When Zirx announced last February its plans to shut down its on-demand valet parking startup, it wasn’t clear what the company meant when it said it would focus on the enterprise. Today, Zirx co-founder Sean Behr is pulling the curtains off of Stratim, a platform for enterprise clients to manage their car fleets.
Over the last year or so, Stratim has been conducting pilot tests with 50 companies, including BMW (DriveNow), General Motors (Maven), Ford (Chariot) and Toyota, to power their respective mobility services.
“What I think will happen over the long run — companies that can efficiently take care of their cars, minimize costs and be hyper-efficient will be the companies that win in the long run for mobility,” Behr told TechCrunch.
With Zirx, Behr and his team already had partnerships and a system in place to track the location of cars and provide extra services like car washes, repairs and gas fill-ups.
“We’ve basically gone from a world where we were valet parking our own cars to using same kind of technology but basically letting other people, namely mobility services company, use our technology to power their back-end solutions,” Behr said.
Through Stratim’s vendor marketplace, for example, Ford can request gas fill-ups for its Chariot shuttles. The next day, a fuel company will come to fill up the tanks and then send that information back into the system. With Stratim, Ford and other companies have a dashboard to better “understand how much money is spent on fueling, car washes, windshields and tire repairs,” Behr said.
Rather than charge a monthly fee, Stratim charges customers based on usage. Already, Stratim is doing better than ZIRX, Behr said. While the valet business was only live in six markets, Stratim is live in 20 markets. Year-over-year, Stratim has experienced 10x growth in services offered and expects to become profitable by the first quarter of 2019.
“Instead of losing money valet parking we’re making money on mobility,” Behr said.
With the rise of on-demand ride services and autonomous vehicles, Behr envisions Stratim becoming the tech platform that helps these companies keep tabs on the services needed in their fleet of cars. Self-driving cars, Behr said, “are amazing, but the car still needs to be clean and have tires with air in them. If none of those things work, then the self-driving algorithm isn’t so useful.”
Over the next 12 months, Stratim wants to bring some more mobility services on board and wants to ensure it can launch its services in the markets where its customers want to expand.
“Chariot said they want to be in eight more markets next year,” Behr said. “I want to make sure I’m with them in those markets helping them move forward.”
When Zirx pivoted to Stratim, the company employed 30 people. As part of the pivot, the company did let some people go, Behr said. Today, 35 people work at Stratim with 80 percent of the employee-base being the same from Zirx, Behr said.
Zirx had previously raised over $36.4 million from investors like Bessemer Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, BMW’s iVentures and others. The leftover funding has rolled over, but Behr does think Stratim may raise money again at some point.