A Midlothian-based online startup is gaining traction in the trucking world.
ScoopMonkey, a website that lets users rate and review members of the trucking industry, such as drivers, trucking companies and shipping brokers, is finalizing a deal this month to give it a boost of visibility.
The company is working to integrate its services with Truck It Smart, a site where truck drivers go to find loads of freight to transport.
The deal means that users on Truck It Smart will see ScoopMonkey’s user-generated ratings and reviews in their search results.
ScoopMonkey co-owner Eddie Peloke said the relationship is intended to drive traffic to ScoopMonkey’s site and increase its users, which currently stand at about 1,100 companies. There’s also a financial incentive involved.
“We’re giving them the data to put on their site to give us visibility,” Peloke said of the Truck It Smart deal. “For any customer we get, there is a revenue-sharing plan.”
Peloke said if subscribers come to ScoopMonkey from another site like Truck It Smart, ScoopMonkey will give a cut of the subscription money to that referring company – when it starts charging for membership.
Peloke and Pat Hull launched the ScoopMonkey site in 2013 and spent the following year fine-tuning it and marketing at trucking trade shows. Peloke is a former web developer for trucking sites including Getloaded, another site where truckers can find freight to ship. He is presently ScoopMonkey’s sole employee and is based out of an office at 5930 Harbour Park Drive in Midlothian.
Hull, of local investment firm Phull Holdings, founded Getloaded in 1999 and sold it in 2006. He also helped start the nonprofit Richmond Unite.
“There really weren’t any other business-to-business review sites,” Peloke said. “We wanted to give truckers and brokers personal reviews.”
Peloke said most trucking job listings, or load boards, only list users’ licenses and inspections.
“It’s like if Yelp stopped at listing a restaurant’s ABC license and inspections,” Peloke said.
But to post on Yelp, users don’t have to be chefs or food critics and can air their thoughts anonymously. To join ScoopMonkey, users need to have proper federal authorization that allows truckers to transport commercial freight. Peloke said the site doesn’t allow anonymous reviews.
“We want to make sure that people in the industry are posting the reviews,” Peloke said. “We don’t want this to just be somewhere where someone goes and complains.”
Brokers, companies and drivers can rate each other on professionalism, communication, and timeliness on a scale from 1 to 5.
It’s free to register on the site to find ratings of other users and post reviews, but ScoopMonkey plans to eventually offer paid subscriptions. It will also look to sell ads on the site. The company has not yet produced any revenue, and Peloke would not say how much has been put into the company so far.
ScoopMonkey’s latest integrations aren’t its first. It has already paired with Aljex, which produces freight brokerage software, and 123Loadboard, a jobs site. Peloke said more integrations are in the works as ScoopMonkey looks to grow. He said he hopes to raise $2 million for the company.
“We really need to hire a few people and start scaling,” Peloke said. “We want to start going after mid- to large- size brokers.”