Drive on the highway from Calgary to Edmonton and you’ll notice heavy equipment sitting idle in facility parking lots, begging to be utilized. Enter Steve Skiba, a heavy equipment contractor with a brilliant idea.
“I started thinking that what Airbnb was doing with hotel accommodations I could do for heavy equipment rentals,” he recalls. Skiba called on his close friend, software entrepreneur Clark Johannson, who in turn brought marketing guru Jennifer Lussier to the party. Two years later, in June 2016, the three launched AnyQuip an online sharing marketplace for heavy equipment.
FROM THE JUDGES
AnyQuip has proven, in a short period of time, to have an extremely positive trajectory of growth. Not only was the timing good but the concept is perfect for a tough economy connecting peer-to-peer members and environmental benefits in a volatile economy in Alberta.
The start-up’s success out of the gate has been remarkable, growing at between 20% and 25% compounded every month. The online marketplace currently has 4,000 pieces of equipment listed and expects that number to grow to 20,000 by June.
“We’ll be the largest rental company in Canada by 2020 in terms of rental equipment numbers,” says Johannson of the disruptive business model. Adds Lussier: “Alberta and B.C. are huge resource markets with agriculture, oil field construction, mining, forestry and civil construction. We’re able to leverage peaks and valleys within those different industries to make equipment available.”
By doing so, owners of capital-intensive equipment a single piece can cost upwards of $200,000 are able to even out their utilization swings and make more money, while those needing additional equipment can benefit from a competitive marketplace and more variety offered than from a rental store.
Skiba notes that contractors have been doing these deals privately for years, but just with local contacts. AnyQuip opens up the market in a big way and also brings much- needed structure to the deals.
“With AnyQuip we’ve already dealt with issues such as the pre-inspection process and the contract terms, including transportation and insurance.”
And just as Airbnb has gone global, the partners see no reason why AnyQuip can’t do the same. “This could definitely scale up and be a global business. Once we lock down western Canada, we’ll look to scale up across the rest of Canada,” says Skiba, who adds that they’re also counting on their past experiences to help guide them.
“I have 20 years of making mistakes in building my contracting business, so I’ve paid for them already,” he says with a laugh.