Pierre Laguerre is the founder of Fleeting and an entrepreneur in transportation logistics who has over 17 years of experience in the field.
As a former truck driver himself, Pierre is well acquainted with the hardships and the lack of opportunities employee drivers in the industry face. This is why he decided to become an entrepreneur and create Fleeting, a platform that provides drivers, motor carriers, and shippers with the tools to operate their businesses more efficiently.
Pierre understood that his expertise in the industry and the ability to connect with the trucking community were his biggest competitive advantages against other companies in the supply chain.
But most of all, his aim was to create a company in which truckers could also become shareholders and benefit from its success. For Pierre, everything is about collaboration over competition.
While generating more than $5M in revenue through his transportation ventures, Pierre has also successfully mentored young men who have gone on to earn their commercial driver’s licenses.
In this episode, Pierre joined us to talk about his journey as an entrepreneur and his insights on the future of investing. We talked about the challenges he faced as a first-time entrepreneur, the lessons he has learned along the way, and the power of giving back to the community.
Diving into Pierre’s entrepreneurial journey
As a Haitian-born migrant, starting his own company was not easy for Pierre. However, after 17 years as an employee truck driver, he found his entrepreneurial passion in the field he understood and loved the most, the transportation logistics industry.
He knew from his own experience that the trucking industry was very outdated in terms of technology. Not only that, but most of what the other tech companies in the supply chain were building was really benefiting the shippers, and Pierre didn't see anything that was speaking to the drivers’ struggles.
Employee drivers usually work long shifts, sometimes spending up to 14 hours on the road. Some of them get to see their family only twice a month. They also have little opportunity for financial growth and upward mobility.
Pierre felt it was time to build a company that addresses drivers’ pain points and helps them efficiently manage their own businesses.
This is why he founded Fleeting, a platform that gives truck drivers the ability to operate like an owner-operator without owning a truck and dealing with the problems of buying a truck. He also built a staffing agency, which he scaled to 2.5 million in revenue.
Tackling 3 challenges first-time entrepreneurs face
Pierre shared several hurdles he had to overcome when he was first starting out—and three important lessons for first-time entrepreneurs.
1. You will make mistakes, and that’s okay
Everyone makes mistakes as first-time entrepreneurs, and you will continue to make mistakes. But Pierre’s advice is to avoid being too hard on yourself—after all, you just don't know what you don't know. Having the right mindset and a willingness to learn is very important when it comes to dealing with mistakes. In Pierre’s words:
“Be accountable, be responsible, and own it!”
2. Hire an attorney
When you're trying to start your business, funds are often lacking. However, investing in a solid legal foundation for your business is critically important. If you don't get this right, it can be a deal-breaker for your company.
Fortunately, there are many startup services with quality attorneys that can help you get your paperwork right. The importance of having an attorney who can guide you through all the legal aspects of your company was one of the first and most valuable lessons Pierre learned in his journey as an entrepreneur.
3. Build a network and keep the lines of communication open
In Pierre’s view, social capital is essential when trying to create a company. It's important for other people to really see the value in what you're doing, so learning how to build quality relationships with investors is crucial.
Pierre points out that if investors don’t invest in your startup right away it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t believe in you or your business. Timing is important as well. Sometimes it can be too early—keep in mind that investors have different levels of risk tolerance.
Building a good relationship with potential investors requires being honest with them and showing that you’re willing to learn and navigate your way in the ecosystem.
The key takeaway here is that you should focus on having those relationships with investors early on, because when you get to the point where they can put capital in your company,. they already know you. They know your company and they understand what you’re building, and it makes the process a lot more fluid.
Why choose the route of equity crowdfunding?
Pierre wanted to create a trucking company in which drivers could also become shareholders. However, it was clearly not possible to get funds from thousands of truckers personally, so he decided to take the route of equity crowdfunding through Republic. He was able to draw in more than 4,000 investors to his campaign.
While his main focus was to help the trucking community, Pierre also wanted to support founders of any background—especially people who just don’t know how to get started or don’t have the tools to do it.
This is why he also started educating aspiring investors from all backgrounds about equity crowdfunding. He helps people learn how to start investing and become a part of that ecosystem. For Pierre, this is what bringing the power back to the people is all about: to give everyone an opportunity to be able to compete and make something out of themselves.
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This content is provided for educational purposes only by Republic. Nothing discussed should be construed as legal, tax, accounting, or investing advice. The views of the presenters may not be the views of Republic and its affiliates. Always consult with trusted professional advisors before making investments. Private investments are inherently illiquid and may result in a total loss. All rights reserved.
Podcasting with Pierre Laguerre, Co-Founder and CEO of Fleeting