By Zach Armstrong – Digital Producer
November 13, 2022
CEO and co-founder of Carpool Logistics Michael Malakhovgot $2 million in July from Atlanta Ventures to double both his customers and staff by the end of the year.
Launched in 2021, his Atlanta Tech Village-based startup connects vehicle shippers with auto haulers that have available space on their trucks, which cuts costs and emissions. He delayed getting outside capital until the startup tested its product in the market to gauge the need.Now, he says his company has been able to attain consistent customers and reach around $400,000 in monthly revenue.
What led to your career? I got a job outof college with C.H. Robinson and spent16 years there with leadership roles. I was building out a business for the Southeast focused on flatbed shipping called LTL Consolidation. Then they sent me over to Europe to oversee operations. When I came back, I ran this pallet consolidation network for them, which was an idea that Iused for building Carpool Logistics.
What’s been the biggest influence in your career? I’ve lived in a communist country, a socialist country and a capitalist country. I grew up knowing you can’t really achieve success without being in government or something of that sort.Coming into the U.S., the American dream is alive and well because I live it every day.
What’s been the biggest business challenge? As a startup,you have multiple different functions to manage and you’re trying to figure out where to spend most of your time. The other one is developing the team, as talent development is the most important thing that we do.What is the most rewarding part of your job? Developing people is definitely my most rewarding part. I love seeing people grow in their careers and growing their income.
What’s been the hardest business lesson for you? Getting The right people. When you’re a startup, every single team member matters. You need to have A players, not B and C players. You need people that are accountable that canexecute and meet goals.
What are the big changes in the logistics industry? In the midst of Covid, there was a significant increase in demand,which created disruption cycles within supply chain for the freight and automotive industry. There was a mismatch between supply and demand, but we’re trying to find an equilibrium right now.
What has it been like at Atlanta Tech Village? You run into folks that are trying to invent and create things. Being a founder, it’s not all rosy. There are great days and tough days, and it’s nice to walk through the hallway and run into another founder and have a quick chat. It helps rebuild your energy.
How is Carpool navigating inflation and interest rates?
There is too much demand to purchase vehicles but not enough supply. So even though interest rates are going up,people are still purchasing vehicles, because people put iton hold until vehicles became available. For us, the market is extremely fragmented, so this is a great time to invest in technology to build on our product.
What are the next steps to grow your business? We’ve Brought on additional folks to help us with product development, sales and operations. The goal is to continue to accelerate in all of those areas and we’re still hiring in all of those segments. The goal is to raise another round nextfall.What are the pros and cons of being in Atlanta? Atlanta is agreat supply chain city and a logistics hub. There’s tons of supply chain talent for developers. But it is becoming more competitive, so there’s a lot of the large companies that are coming in and the salaries are increasing significantly. So fora startup, that is a little bit of a challenge, because we don’thave unlimited funds like everybody else.