EquipmentShare, the Airbnb of construction, raises $26 million

It hasn’t even been a year since EquipmentShare raised a Series A round of funding, but the “Airbnb of construction rentals,” has closed a $26 million Series B round. The Columbia, Missouri-based startup helps contractors rent out their under-utilized equipment, or rent safety tested equipment that they need from a fellow contractor.

Last year, EquipmentShare also launched a telematics system for contractors called ES Track that allows them to automatically gather data about their equipment, whether it’s parked, being used on a job, or rented out. The data are displayed on a digital dashboard that’s easy to read on a mobile device or PC.

The company sends technicians out to install the ES Track system on contractors’ equipment to get them started. The system, and installation service, has helped contractors get ready for a new federal regulation set to take effect later this year, called the ELD rule, which requires drivers to use “electronic logging devices,” to record driving time, hours of service and more about their fleets.

EquipmentShare’s co-founders, brothers William and Jabbok Schlacks, said they intend to use their new capital to expand into new markets across the US, and to develop predictive analytics for contractors. Comparing an excavator or a crane’s performance data against a huge database of historic records, EquipmentShare can surmise when equipment is about to break down. The idea is to help contractors avoid dangerous and costly problems like a blown engine, but also help them allocate maintenance work only as-needed.

The Series B round of funding, led by Insight Venture Partners with Romulus Capital, included $6 million in shares that converted from an earlier Series A round and $20 million in new capital. Y Combinator also invested.

Sensors and predictive analytics go well beyond the original marketplace that EquipmentShare created. Its evolution into a higher tech entity is one reason that Romulus re-upped its investment in the company, through its Romulus Growth fund. Romulus General Partner Neil Chheda said, “EquipmentShare has found a way to make assets more efficient with technology, in an industry that hasn’t historically embraced it,” he said.

Including construction equipment, tools and equipment for special events, the American Rental Association’s ARA Rental Market Monitor expects the overall equipment rental market to top $51.8 billion this year in North America. The sizable market has drawn more than EquipmentShare to the industry. Competitors to EquipmentShare include Caterpillar-backed Yard Club, “equipment concierge” Getable, and Dozr in Canada.