TechFaster: Today we’re sitting down with Derek Kean, the co-founder of Truckily.
Derek: How’s it going?
TechFaster: It’s going well, thank you for joining us Derek. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about you and your team are working on at Truckily?
Derek: Okay. Right now we’re a small team. It’s myself, Derek Kean, and my co-founder Matt Burkland and our designer Rebbecca Katzer. What we’re doing is we are building a mobile platform that allows food trucks to market their business and also send out alerts to where they’re location is going to be in the future. We wanted to build this because of the fact that we like eating food and usually in the startup community we’re busy all the time and we’re working all the time so we don’t want to wait around, we don’t want to search, we don’t want to scan through ten thousand twitter pages. So what we did is build this app that allows trucks to update given their GPS location, pushes it to our servers and then submits it out to social medial as well. The main gist behind that it to allow them to generate more leads, to allow them to be able to market themselves better and provide a better experience for diners like ourselves so it’s accurate and it’s real time.
TechFaster: So you guys are still in beta right now, is that correct?
Derek: That’s right; we’re still testing it in beta. We’ve got a couple of trucks here in town and around the region and we are getting ready to go live with the app pretty soon. We’re just dealing with Apple right now.
TechFaster: What’s the reception been like in the beta? What’s the feedback been like?
Derek: the biggest thing is that it’s been time-saving. We didn’t build this app our of our own brains, what we did was actually go to the food trucks and say what can we help you with? how can we help you make more money? How can we save more time? So everything we’ve built has been with them hand-in-hand. The biggest thing they’ve noticed now is that they just have to press a button now whereas before they would have to write a whole sentence about where they’re at or where they’re going to be. Because we’re doing push notifications, that makes it extremely simple for them to let their fans know when they’re going to be around them. The benefit of that is they see more people show up to their trucks. That’s pretty straightforward. They’ve been pretty happy with it and they’re ready for us to go live so they can get even more users on it because right now it’s pretty limited for the beta.
TechFaster: Have you developed solely iOS or for Android?
Derek: We are releasing first on iOS just because the sample set of trucks we used here in town and in the region, the predominant phone is the iPhone so we’d be reaching more trucks. Obviously the market for Android is much bigger so that’s going to be our next development platform. We started that already, but it’s not complete yet. We want to get the app out on iOS first.
TechFaster: Is the service only in Kansas city right now or is it all across the U.S.?
Derek: Right now the beta is functioning in Kansas City. Someone could just download it today, but the entire U.S. is going to be our target market because of the fact that some of our competitors only target larger cities and we want to target the guys that maybe only have one or two. So it’s open to register for any town.
TechFaster: Can you tell me a little bit about the business model? How will that work? Is it a free app and there’s a subscription fee for the trucks to pay, how is it set up?
Derek: That’s right. What we’re doing is we’re having it as a free download, no ads, so we don’t have a bad experience, we don’t get bombarded with different ads for going to play a video game or something. But the truck’s going to pay a subscription fee on that each month, which is pretty small by industry standards. That allows us to scale the business and also make it more fun for everybody.
TechFaster: What’s your favorite food truck around Kansas City?
Derek: Recently it’s been El Tenedor because they have really good paella and that’s really tasty when it’s cold out. Another one is. Another one is indios carbonsitos. He just makes these concoctions of Mexican foods I’ve never heard of, but they’re ridiculously good. It’s almost like a pulled-pork-meets-Mexican food. You have to try it.
TechFaster: The last time I was in San Francisco I noted that there was a bunch of apps being advertised that were kind of in a similar space. Can you tell me how Truckily would be different form some of those that have already been rolled out? I’m sure you’ve seen them.
Derek: Yeah we have and we’ve used them too. For instance, the last time I was in San Francisco we used a few of them to try to kind the Koji BBQ and some worked, some didn’t work, but the main gist was it was more of a reactive type solution, where the trucks would enter their location or their schedule once and that was it. What we want to try to do is make it dynamic for both the trucks and the users to be able to find each other as they move. I don’t even know a good example off hand, but yes we know that they’re doing and we’ve seen what they do and that’s why we’re building ours completely differently.
TechFaster: So we’ve talked a little bit about what’s going on currently. What’s in the future? What are the near-term and long-term goals and objectives for your team?
Derek: The biggest thing is we want to start getting into ordering and payments. That’s is logical because we’re dealing with a mobile market and it’s food so already if we can streamline it to finding the truck and then getting in front of them or getting in line before anyone else, being able to order your food and have it ready to go would speed up the process even more. A quicker speed of getting food into people’s hands is a quicker turnover of food, income, revenue. The next thing is payments, being able to do everything in one app. Loyalty payments, ordering, catering, anything.
TechFaster: To that point about the mobile payments, would you develop something proprietary or are you going to partner with someone who’s already built a mobile payment platform?
Derek: The lean methodology side of myself wants to say use somebody else’s platform. The ‘keeping IP internal’ wants to develop my own. We’re going to weigh our cost benefit on that, but it would probably be easier for us to test it out using somebody else’s.
TechFaster: Well there’s no doubt that seems to be the wave of the future and I was watching Charlie Rose last night and the CEO from Ebay was on Donahue and we was talking about how their business has really been propped up and has made tremendous strides in mobile payment which two, three, or four years ago nobody would have ever imagined that. Actually making shopping and purchase decisions with a mobile device like an iPhone and then actually making that purchase happen, I found it really interesting.
Derek: Oh yeah. I see that now. My mom is on Ebay at dinner. She’ll be like, “I just bought something!” or “I just sold something!” It’s crazy. You’d never see that.
TechFaster: Well Derek we appreciate you joining us. I think that about wraps it up. If you have any closing statements or thoughts we’d be happy to hear them.
Derek: Sure. Go to truckley.com, sign up for a beta and we’ll shoot you a notification when we’re live. If you like food follow us on Facebook, do the standard startup thing. Feedback, suggestions. Hit me up at Derek@truckley.com and I’d be more than happy to talk to you. And if you’re in Kansas City, come play with Google Fiber and let’s get some coffee.
TechFaster: That sounds great. It’s Derek Kean, the cofounder of Truckley and stay tunes to TechFaster. Thank you.
Derek: Awesome. Thanks guys.