The French start-up fleet has been growing well over the past four years, as the company has deployed around 10,000 devices under long-term leases. The company is not considering any external funding and is investing as much of its earnings as possible in the company.
Initially, Fleet had a very simple product offering. Companies of all sizes can rent MacBooks instead of buying them. Instead of spending a lot of money all at once, companies can convert these capital costs into estimated operating costs.
Fleet designed the company to keep the team as lean as possible. It doesn’t have a warehouse with huge piles of laptops. He does not have a large line of credit with the bank.
When a customer orders multiple laptops, he sends a request to a financing partner based on multiple criteria to finance these devices. The customer signs a contract on Fleet’s website and then the order is processed.
“We’ve connected to seven financial partner APIs in France – they represent the entire market. We’ve completely automated the process,” Fleet founder and CEO Alexandre Berriche told me.
Fleet pricing is clear. The company shows on its website how much it costs to order a particular laptop model. “We price our equipment in a way that takes into account the cost because it depends on the risk of the customer, the size of the order and also on the suppliers,” said Berriche.
If a fleet customer files for bankruptcy, the financial institution is responsible for the line of credit. Fleet bears no risk in the event of a failed payment.
But finance companies are willing to work with Fleet because that market – and especially very small companies – is difficult to address. A company can order a single laptop in a fleet. It works because it’s automatic.
And since many startups are currently trying to increase their fleet, companies can lease their equipment using Fleet to spread the cost of their existing equipment over time.
It’s expanding beyond laptops.
In addition to Mac and Windows laptops, Fleet has also added items that you can rent on the platform, such as smartphones, tablets, accessories, and even phone cases and furniture.
Some Fleet customers are reaching the end of their laptop contracts after three years, which means they are eligible to renew. That’s why the company now has an actual donation program for unused devices. Fleet can partner with non-profit organizations to turn over old laptops to groups that can still use these computers. Fleet also accepts unreleased laptops through the platform.
The startup now wants to add new features and services. For example, Fleet has partnered with AV to offer insurance products. The company wants to add mobile device management (MDM) features to locate and remotely lock lost devices.
The idea is that centralizing products like MDM has some value in itself because you don’t have to think about it – you don’t need to compare different services and sign a new contract with another company.
“I was really inspired by an American company called Rippling. Because we’ve deprecated SaaS products, there’s some value in creating tools that can handle everything from A to Z on a large scale,” said Berriche. “We’re building the workplace operating system.”