but I’ll talk about those later. Pete, good to have you here.
great to be here. Thanks for having me. And you did a great job describing what I’ve done for the last 25 years.
Well, the business part of it, I want to get a little bit into the personal side, but you know, let’s start with business. You sold it when, and for how much?
uh, I sold it in, uh, 2007 for about 430, 000, 000.
How much of that was your share?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Um, unfortunately, over the course of time, you do get, uh, diluted down. So I had somewhere around 18 20% left when I sold.
That’s amazing. And what did you get to do after that? Was there something that made your life more exciting? Tell me about a good fun thing you did.
Yeah, you know, uh, Podge was actually my second or third, um, venture. And, uh, I, uh, I retired the first time at age 40, and when I sold pods I was 55, I believe, and thought I had retired. So, uh, the direct answer to your question is I was tired. I took about 15 years off, 12, 12, 15 years off and retired and traveled the world and got remarried and all sorts of
What type of traveling did you do?
Traveling. We, uh, we love Europe. Uh, we traveled, uh, a lot on cruises and stuff. But, um, we also belong to a fractional club that had a lot of houses around the country and throughout the world. we owned a boat. We’re big boaters. So, uh, we owned a boat and we’d spend several months in the Bahamas or down in the Caribbean on the boat.
So, just, hey. Just living on the boat, correct?
That sounds really exciting. I was just talking with Alex McCaw. He is the founder of Reflect app he’s he didn’t sell his previous company But he exited and now he’s living and working on a boat using Starlink for internet connection. It’s Incredible life when he talks about it and when I see what it’s like for him I feel like I finally get why people work hard for that kind of experience.
Yeah, we thoroughly enjoy the waters and scuba diving and fishing and entertaining. We fly people in and spend a week or whatever with us. But, um, it’s very limited clothing as necessary, right? A bathing suit and a t shirt and that’s about it. So, a nice way to go.
So I read that the idea came from a problem that you and your co founder had Can you describe what it felt like going through that issue that led to you getting in the moving business?
Well, yeah, I, uh, I had sold a previous businesses. I, as I mentioned, and I thought I retired at age 40 and got a little bored and, um, uh, decided to build a mini storage. And my thought process behind that was they were. a big boom back then. This is probably 1995 ish. Um, and, uh, I had, there was about four acres, three acres, uh, half a mile from my house.
And I said, you know what, I’m just going to build a mini storage here, traditional side of the road. Um, you know, mini storage that you see all over the place these days. And, uh, uh, one of the beauties and the appeals of that industry was that, uh, uh, everybody was a recurring, uh, repeat customer. You know, once they’re in there, usually keep in front.
Anywhere from eight, uh, eight months to five years. And, uh, and, uh, the most appealing thing was I knew I’d only have two employees. It’s typically a husband and wife that you put in there. That’s what I did. And so I thought I’d have a little business to go and kick tires. And, uh, it turned out being very successful and, uh, I decided I want to expand.
And do a second mini storage and at the time I lived in Pinellas County, which is where Tampa St. Pete Clearwater is really St. Pete Clearwater is Pinellas County and that’s a very dense, um, population over there and to find the right piece of property with the right zoning at the right price, um, without any competition, overlapping mini storages or whatever, um, proved to be very, very difficult.
And, um, Drove around the county for months looking for a piece of property, talking to realtors and things and couldn’t find one. And just one day driving down the street, we said, what if we bring the storage to the house? And it was really a matter of solving my, my desire to expand and we thought we’d build 100 boxes and we’d put them in a warehouse and that would be a bolt on to the existing storage, which was doing very well.
Um, so that’s, uh, you know, it was out of necessity. I couldn’t find the right zoning and property and so forth. And just said, what if we brought the storage to the house? And that’s, we took off from there.
Why is it a husband and wife who are running these types of storage facilities?
Well, we, uh, put a living unit, a house basically on the front, which also acted as the offices. And so it was a good retirement, uh, job for, for a husband and wife team to come in and get free housing, a nice little salary, and they greet people and, and, you know, make sure the place is taken care of.
I see Oh, that is a great business. And then I don’t know the the storage business, especially when you started But how did you get customers? How did people discover you back then?
Well, you’re talking about pods at that point, right?
Let’s, let’s go even before pods when it was just one storage, uh, facility for many storage, um, that was side gig for you. How did you
Yeah, it really was a side gig. I was playing a lot of golf and I got bored and, uh, and so pods was born. But, uh, the many storage, you know, one of the traits of many storage is you typically have to be on highway frontage where you get a lot of exposure. And then just human nature is that people aren’t going to drive.
Past six other mini storages to get to yours. So you know that you’re going to draw your customer base from about a three mile radius around, around the location. So, um, we did a little bit of advertising, um, you know, yellow pages back then and, and, um, you know, direct mail flyers type of things, but the majority of the customers for, for my experience, at the need.
I’m wondering how entrepreneurial you are. You seem to really be, I mean, here you are sold a company retired and you start a little mini storage business, not even knowing that it was going to be what it ended up being, tell me, were you as a kid also entrepreneurial is this. It’s something in your blood.
Uh, probably, uh, you know, I, I did a paper route. I had yard services as a real young kid. Um, worked in, worked in, you know, washing dishes and, and things like that. But, uh, um, yeah, as I say, I’ve had three or four businesses. I, uh, I moved to Florida in 73 and became a firefighter paramedic, um, and, uh, the fire chief came to me one day and said, what do you know about software?
I said, not a thing. Anyway, long story short, I got involved in helping put in 911 systems across the U. S. and we created a company that, uh, we ended up selling to, uh, Bell Atlantic in the day. So that was my first entrepreneurial, uh, job was, uh, this 9 1 1. Police fire EMS dispatch system. Um,
you set it
you set it up for your department and then you realized, Hey, this could actually grow beyond, and I’m going to start to make this into a real business.
Yeah, exactly. I had two partners, um, the software engineer and, and the fire chief and myself. And, uh, we actually became the number two. 9 1 1 records keeping, uh, company in the country. Um, and, uh, grew that for about 6 7 years and then Bell Atlantic came along and they just wanted to own it. So they wrote a nice check and, as I say, I thought I retired the first time.
So that was my first stint and then that led to the mini storage and then the mini storage, uh, led to Pods and then Pods led to Car Wash and then Car Wash led to Red Rover, which we’ll talk about. But, uh, yeah, so I’ve done five or six. Um, entrepreneurial type things.
You know what? I’m trying to get a sense of, of where this entrepreneurial thing comes from in you. You know, when I, I remember as a kid studying H Ross Perot became, I think the richest man in the country at one point, and he was someone who was just always selling and always looking for that extra edge in talking to customers back when he even became the number one salesperson for ibm.
It. A lot about going out and selling and closing deals and being that smiling, caring person. I’m trying to figure out your operating system, Pete, like what is it that lets you create all these companies?
you know, I, I think what really got pods off the ground is that we were very disruptive. Um, you know, positive, as you said, is a moving in storage company back in the, in the late nineties. Um, if you wanted to move from point A to point B, uh, you had the full service movers, you know, the Mayflowers and Atlas and things like this, or you had U Haul, you know, you really didn’t have a third choice.
And, and I think, uh. we created an industry that was disruptive to both of those. We sort of popped pods between the full service guys and the U Haul, um, and created a better mousetrap that was very intuitive and easy to understand. And it was in Florida where we have a lot of tourists that saw it.
And so, you know, they’d see it in the driveway and say, I get why this is a better, better idea. And so. Um, I think it was just a combination of really finding, uh, in an area that needed an improvement. If you think about moving and storage, um, the moving companies have been around for 80, 100 years, U Haul’s been around for 80, 100 years, whatever it is.
And, uh, we just, uh, we just disrupted both of those. So having a really unique product, I think, is what got us off the ground.
You’re right about seeing it in a driveway when you saw this storage unit in somebody’s driveway gave credibility that they had it It made it more visible than seeing something on the highway because it’s in your neighborhood It’s in another neighborhood that you drive in and then eventually you say, okay This is part of this is part of life any other marketing techniques that allowed you to continue to grow
true growth, we opened, um, 10 markets on balance sheets. So, we sort of had the same success everywhere we went, where, well, you know, I truly believe being in a tourist area, Florida, um, helped us, um, the fact that it was a, a unique, Um, and very, um, understandable, intuitive product, I think it, it, were the big drivers of it.
Um, we did some, some commercials and things like that, but, uh, I think the product sold itself. Um, you know, it’s sort of funny too, because people to this day still don’t know everything you can do with a, with a container. And I suspect you’re probably in that category as well. Uh, when we put these in the driveway, most people thought, okay, they were tool sheds that somebody kept in their driveway for six months or two months or whatever it was.
Um, And then we take away the empty. And in reality, we were wanting to get them back into a warehouse, um, and stack them in the warehouse and store them that way. Um, and people didn’t know we could do that and then, you know, all of a sudden, uh, people wanted to move from North County to South County and we would move people directly from the one driveway to the next driveway, um, and people didn’t realize we could do that and, and then, uh, when we expanded nationwide, we could move you from, as you said, you know, from one part of the country to another part of the country, um, all while reducing your cost and your labor and your anxiety.
We just made it easy. We And ultimately we, uh, we opened up, uh, um, Canada and Australia. And so not many people realize you can actually move to Australia with a, a, a pods unit. Um, you know, so, uh, while it’s in. It’s intuitive. It’s still some education that needs to go on about it.
So, how do you do that when people aren’t coming to a website where there isn’t that opportunity to educate them? How do you how do you start to change how people see you?
Well, fortunately, back then, um, again, we’re talking, uh, 97, I think we opened up, uh, pods. Uh, back then, you know, you had basically cable TV, um, direct mail, yellow pages, uh, and radio. Uh, those were, those were your, you know, the way you could advertise, uh, in today’s environment, you know, with all the, the social medias and the streaming and the satellites and the Starlink and, you know, all the stuff that’s up there, um, and out there, it’s much harder to get your message, uh, viewed.
Um, by the consumer. So, uh, I think we had an easier time and I’m glad we opened PODS than we did, um, because we basically did cable TV. We started with radio and then went to cable TV and, um, that, that was enough to make us successful.
You shifted from owning it yourself to a franchise model. How did, what, how did you decide to do that, and then how did that play out?
at the time, uh, we had opened up 10 markets on Balance Sheet. They were all big markets, you know, the L. A. ‘s, the New York, Chicago’s. Um, all larger markets, no, we didn’t do D. C., somebody else did D. C., but anyway, um, that is extremely expensive, um, you know, and L. A. or Tampa Bay or D. C. or New York, you know, that was a 4 million capital requirement to get those markets up and cash flowing.
Um, you know, so the very honest answer is I didn’t have enough capital to keep growing on balance sheet and I use franchising as a, as a financing and a growth tool. And, and so, um, by selling franchises, which was pretty easy to do, um, but by selling franchises, I was using my franchisees dollars to help create our footprint.
Um, which allowed us, expanded and allowed us to move people to more and more markets. Every time we would open up another market, we could, we could then, um, uh, relocate people to that market. Uh, so, um, and, uh, and by using their dollars, then I was still building the brand. I was still capturing the long distance revenue side of it.
Plus I was charging them. Royalties and, um, container fees and our, our lift system, uh, they bought from us. So it was a lot of revenue coming in to support the back office. Um, and ultimately we had in, in our franchise agreement, the, uh, right to buy back. Uh, the territories. And while we didn’t do that in during my tenure, um, to this day, I think we had 110 franchises.
I think at this point they have five or six that they haven’t bought back. Um, and so they’ve basically rolled those all in. And they’re now all corporately owned markets. Um, uh, and, uh, you know, pods is a Thank you. Two to three billion dollar company today, you know, and so, um, it worked. It was financing tool, I think, is the direct answer to your question, though.
You know, when I read the book Made in America, the Sam Walton story, um, he pointed out how much of what we didn’t see in his stores was technology, just having good logistics, computers, in a store that was essentially a five and dime having gone bigger. It seems like the same thing was true for you. Were you a computer person who automated and organized using software?
Um, I really wasn’t a computer person by, by education or any other form, but, uh, when I got involved in the 9 1 1, Business. Um, that was all computers and automation. If you think about it, there’s a lot of similarities. Um, the pods business of the portable storage business has a lot of logistics involved in it.
You gotta pick up an empty container here and take it over to this new customer over there and then go pick up a full container and bring it back to the storage business. To the warehouse and pick up a one from the warehouse and return it to the customer and and and you’ve got to optimize that and you’ve got to track all the containers and all the trucks and and, um, you know, so very, very heavy systems.
Wayne to David. Business is what pods is. It’s a logistics business is a moving and storage business, but very complex software that my partner in the 911 business was my CIO at pods and help drive that. That, um. And, uh, you know, with today’s technology, we’re able to do even more things in RedRover. So when we get to there, I’ll tell you some of those things.
I’d like that. I’m going to spend one moment telling you about a new organizational structure that I wonder how would work for a business that, that would have ordinarily gone for a franchise. It’s called a decentralized autonomous organization, a DAO, Pete. And in a DAO, the way it would work is. All these people who would be considered franchisees would basically be co owners of the structure.
Co owners of the business entity, co voters and, and, uh, and, uh, and leaders of it. And in return, they put up some money, they get… Some voting power. They get their own, uh, set of responsibilities and they could vote the leadership in and out. It’s a Dao, a decentralized autonomous organization. It’s fairly new.
I’m curious about how organizations are using this and so I’ve started a series of interviews. And for anyone who’s interested, it’s on a partner site, um, called Origami. Origami creates DAOs and so I’ve teamed up with them to do a series of interviews so I could understand it. And people who are listening to me or are curious can understand it.
If you’re curious, go to joinorigami. com slash podcast. Joinorigami. com slash podcast. Um, let’s get into then where, let’s have a couple more questions on pods before we move on to what you’re doing today. You said that you got diluted. What kind of funding did you take to help grow the business?
first I started with friends and family. Um, I think my first capital raise was 7 million, 8 million back then. Um, and it was literally people that, uh, Uh, I knew at the country club and, you know, I played golf with and, and family members and, and so forth. And that was my first capital raise. Um, but then, you know, as, as you grow, you need bigger.
Raises and more sophisticated money and bringing in more sophisticated money is a two edged sword. you, you get larger amounts of money, but you also get an opinion with that. And, uh, you know, when you’re an entrepreneur, um, you sort of have your vision and stuff. And so having to convince your, your equity partners that you’re going down the right road, can be.
Problematic at times, um, but, uh, bringing in, um, uh, a private equity group or sophisticated money, adds a lot of credibility to
What’s an example of a time when, when you wanted to do something and needed to convince private equity?
Once you take in private equity, you end up with a board of directors. I had advisory committees prior to, to that, um, but you end up with a, um, a board of directors and therefore you start having budgets that are approved and, and really the, the scrutiny comes at the budget level where you say, you know, you want to take and, and, uh, go off and explore this potential revenue stream and it’s going to cost the company a million bucks.
Okay. You’ve got to have a pretty good storyline, um, to tell the board to get their, their blessing. It’s no longer a one man, uh, one decision type of operation. That’s probably the most challenging piece of it. Um, and that goes all the way through the life of the business. You know, is it time to sell? Do we sell?
Do we go take the company public? Um, you know, who do we hire to help us sell it? All, all these types of decisions. Uh, do we sit on it and hold, um, you know, and, and just cashflow, uh, so, uh, you know, it’s, it’s no longer just your decision, I guess, is, is the, the key or the fundamental difference.
Why did you decide to sell?
well, it had, it had been 10 years. Um, I think I had gotten to the company as big as I needed to get it. I mean, we were, as I say, we were nationwide, um, about 120 markets open in the U. S. All of Canada, major markets in Canada were open, and all the major markets in Australia were open. And, um, and, uh, I felt that I had come far enough.
Um, I would also tell you that, Um, while franchising is a great, um, source of capital, if you’re using the other guy’s money, um, they too come with opinions. And, and so when you start, uh, um, getting, you know, a hundred different opinions at your, at your users conference and, and things like that, it’s just.
Tough to make everybody happy. So I think the honest answer is I was tired. This was my second, um, retirement, if you will. And, uh, I was ready to enjoy life. Um, uh, and, uh, you know, I think the timing was great for us. We sold in 2007. If you recall, the housing market took a big dive. The economy in general took a big dive 2007, eight, nine, that type of, you know, so I got out at the high of the market and, um.
And, uh, got a nice multiple. I mean, you know, multiples for EBITDA are typically single digit. We got, we got a double digit multiple of our EBITDA. Um, so, uh, I was happy with the exit. I, uh, I had enough money to live the rest of my life happily. And, um, you know, why keep, why keep going and kill yourself?
Sounds like a good plan. And then you did take time off. What brought you back to business? Why create red Rover? I
Uh, great question. I, uh, I sold the business, um, in 2007. I was age 55, um, and, uh, traveled the world, um, did a lot of boating, a lot of golf, um, I fly planes, so I, you know, I did, that was another hobby I had, and so I was just really enjoying life. But, uh, you know, that also gives you time to think about, um, you know, what you could have done better.
And, and, how to improve the customer experience and improve the profitability of, of the, of the portable storage industry. Is what I focused in on and, uh, real long story short, you know, when we started pods, um, we only had two, three, four customers out of the gate and the delivery was just eating us alive.
I mean, we couldn’t make, we couldn’t justify charging. The customer, um, what we were actually spending to do a delivery or a pickup. So, uh, it was a loss leader for us. And, and we always thought that as we had density in a market and we can go from house a two blocks over to house B and then, you know, um, have shorted delivery times and optimize the number of jobs a driver and a truck could do in a day that we could start making it a profit center and still keep our prices low enough so that it was appealing to the consumer.
And, uh, that never happened. I, uh, I was invited to the, uh, 20th anniversary of PODS to say a few words and I pulled the CFO aside and, um, asked him, you know, are you guys making money on the delivery system yet? And he looked at me, he said, Pete, if there’s one thing I can get rid of in this, in this business, it would be drivers and the delivery systems.
Um, he said, we lose money. It’s a huge dissatisfier for the consumer. You know, we show up late. Um, we put the container in the wrong place. We, uh, don’t show up at all. You know, they, they’re trying to get a container and it’s, we have a three week delay before we can get you one. Uh, we run over the mailbox and we crack the driveway, all these types of things.
And so, you know, in a market, they may have 30, 40, 50 drivers going around doing deliveries. They’re breaking even at best and have all the headaches and a whole department just to handle the consumer compliance and the consumer had a lot of complaints. And so, uh, the concept of Red Rover, um, was to eliminate the drivers and sort of blend the truck rental business with the portable container business.
And so we, instead of calling it portable, uh, portable storage, we call the fetchable storage because what we. Thank you. Did is we developed a truck that the consumer can drive. Um, it’s got backup cameras and lane departure and emergency braking all these types of things. Uh, the consumer can drive it, come at their leisure and come pick it up.
So if they they wanted at 9 o’clock, but they don’t show up until 10 o’clock. I’m not late. They just chose not to come to 10 o’clock, right? Uh, they can drive home. Um, they can, our latest truck, they can actually back it into the driveway. It’s got a backup camera. It shows you where the container is going to end up.
And they can get out, and they push a single button, and the container will detach itself from the truck. Raise up set itself down on the driveway and then the machine comes back onto the truck itself. And so they physically did the delivery on their own and they bring us the truck back. And now the next customer customer can use it and we don’t charge him a dime for it.
We don’t charge for. The truck, we don’t charge for fuel or mileage. we even pay for tolls. Uh, we give a free truck. Yeah, uh, so they’re getting an entirely free truck. We’re not charging them to pods as a 200 to 500 delivery fee on average across the
which is not bad it they charged me. Yeah, they charged me 250 bucks. It wasn’t bad It came from really far away I’d say at least an hour and a half away that the person came dropped it off picked up the package It was really inexpensive. I could see how you would lose money on it But if you’re offering it for free doesn’t that undo what you were talking about?
Which is you had an expense that was never going away a loss that was never going away If you’re
Well, did get rid of the expense, though. I mean, it’s it’s still yeah, it’s still a lost leader. Um, we make our money as as portable storage. We make our money on the recurring revenue off of the container in our warehouse or in your driveway or going across the country. Um, so yes, giving away the truck.
But that’s a that’s a. Uh, calculated expense that we can factor into maybe our, our warehouse pricing, pricing or some other form, you know, where it’s, um, we’re still less expensive than the competition, but it’s, it does cover the truck over a period of six months or something if you rent the container.
But 45 drivers.
don’t have the drivers going around. I don’t have the customer complaints if the customer runs over their mailbox. I say, geez, I’m sorry to hear that. I hope you didn’t hurt my truck. Right? Where if I run over the mailbox, I’m fixing the mailbox. Right? So whole role reversal.
We’re never late. We never put it in the wrong place. The consumer saving that to you in your case, 250. The consumer saving two to 500. I’m saving 45 employees and all of the back office stuff to fix the issues and the problems and the customer complaints and I have a happier customer that saved money and I saved a ton of headaches.
So, that’s the core difference between us and um, And, uh, pods were pods dropped in between the full service mover and a truck rental. We’ve dropped our fetchable storage between, um, a portable storage and truck rental. And you know, I sort of say, how does the truck rental companies compete with a free truck?
If we’re giving you the truck for free, right, um, that’s hard to the truck rentals to compete with them. You know, now the alternative is you can go to full service, you know, pods. I shouldn’t say full service. You can go to pods solution. And, um, and have it delivered and pay for that, or you can, you can go to a truck rental, but now if you go rent a truck, you have to then take it to a mini storage, right?
If you’re going to store it at all, you have to take it to the mini storage and unload it in the mini storage and reverse that process. So we’re, we’re an easier solution, um, a more reliable solution and more cost effective solution for the consumer. And, uh, I think that’s what really sets us apart. And as we build a brand and consumer awareness, I think that we can really dominate and take market share from both the truck rental sector as well as the, uh, uh, portable storage sector.
Most people are terrible drivers as it is. You’re going to put a 20 foot, 24 foot truck in their hands and have them drive it? And they could do it?
Um, Uhaul has been doing that for 80 years, 100 years. Um, you know, there’s really no difference. Our trucks are easier, they’re much more comfortable to drive. As I say, we have lane departure, so if you, you deviate, you get a little distracted. We have, um, uh, emergency braking on the trucks. We have backup cameras and, um, um, the radar that tells you if you’re too close to the curb and all these things.
So we, we’ve got a lot of automation in them. Uh, we can also lock and unlock the doors and we can track where you are and things like that. So, our process is. The consumer books it and we have facilities all around town. It’s sort of like a U Haul or a truck rental company. We have facilities around town.
They book the, they book the truck on a phone app. They, um, the day of, they want the truck, they pull up to the gate, they push in a code and the, the gate opens for them, they can get out of their car, they can leave their car in the secure area, they get in their assigned truck, the truck lights. Flash and I think the horn still beeps anyway, but we they know which truck is theirs They can push another button and the truck unlocks for him.
The keys are in it they drive it home bring it back and get in their car and they’re done and It’s a lot simpler process. That’s it. The consumer, the consumer controls his whole destiny. And then we, we, what I call cafeteria plan. We can, we can let the customer do 100% themselves. They can come get the truck. They can drive it home. They can put the container in the driveway. They bring us the truck back.
They can pack their dishes, load, load, uh, load the container up and box things up and they can do 100% themselves. And, um, Get it in storage or we’ll move it across the country and they can reverse the process or we, we actually will do 100% for you. So we will actually send a crew, put the container in your driveway, load the container, we’ll wrap your dishes and your box, your clothing and wrap your and lift everything up and put it in the container for you and do the full service move.
So. And you can do anything in between. If you just, if you want to do 90% of it, but you want us to send out a crew to do all the heavy stuff, you know, if you’ve got a safe or whatever it is, a heavy furniture, we’ll send a crew out and we’ll just do that piece for you. you, you know, if you want us to bring you the truck, we’ll bring you the truck.
And I’m guessing that that is not employees of, I’m guessing that’s not Red Rover’s employees who are doing it. That is you partnering up with outside companies and having them do it, right? Yeah,
yeah, 90% of it, especially the packing and stuff. Um, I don’t have the issues. I don’t have the liability and, you know, or the headaches and stuff. But, uh, yeah, we have to manage that third party company, but we do have a national footprint now with, uh, Um, service in all markets, um, and you know, our drivers, our, our employees will drive it.
If you absolutely don’t want to drive the truck, you know, you’re, you don’t like the 20 foot side, the thoughts of driving a 24 foot truck, uh, we can have the container delivered to you. Or if you’re using our other truck with the ramp, we’ll drop that all for you and then come back and get it. So it’s really a total menu.
We’re empowering the consumer, which, you know, the millennials today, they want to be empowered and, uh, it’s all a matter of choice.
What’s the revenue now at red Rover?
Uh, you know, Red Rover, we’ve just gotten off the ground, we, we, uh, raised a lot of money, um, last January, 14, 15 months ago, whatever it was, January, January 2022, we raised a lot of additional money. Um, and so 2022 was a year of, uh, opening our markets, our footprint and stuff. Tough time because, uh, interest rates started to go up and, and, um, uh, real estate, commercial real estate was really tough.
And of course, we were a startup and we were losing and still are losing money. Um, but, uh, so 2022, we, we, uh, went from five markets nationwide to 15 markets nationwide. Um, and that was our focus. Last year, this year, we’re just kind of in the moving season. We want to try and capture that those lanes and stuff.
Um, you know, the direct the direct answer to your question is our revenues are still in the teens, um, um, but, uh, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re projected out to, to, uh, Become cashflow positive and even a positive, um, uh, May, June of next year. So we, still got another year of, of, uh, growth. Go
so 10 to 20 million and overall you raise, it looks like almost 70 million in funding, right?
Correct. Correct. Which is a pretty unusual for a, for a startup with an unknown product. Right. And it’s not a, it’s not a tech product. It’s a more nuts and bolts.
You know, Pete, it seems surprisingly more tech than I anticipated. I didn’t realize how much tech went into the trucks. And of course you have to. Buy your own trucks. You can’t, um, you can’t just get empty storage facilities and find a clever way to fill them up. You’re buying trucks, you’re making them your own, you’re hiring people.
It’s a pretty intense, um, big effort here. And the goal is to do what, why do another company?
you know, as I, as I said, I tried to sell the idea to, uh. Um, pods early on and I went to the CEO and I said, listen, I got this idea. I’ll help you get it kicked off. I, and I was basically looking for five or 10 every time they rented a box using this idea and staying in retirement, not coming out and stuff.
And, uh, the CEO would not sign a non compete non disclosure. The, uh, uh, I waited a few more weeks or a month or so and contacted the, um, one of the board members and they didn’t want to sign it. Um, you know, so, uh. I just couldn’t let it go. You know, it’s that type a personality and entrepreneurial spirit and stuff.
And so I said, you know what? I’ll build this. I’ll show the world what this product is, and I’ll go through some sort of process, whether I take the company public or I sell it. Uh, yeah, we probably have another 3 to 5 years of growth before I can really attract some serious money. Um, but, uh, you know, the, uh, our investors, uh, see the vision and see the path to success.
Um, we just created a new industry, um, where we’re being disruptive again, and I think that, uh, you know, as we, uh, get the market awareness, we’ll, uh, we’ll become as successful or even more successful than PODS is. Now, this is a revenue stream that PODS doesn’t have. We have all the revenue streams that PODS has, but they don’t have this particular one where the consumer can drive the truck because their truck is too complicated.
Ours, ours was all done with systems. Software, uh, and the hydraulics, um, computers to, to allow you to pick up a 10, 000 pound box and put it on
Yeah, that automation is amazing. Alright, and the whole, uh, the, the website is redrovers with an S at the end. I hope you find a way to get redrover. com from this site that does not look like it’s been touched since the early days of the internet. And, uh, Google keeps warning me that it’s unsafe to even go to.
Uh, so I gotta believe at some point you’ll be able to lock that down.
The problem is they, they may not have touched a site in years, but they’re New Yorkers, and New Yorkers are like, they care about money, and they will negotiate with you for pleasure. Um, I know I am one, uh, originally anyway, and at heart. All right, I want to thank my two sponsors first, uh, If you’re hiring developers, go check out lemon.
io slash Mixergy. Phenomenal developers at more than reasonable prices, and they will match you up to make sure you can get what you need now more than ever. Price matters. Good developers matter and you need them. So go check them out at lemon. io slash Mixergy. And as a followup to this interview. Check out my second interview where I talk to DAO creators, and that’s available at joinorigami.
com Slash podcast. Thanks everyone.