Canadian heavy equipment contractor-to-contractor marketplace Dozr has raise CA$2.5 million in equity seed financing from Fair Ventures Inc., the innovation investment arm of Fairfax Financial Holdings. Dozr, based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, plans to use the funding to help expand its services in the United States.
Bringing the idea of the sharing economy to owners of under-used construction and heavy equipment, Dozr provides a marketplace for owners to earn extra money by matching them with users who are looking to rent equipment at lower prices than normal retail rental rates.
Dozr is free to join and offers both construction and agricultural equipment on its platform. Fairfax has also developed an insurance coverage plan built in to the Dozr platform as part of the investment deal, through its subsidiary, the Federated Insurance Co. of Canada, meaning that equipment owners will be protected when their machinery is rented, making Dozr the first company in Canada in the heavy equipment market to provide insurance through a short-term rental platform, the company said.
“Now we can give equipment owners comfort that they are protected if something goes wrong while someone is using their equipment,” said Kevin Forestell, Dozr director and co-founder. “Until now, they just had to keep their fingers crossed because no one else offered insurance, and it was nearly impossible to get through a broker.”
Normally contractors working with heavy equipment are required to provide their own insurance by the rental companies, leaving owners at risk if the policies don’t cover a third party renting the equipment.
Fairfax Financial Holdings manages more than U.S. $36 billion in assets, investing mainly in the restaurant, retail, and travel sectors as well as insurance.
“We are very pleased for FairVentures to partner with Kevin and the entire entrepreneurial Dozr team to deliver their innovative new service in Canada and globally,” said Paul Rivett, president of Fairfax. “Dozr is a great new Canadian innovator that is transforming the heavy machinery industry with an outstanding equipment sharing platform developed by Kevin’s team.”
With the peer-to-peer Dozr platform, the company takes a commission from a price negotiated between the parties involved in the rental, and Dozr provides standardized contracts, facilitates the payment process, and provides a rating system. The company plans to add a video component to the platform, so the contractors can post a video of their equipment in action for prospective renters.
Founded in June 2015 by Forestell, Erin Stephenson and Tim Forestell, Dozr has served more than 2,200 customers across Canada, the company said, facilitating short-term rental of more than $200 million worth of equipment.
Forestell came up with the idea while working as a construction contractor, having built a successful landscaping business in Guelph, Ontario, and noticing that most bulldozers and excavators sit idle when not on a job, he came up with the Dozr idea.