but the departments were connected,
so I’d wander over.
In college, a friend convinced me we’d
learn more starting a company than
going to class. Right or wrong, I kind of
bought into it. We started Miami Muscles, which sold supplements across the
country through people we’d known
growing up, who’d make commissions
by selling on their college campuses.
Then we found a handheld portable
mixer that instantly dissolved protein
powders in shakes. We rebranded it the
Vortex—and quickly realized selling it
was better than selling supplements.
We partnered with a company called
Nutrabolt, which had relationships with
big retailers. I brokered the distribution
rights, and earned a per-unit royalty
while still in college.
I convinced myself that I was going to
be this really big entrepreneur at a very
young age. But when I was a senior, we
started having some issues with our
manufacturer in China—the units were
becoming defective at an alarming rate—
and Vortex fell apart.
After graduation, my fraternity
brother Eric Dunigan persuaded me to
join him at Command Transportation, a
freight brokerage company in Chicago.
To be honest, at the beginning, I didn’t
know anything about transportation.
But we lived together, and soon we were
joking that we would be able to do this
on our own.
Then the co-founders of Nutrabolt—
Manish Patel and Doss Cunningham—
called us from Texas. Manish said,
“We’re looking to make investments in
young, aggressive entrepreneurs. We
would love to do something with you.”
I thought, “We could build a freight
The conversation started in October
company using Nutrabolt’s domestic
freight.” If you have a large customer
that’s going to guarantee you business
on day one, it will lower the risk of your
business plan. It made the choice a lot
easier for us—and the timing was right.
2013. We spent the next few months
pitching them on the amount of capital
needed and what the projections looked
like, and Eric and I put in our notice
in January. We had a six-month non-compete, so we spent that time getting
We made plans to move to Austin,
because our investors said, “You’re 25
and 26. We’d like you to be a little bit
closer.” We decided to bring around five
people from Chicago with us. We wanted a team for day one, so that we could
hit the ground running.
That May 13, I’m driving the largest
U-Haul you can rent, in a school zone.
I’m paying attention to that, and not
paying attention to anything else—and
I hear this explosion.
I’m stuck under a bridge, and I’ve basi-
cally ripped the top o; of the U-Haul.
We were there for three hours. We had
to deflate the tires all the way to get
unstuck. That’s when Manish joked, “I
don’t know if I should be investing in you
guys for a transportation company.” And
why I joke that that’s when we decided
not to own any big trucks, and instead be
a nonasset-based broker.
Nutrabolt was 70 percent of our busi-
ness in 2014. In 2015, it was 13 percent.
This year, it will be less than 1 percent.
Have you seen Moneyball? We do the
exact same thing, but in sales and transportation. We have data to support the
performance of every individual. Every
month our model gets more accurate
as we add more data points from each
employee. As long as we continue to
hire well, train people, and retain them,
then the metrics are going to come
We’ve simply taken an antiquated
industry and applied decent math to it.
Have you seen Moneyball We do the exact same thing, but in transportation.
The Logic of Logistics
The Bureau of Transportation
Services Index for U.S. freight
this May—the most recent
data available at presstime—
shows some slight softening
from recent peaks, but still
clocks in near this century’s
all-time high. Which means
there are a lot of trucks on the
road—and connecting carriers
with shippers continues to
be a challenge on a scale that
trucking hasn’t seen before.
The industry remains fragmented: There are only a
handful of major carriers with
large fleets; most carriers
have six trucks or fewer—and
for faster and better shipping
continues to mount. This
creates a huge opportunity for
companies like Arrive Logistics. “The industry is an $800
billion market, and we haven’t
even scratched the surface,”
says founder Matt Pyatt. “Not
all businesses have the ability
to build a math equation like