By Rachel Burchfield/BBA
Many great business ideas stem from seeing a need for improvement. The story of Fleetio, a Birmingham-born company, begins there.
Fleetio builds fleet management and GPS tracking software with the goal of helping fleets in any industry and any size track, analyze and improve fleet operations.
The company has quadrupled its number of employees in three years and are currently hiring more. Last May, Fleetio graduated from Innovation Depot and moved into its own space in downtown Birmingham.
But long before the company’s formation in 2012, there was a need for improvement. Fleetio founder Tony Summerville worked his summers as a kid for his dad, who is president of Inline Electric Supply. Inline had a fleet and Summerville became interested in how the company’s fleet management operations could be improved, specifically through software development.
“I started thinking through the types of things that were important in a business like that and the fleet was one of those things,” he said. “It interested me enough to keep researching it and talking to other businesses, getting the lay of the land.”
After an exorbitant amount of research, Fleetio launched six years ago. The company works with any company that has a fleet of vehicles, which Fleetio calls “rolling assets.” Their diverse fleet makeup covers industries from construction to service providers like carpet cleaners and landscapers. Fleets range in size from five to 10 to thousands.
Fleetio currently offers two products: Fleetio Manage and Fleetio Drive. Fleetio Manage is the all-in-one fleet management software that can, for example, log odometer readings or how much the driver paid at the pump for gas. The newer Fleetio Drive, launched a year ago, can track the fleet’s drivers and monitor their safety through iPhone and Android mobile devices. Is the driver texting while driving? What routes do drivers take on a daily basis?
Fleetio is currently in 55 countries and is differentiated by its modern approach – Fleetio is more mobile compared to older web-based solutions – and is known worldwide for its customer relations.
“We take customer feedback very seriously,” said Lori Sullivan, Fleetio’s marketing director. “We get a lot of feedback from customers and it actually gets implemented on the product side. Our customers get delight out of that, that we take our feedback seriously. The customer experience is something we focus on heavily.”
Sullivan said Fleetio is in “hypergrowth mode.” Since her arrival at the company three years ago, the business has boomed from six or seven employees to now employing 30, with a handful of jobs currently open.
In addition to personnel expansion and a facility change in the last year, Fleetio continues to move the needle forward in the technology sector, said Devon Laney, president and CEO of Innovation Depot.
“We are impressed with Fleetio’s continued growth, not just in personnel, but in the scope of their business,” Laney said. “The innovative solution Fleetio brings to fleet management is really moving the entire industry forward and we are so proud to have them as an Innovation Depot graduate.”
About half of the staff is at Fleetio’s headquarters in downtown Birmingham, and the other half work remotely around the country, in line with the company’s commitment to hire the best of the best, no matter their geographic location.
“Everybody is really good at what they do,” Summerville said. “They are the best in the world at what they do for our company every day.”
Though they serve customers all over the world, the company’s heart firmly remains in Birmingham.
“It’s fun to be in the same area where a lot of history has happened but to be a part of a new generation of people making the city an exciting place to live in every day,” he said. “I love living here.”
At now six years old, what do the next six years look like for Fleetio?
“I hope we really continue to grow at the same trajectory,” Summerville said. “The last couple of years we have really hit our stride and become a more dominant force in fleet management. Six years from now we hope to be a much bigger company, continually changing the landscape and having the opportunity to grow in reach and impact around the world.”