Pumping gas is slow, uncomfortable, inconvenient and there has to be a better way. That’s the idea behind Booster Fuels.
The San Mateo-based startup operates a fleet of purple tanker trucks that buzz around parking lots and fill up cars while the owners are at work. Booster, which was founded in 2014, now has thousands of fuels, deliveries daily in two major metro markets and Fortune 500 clients that include Cisco, Oracle, Gilead and Pepsi.
“It’s always a magical feeling when you see that product market fit,” said CEO Frank Mycroft. “People just keep coming back.”
Booster was launched in Seattle, but moved to the Bay Area for an unusual reason.
“The Bay Area is a place where you have lots of companies, lots of commuters and traffic is bad in a way that is just on another order of magnitude from a smaller metro like Seattle,” Mycroft said. “It’s a place where we knew we could grow without reaching an upper limit.”
The company says it decreases the number of cars on the road, leading to less congestion and cleaner air. According to a study from Hexagon Transportation Consultants Inc., the company is able to eliminate roughly 1.5 miles of travel per delivery because people don’t need to drive out of the way to fuel up. Multiply that over the course of a year and the company claims that it took more than 250,000 miles off the road in 2016.
A customer parks at work in the morning, opens the app, requests “a boost,” flips open their fuel cap and walks into work. Then, one of Booster’s trucks will come around to fill up the vehicle before the end of the day.
Still, it hasn’t always been sunshine for the company. Last year, Booster halted its service in Santa Clara after pushback from the city’s fire department, which was concerned with safety and regulatory standards. But Booster worked closely with city regulators and stakeholders to win the necessary approvals to operate eventually.
Despite that hiccup, Booster has been able to grow quickly and efficiently for two major reasons. One, is the strong relationship with suppliers, which allow them to provide fuel at costs competitive with value gas stations. The second is that the company operates exclusively on private commercial property, signing partnerships with companies like Chegg, Mercedes-Benz and recently, the massive office park at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon.
“We’re always looking to provide our tenants with new and innovative amenities and services and Booster Fuels is a prime example of that,” said Harout Hagopian of Sunset Development Co., which owns Bishop Ranch.