In 2015 Ben Jackson was a business student at Kansas State University, when he ran into a problem.
“I drove a ’99 Ford Ranger. It’s a tiny little vehicle I would hardly consider a truck,” said Jackson.
He was inundated with requests from friends for he and his truck to help move things across town. Although he enjoyed helping people out, there were way too many requests for him to handle.
“I remember lying in bed thinking, ‘There has to be a better way,’” said Jackson.
When his friend Harrison Proffitt texted him to help him move something, they started dreaming up a business that could solve the problem for everyone.
Out of that conversation they co-founded Bungii, a mobile, on-demand truck transporation service.
The following summer Jackson and Proffitt used Manhattan, Kansas, as their test market for Bungii.
“We put an ad on Craigslist and posted in a Facebook group, and we just started getting phone calls,” said Jackson. “It was nuts.”
What they discovered was that the demand for small truck transporting went well beyond young people.
“Less than a third of our trips were for college students,” said Jackson.
The company also partnered with Pier 1, offering same-day delivery–something that at the time took four days.
“Pier 1 customers loved it because they could get their stuff quickly,” said Jackson. “Pier 1 employees loved it because they could make more sales.”
By the end of the summer, in a town of 60,000, they had completed over 350 trips. That gave them the confidence to begin developing the mobile platform.
“It’s a very complicated app,” said Jackson. “You’ve got real-time GPS tracking, payment processing, server dispatching, an algorithm to find the best driver in the area. There’s a lot of complexity that goes into it.”
According to Jackson, a private investor in Kansas City has invested half a million dollars into the company and is helping the founders with software development. That’s key, as the company has competitors on both coasts.
“Quite frankly it’s a race to see who can scale the fastest,” said Jackson. “We’re confident that our software is the best out of any competitor.”
Now available in Kansas City
As of today, Bungii has officially launched in Kansas City. Local users can download the app or apply to be a driver. Notably, the application process to be a Bungii driver is more stringent than for Uber drivers.
“The level of service is greater than Uber,” said Jackson. “Our drivers all help load and unload. They have to be able to lift 150 pounds.”
The company plans to expand quickly into other major cities in the Midwest.
If you are interested in having Bungii come to your community, you can let them know you want it on their web site.
Ryan Pendell is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.