Munich Startup: Who are you and what does Truckoo do? Please introduce yourselves!
Julia Unützer, Truckoo: I’m Julia Unützer and I founded the startup truckoo.com together with Max Füchsl. After many years of experience in consulting, our time at various ventures in Berlin and Sydney and, on my co-founder’s side, many years of active experience in the commercial vehicle industry, we and our team are now buildingthe first digital infrastructure for the trading of commercial vehicles. We met very early in life and didn’t really have a choice since we have the same parents – we’re siblings!
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Julia Unützer: To understand our approach, we need to explain commercial vehicle trading a bit. Commercial vehicles aren’t built simply for mobility, but rather for very specific uses and are designed to deal with light or heavy loads. A commercial vehicle isn’t a car – which means how trading works is fundamentally different in our industry. Local dealers buy the vehicles from local companies and park them in their lots. With advertising portals like mobile.de, they then look for export customers. This is a very reactive approach that involves very high purchasing costs with a high risk of price decline as well as prolonged lot time and maintenance costs.
The fundamental problem is the matching up of customers and vehicles on the existing advertising portals, and here’s why: increasing customer needs, a lack of transparency regarding the true condition of the vehicles, time-consuming searching and a journey of up to 2,000 km between the customer and the potential vehicles.
Truckoo uses repair shops as partners
At Truckoo, we’re taking a new approach with repair shops as partners. Repair shops serve as lead generators for buying and selling within the network.
On the one hand, there are now more than 120 repair shops that act as purchase stations for their customers. At the repair shops, the vehicle is checked from the inspection pit and is then offered in real time on our platform to trade partners in 23 countries. The offers are transparent and come with a Truckoo guarantee. The dealers negotiate with end customers on our platform until a price is agreed upon. We buy immediately and guarantee the entire process, from registration to vehicle hand-over and even the handling of documents.
On the other hand, our repair shops are linked with us digitally and send us their customers’ search inquiries every day. We are the organizers and infrastructure as well as the reliable partner for everyone involved.
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Julia Unützer: Then perhaps our explanation was a big long-winded. Current trading is reactive and depends on existing ad portals like mobile.de and is greatly limited in its range. Truckoo is digital commercial vehicle trade 4.0 – based on an international network of repair shops as active lead generators for buying and selling and on a reliable infrastructure that makes active trading possible in the first place.
Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?
Julia Unützer: Item 1: Definitely looking for a tech architect right at the beginning of Truckoo. It almost sounds too good to be true, but we actually found a super experienced tech architect who really helped out and built an MVP for a small fee. By today’s standards, our MVP is still the clear USP of our company and has essentially remained the same.
Item 2: We knew the vehicles would need to be sold internationally at an early stage. The secondary market for specific vehicle configurations is often very far abroad. We already actively use 12 languages. Other startups take that kind of step after one or two years – we had to build the necessary, expandable infrastructure for it early on.
Item 3: We got started during the first corona lockdown phase in spring 2020. Our current partners were busy making other decisions at that point in time. In retrospect, the lockdowns and the closing of international borders were a welcome way for us to get started. Corona revealed that the industry is about to undergo significant transformation.
Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years?
Julia Unützer: We currently have more than 120 German repair shops as active partners in our network. We’re constantly growing and will accelerate that growth internationally starting in mid-2022. We’re establishing a full-coverage network and are making the emerging network effect palpable for every repair shop involved. The technology is growing rapidly as well, and we can already show our industry what digitization means for us. One thing is clear: We have a lot of big plans, and the route is well defined. Starting in 2026, we’ll no longer be a startup – at that point, we’ll be the standard in our industry.
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Julia Unützer: There aren’t many cities with a startup community that makes it possible to have its own online magazine for startups. Our thanks go to Munich Startup for the work you do! In Munich, many good performers see the alternatives offered by a startup as something to give them a new perspective. We appreciate that.
Munich Startup: Car or bike?
Julia Unützer: Without a doubt: bike! The intelligent 1/5 PS mobility version with low energy input and you’re still faster in city traffic.