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Companies that ship products over land using a large fleet of trucks often lose money when they encounter obstacles such as road repairs. Needless to say, trucking companies and companies with their own fleet of trucks are always looking for ways to cut costs. Enter Quebec based Geocom, which provides software and services that streamline trucking operations through route optimization. Its services have gained enough support from customers that the company expects to close on a $2.2 million series C round of funding from its first U.S. investor.

Geocom was founded in 1993 by CEO Bernard Tetu, who sold controlling interest in the company before taking it over again in 1999. Tetu had previously founded software company Berclain and sold it to German IT company Baan. Geocom has undergone reorganization since Tetu took control of it again.

Geocom's flagship A.Maze service allows the company to develop route optimization services that it markets to big trucking fleets and couriers. Geocom optimizes routes using algorithms and detailed maps and is able to minimize amount of trucks used, travel time, support staff and other expenses. The company claims that some of its individual customers have been able to reduce daily delivery route miles by 15%, decrease the number of trucks used by 16% and reduce overall costs between 10% and 15%.

Investors in the company include MM Venture Partners, which has committed a total of $1.5 million to the company, Innovatech and Investment Desjardins. Geocom is also close to closing on $1.4 million from a Boston-based venture capital firm, the first U.S. investor in the company. The company's burn rate is approximately $289,000 per month.

The funds will be used primarily to promote its A.Maze service. "We want to popularize A.Maze and give it an image," says Helen Macaluso, Geocom's vice president of finance and human resources. Geocom's customers include Koch Transportation, Napa Auto Parts and Purolator. The company has offices in Atlanta, Boston and Toronto as well as sales professionals working from home offices in other parts of Canada and the United States. Geocom plans to open offices in Montreal and on the West Coast of the United States and possibly Chicago. The company, which currently has 50 employees, plans to have about 70 employees next year.

"The biggest challenge ahead for them is getting traction with customers," says Ron Patterson, a partner with MM Venture Partners. "The product works, they need to go out and get a bunch of high profile deals and prove that they're the best solution in the industry". - M.S.

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