At first blush, the concept of a diesel delivery service might appear the pinnacle of consumerist excess, but this, UK startup Zebra Fuel adamantly asserts, is not the case.
In the US, fuel delivery companies – Booster Fuel, Yoshi, Gas Ninjas – are in-demand, often hired to fill up every vehicle in a vast car park, and sometimes offered as an employee perk at certain Silicon Valley stalwarts according to Saloni Bhojwani, Zebra Fuel’s head of growth.
According to Bhojwani, after living in LA and observing the success of fuel delivery companies there, co-founder Reda Bennis wondered: “‘Why don’t I set something up like this in London?'” While most would be hesitant to draw parallels between gaz-guzzling California and the UK’s capital – where car ownership has been falling for years – the young co-founders persisted with the idea.
Both have a background in entrepreneurship. Bennis founded a venture capital firm while in business school, and his partner Romain Saint Guilhem previously co-founded a vodka company, and according to Bhojwani, has dabbled in “mini skateboards” designed to worn on each foot that he reportedly sports around the office. Early in 2017, the company reported raising $2.5 million in seed funding from investors such as the co-founder of Zoopla.
According to the company, the market for diesel in London is worth £10 billion per annum, and £5 billion for the business market. Unsurprisingly, the company’s initial target demographic was wealthy Londoners, with Bhojwani specifically mentioning west Londoners, ‘yummy mummies’ and the residents of Fulham.
However, since its launch in 2016, the company’s business model has already undergone a pivot, citing a lack of loyalty in customers. Despite the website being still seemingly targeted towards individual consumers, Bhojwani claims that businesses make up 90 percent of their customers now.
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