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On-demand fuel provider Booster gets $125M...boost

May 25, 2022
Illustration of a fleet of cars on a hundred dollar bill with Benjamin Franklin's eyes peering through.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Booster, a startup that provides energy to vehicle fleets on-demand, raised just over $125 million in Series D funding.

Why it matters: Fleet managers are not transitioning to fully electric vehicles in one fell swoop, and managing the different needs of aging vehicles with new EVs can add enough complexity to discourage the transition entirely.

Driving the news: Rose Park Advisors led the round and will gain a board seat as part of the deal. Booster CEO Frank Mycroft declined to disclose the valuation of the round.

  • New investors in the Series D include Chaac Ventures, Equinor Ventures, Mitsubishi Corporation and Thayer Ventures.
  • Several existing investors also re-upped in the round, including Cercano Management, Conversion Capital, Enterprise Holding Ventures, Invus Opportunities, Madrona Venture Group, Maveron Ventures, Perot Jain L.P. and Version One Ventures.
  • Renewable Energy Group also increased its strategic investment as part of the round.

How it works: Booster supplies its customers, typically logistics and delivery companies, with on-demand fuel supplies when fleet vehicles are not in use.

  • Booster's own fleet of trucks — some of which Mycroft says run on biofuel — bring biodiesel, traditional fuel and stored electricity for EVs overnight to fleets waiting to hit the road in the morning.
  • It charges customers a per-vehicle fee to fuel up, but some customers have access to a subscription product that also includes data sent from the vehicles to Booster to manage fuel use and route mapping.

Between the lines: Booster is betting that traditional vehicles will continue to make up a majority of fleets in the U.S. and that traditional fuel prices will remain high.

Yes, but: Mycroft wants Booster to become the Amazon of vehicle fuel regardless of what form the fuel itself takes.

  • That tight-margin, high efficiency approach now widely accepted in e-commerce is partly to blame for existing supply chain crises affecting consumer goods.
  • While it may be inconvenient to wait months for a couch, a crunch in fleet fuel could be catastrophic.

💭 Our thought bubble: On-demand vehicle fuel is an intriguing idea that could improve mobility for disadvantaged communities should it become accessible for broader populations.

  • But that depends on the delivery mechanism humming along as promised.
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