The reason why a Denver company recently scored investment from Ikea’s holding company has become more clear.
The furniture retailer announced Tuesday that Fluid Truck, a Denver-based peer-to-peer truck rental company, will provide it a fleet of electric delivery vehicles for the New York City and Los Angeles markets.
Fluid CEO James Eberhard said the deal was inked last year. Ikea investment arm’s participation in Fluid’s recent $63 million funding round was disclosed earlier this month.
“After working with us, Ikea offered us a true equity investment,” Eberhard said. “They saw the way our team worked and our vision, and to have that spark interest in an investment is just really validating.”
Ikea uses third-party drivers to complete deliveries. Most drivers across its various markets are already using Fluid to access delivery trucks, but those vehicles haven’t necessarily been electric.
This week’s deal means Fluid is providing those drivers in NYC and L.A. with priority access to electric trucks. Ikea said in a press release that it has a goal to offer 100 percent zero-emission home deliveries by 2025.
Fluid already has long-term deals with traditional delivery companies such as FedEx and DHL to help the companies add vehicles during periods when package counts are dramatically up. But those arrangements also don’t guarantee electric vehicles.
Fluid plans to deliver 40 electric vehicles to service the five boroughs of NYC and 50 electric delivery trucks to the L.A. market by May 2021. The fleets will include Loveland-based Lightning eMotors Electric Class 4 commercial box trucks and Workhorse C1000 trucks.
Eberhard said while they are just starting in these two locations, Ikea’s goal is to have Fluid provide electric vehicles for all of its markets by 2025.
Fluid’s platform, which launched in 2018, offers 24/7 mobile access to a wide array of vehicles, none of which the company owns. Customers can rent anything from a neighbor’s pickup truck to a Tesla online for an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly rate. Businesses have the option to rent a full fleet without overhead or just a few extra vehicles during peak season.
Fluid is currently available in 30 markets around the U.S., 18 of which were added this year.
More than 400 businesses around Denver are using Fluid Truck, and the CEO said the app has seen an uptick in restaurant and brick-and-mortar users since the pandemic.
“As more customers look to shop online, customers’ needs are changing, and we are helping businesses change their model for an affordable rate,” Eberhard said. “Fluid enables retailers to offer delivery services for the first time, and it also offers contractors accessibility to a wide range of vehicles out there.”
Fluid, which is headquartered in 14,000 square feet at 1441 W. 46th Ave. in Sunnyside, has 170 employees and expects to add 200 more by the end of this year. Eberhard said the company is considering expanding to a larger headquarters as a result.