Sanjay Desai got his first taste of the trucking world with the Trucker Path company, where he was Chief Product Officer "in the early days," he said, of the Trucker Path app's explosion onto the scene and its expansion into freight and other areas away from its early navigation-focused utility.
He and another former Trucker Path team member, though, fell hard in love with the idea that more could be done with technology to help really put a dent in a significant business problem for owner-operators and small fleets. It's one that's long put you at a distinct cost disadvantage if not yolked to a larger fleet where big volume discounts on fuel are the norm, or involved in another fuel network like that provided by the National Association of Small Trucking Companies and some other vendors.
"We founded Mudflap with all that understanding" gleaned from countless consultation with owner-operator independents, undertaken via his work with Trucker Path, Mudflap CEO Desai said. He and the team launched the Mudflap mobile app early in 2020 with some investor support and, since, it's been downloaded and utilized by half a million people in the network of independent truck stops the company's built to offer discounts on every gallon of fuel bought.
Driving all those downloads in part is ease of start-up. Owner-operators signing up "aren't filling out an application like a fuel card with a credit check," Desai said. It's a "60-second experience" setting up an account to begin accessing in-network fuel purchases from right at 1,000 independent truck stops and regional chains -- among them Sapp Bros., Kwik Trip, Casey's and others.
"Every week we're adding new partners" among fuel stops, Desai said, aiming to double the network by year-end to 2,000.
At sign-up, the company asks just for the user's name and company, email to establish login, and the payment method he/she wants to use, whether bank account or credit/debit card, critical for successful use. Given payments are executed solely through the mobile app, the Mudflap company itself doesn't take on the fees a card company does. That extends to owner-operator users as well.