Equiptal, a Saudi-Arabia-based logistics startup, has raised a $1 million pre-Seed round from Plug and Play Middle East and a group of angel investors.
Founded by Ali Merie and Mansour Hmaid, the startup offers a marketplace for heavy equipment, where contractors can connect directly with suppliers. According to Merie, the funds will be used to grow the startup's headcount and increase its footprint in its home market.
“Being a contractor myself, I knew the pain points on the supplier side as well as the contractor side," he said. "[We] mostly focused on solving the contractor's issues pertaining to the sourcing part. For the time being, the Gega projects have very short timelines and rigorous construction requirements, so contractors actually faced a lot of issues trying to source their machinery for short and long-term rentals, which is always a challenge for the procurement departments.”
Alongside that, the startup also incorporates a fleet management solution backed by telematics technology, which helps contractors make the best use of the equipment on the ground. That way, it helps the contractors manage multiple pieces of equipment at a specific site, rein in unnecessary expenses, and minimise downtime while keeping CO2 emissions in check.
The biggest challenge facing the startup now, according to Merie, is the limited availability of time for contractors to test out and adopt new technologies. Since its inception last year, the startup has onboarded 700 suppliers, serving around 100 contractors.
On the supplier side, the SaaS solution also helps them monitor and keep track of the equipment’s performance on the ground and intervene when the equipment is idle. The solution offered by the startup helps the suppliers rent out their equipment faster, extending their market share as well as building credibility.
“Previously, an on-site supervisor was required to oversee equipment operations and monitor working hours at the construction site. However, with our solution, contractors can conveniently monitor this information remotely from their laptops, whether they are in the office or any other location,” said Merie.
The startup has operations across development projects in Saudi Arabia, particularly those taking place across the Red Sea coast, including Neom City, with more coming up in its pipeline. For Equiptal, the target market is $3 trillion, representing the value of projects slated for execution within the next three to five years.