EquipmentShare Snags $5.5M for “Airbnb” of Construction Machinery

Dallas—EquipmentShare, an online marketplace for construction equipment, has raised $5.5 million in a Series A funding round.

Boston’s Romulus Capital is providing the funding. EquipmentShare essentially works to bring the construction site into the digital age. The company’s website works as its name suggests: contractors, construction firms, and the like with idle equipment—forklifts, cranes, bulldozers—can find others online who will want to rent the equipment.

Jabbok Schlacks co-founded EquipmentShare along with his brother Willy, and he estimates that there is about $3 trillion worth of construction assets available to contractors. His company’s software can “empower” that equipment, he says.

“Once you know where that is, how it’s being used, this allows the contractor to do management, job costing, numerous other things that they were never really capable of before,” Schlacks says.

EquipmentShare recently expanded into the Dallas and Jacksonville, FL, markets. Some of the funds will be used to develop software that will allow contractors to “geofence” the equipment. “Contractors can see where it’s getting used,” says Neil Chheda, a Romulus co-founder.

EquipmentShare started in Feburary 2015 in Columbia, MO, and also operates in New Zealand. Schlacks and his brother grew up in a commune where no one owned property, as they told my colleague, Greg Huang, last year. But having left the commune, the brothers had a series of construction companies. That’s where Schlacks said he saw the need for EquipmentShare.

Last year, the company raised a $2 million seed financing round led by Romulus, with Ashton Kutcher, Krillion Ventures, and others participating.

While there is talk this election year of an uncertain economy, both Schlacks and Chheda say EquipmentShare is poised to do well whichever forecast ends up coming to light. If construction projects dry up in one part of the country, the idle equipment can be used elsewhere.

“With our system, when you’re not using it, it can be used elsewhere,” Schlacks says. “Instead of it being a liability, you’re making money.”

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