Chattanooga company REPOWR rolls out new shipping platform

Contributed photo / Spencer Ware, left, and Patrick Visintainer
Contributed photo / Spencer Ware, left, and Patrick Visintainer

* Entrepreneurs: Spencer Ware, co-founder and CEO; Patrick Visintainer, co-founder and COO

* Year founded: 2021

* Company: REPOWR

* Employees: 22

What services do you provide?

REPOWR is a platform that connects trucking companies, freight brokers and shippers to seamlessly exchange trailers with one another. With REPOWR, trucking companies can monetize idle fleet trailers and optimize trailer usage. Logistics companies can leverage REPOWR to find trailers and book them, through a pay-per-use model. The network creates a mutually beneficial experience for both sides, helping companies quickly adapt to market changes and volatility.

How did you develop this idea?

Before REPOWR, Patrick spent seven years working with a flatbed trucking company. In that role, he coordinated customer freight loads. Prior to pickup, he had to find a company trailer and coordinate the pickup. Often, trailers get stuck in remote locations and drivers have to travel hundreds of miles to pick them up.

For me, I spent about seven years as a commercial insurance broker. Many of my clients were transportation fleets. I noticed many were growing their fleet size each year, yet their revenue didn't reflect that.

Each year, I found myself asking the same questions: "You have 100 more trucks and 250 more trailers than last year?" They would often say yes, and for similar reasons: a) that they didn't have drivers; b) they lost a big contract; or c) that the trucks/trailers were stuck at customer locations with little to no activity.

My customers did not want to sell the trucks/trailers, and at the time, there was no way to lease out the assets until they had the drivers. I couldn't stop thinking about how expensive these trucks and trailers were to insure, let alone purchase, operate and maintain. I began asking large companies if they had underutilized trucks and trailers. All said yes.

So we figured out the underlying problem. Logistics companies/transportation fleets struggle to maximize the use of trailers. And trailers are always in high-demand, so it doesn't make sense for them to sit unused for months.

We started meeting with large trucking companies and asked: "How many trailers do you have sitting idle for more than 14 days? What if you could make money by renting them out on a short-term basis?"

These companies bought into the vision and REPOWR was born. In April 2021, REPOWR's first fleet customer was a massive Phoenix, Arizona-based truckload fleet -- Knight Transportation. A few months later, Knight had generated over six figures on REPOWR. Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation later merged to form Knight-Swift. And in 2023, Knight-Swift ended up acquiring Chattanooga-based US Xpress.

How did you end up in Chattanooga?

We founded the company in Birmingham. After completing an accelerator program, we met Ted Alling, who is also from Birmingham. Soon after, Ted introduced us to Cam Doody and Matt Patterson -- and said they were "cooking up something big." This "something big" ended up being Brickyard Capital, a venture fund that Ted, Cam, Matt, Allan Davis and Barry Large were kickstarting. The timing was perfect, as Patrick and I were already meeting with venture capital funds to raise $500,000 to fuel REPOWR's growth. Brickyard ended up leading that fundraise and we began working in Chattanooga.

Biggest obstacle so far:

When we launched REPOWR, the pandemic had paralyzed many aspects of the trucking industry and exposed the importance of trailer utilization. The trucking industry was in total chaos in 2020 and 2021, but we relentlessly pursued the REPOWR vision and created early success. Around April 2022, we entered a recessionary market, so we've been able to navigate the path to success at both ends of the spectrum.

~ Answered by Spencer Ware

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