A recent article in The Seattle Times covering teen entrepreneur Max Lock, and his Portland-based logistics startup Fleet, announced that Hunt Technology Ventures LP, a Dallas-area venture capital firm, headed funding for the new venture to the tune of $4 million.
Hunt is no newcomer to the field of early stage technology companies. In the past five years, several biotech efforts have been funded by this venture capital firm. This particular set of funding Hunt has put forward is noteworthy. CrunchBase lists Fleet as Hunt’s first seed venture.
Nineteen-year-old Lock skipped out on college — going straight from coding bootcamp to CEO — in hopes that his experience as an IT administrator and the ingenuity he demonstrated in a quest to ship ice cream more quickly that took TechCrunch Disrupt (the noteworthy pitch competition) by storm would pay.
To some it might seem like a gamble. But to many in the tech world, like venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who awarded Lock a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship as the runner-up in the 2014 competition, this decision makes sense. Thiel’s initial investment seems to have paid off, as Lock has grown the year-old company into a hub for small and medium-sized shippers.
Lock’s winning idea was simple. It was based on his love of fresher-tasting ice cream. All he needed to do was create a bidding system for shippers and freight forwarders to communicate in his implementation. By leaving the fax, traditional advertising and antiquated telephony systems behind to create the Fleet Quoting Marketplace, Lock has disrupted an entire labor market. With an office of 13 employees — that recently relocated to Portland to be close to its source of business — that is looking to take on more, it seems that this simple idea has in fact provided a big payoff.
Four million dollars is a lot of capital for any nascent company. Entities looking to fund based on simple disruptions will be anxious to see it continue to do well. Placid Ventures LP, David S. Hunt, 1517 Fund, LatAm Partners LLC, GrowthX Fund, NFQ and Telegraph Hill Capital also contributed to the initial funding round.