Sometimes a water truck can be the start of a promising business idea.
When Louie Minor, 39, a Killeen general contractor and businessman, had a need for one in 2017 while working on a development in El Paso, he realized there was no quick and easy path to rent one on the spot.
“I said to myself, ‘let me call up the rental company that I always use and get a truck,’” Minor said. “Well, the closest company was in Midland or Lubbock, which was four hours away. I found myself calling around to these rental places in El Paso. I said to myself ‘what a waste of time.’”
That’s when Minor realized there was a better way: What if there was an online marketplace where contractors could directly connect to independent equipment owners looking to quickly rent or sell their goods?
With that concept in mind, Foedera was born.
Foedera allows contractors and equipment owners to connect and enter into transactions using a virtual map similar to Uber or Airbnb.
Minor said the name is a derivative of the Latin word for “federation,” underscoring his vision of a marketplace of online shared transactions.
About a year and a half after the original concept came together, Foedera currently includes four vendors who market their goods on its website and app, Minor said.
Minor hopes the company, which rolled out online in January, will soon fill in the gap for contractors who want to rent equipment quickly and easily online. He is hoping to target every major city in the nation but is currently focusing on major population centers in Texas.
Beating the competition
Although Minor said Foedera is a unique business in its space, he sees his main competitor as United Rentals, which operates nationwide.
Unlike United Rentals, which owns the equipment it rents, Foedera would own no equipment of its own.
The business operates only as a middleman between owners and renters and takes a service fee off any transaction.
“I can be everywhere that other rental companies cannot,” Minor said. “So this is just the beginning. I see farm equipment on there, agricultural equipment on here. There are so many possibilities.”
To bring more vendors through the door, Minor said he is working to educate equipment owners on the benefits of the business
“It’s a very simple sales pitch: It’s not going to cost you anything,” Minor said. “I’m not charging you to put your equipment on (the database), I’m not taking any money from you to have your equipment on there. My revenue will come from the renter’s side.”
Minor said the service fee tacked onto rentals will be dependent on the market where the transactions occur but will meet what he called an industry standard.
A tech future in Killeen?
More than starting and growing his own tech business, Minor said he hopes Foedera is the first of many tech companies to take root in Killeen.
“There’s an entrepreneur spirit in Killeen; I mean look at all these small businesses around here,” Minor said. “It’s not easy to be a small business owner, so people need opportunity. They need guidance on where to get the resources to do this. I want to be that guidance for them.”
Minor said he has reached out to tech startup incubators in Austin and asked about the viability of similar plans in Killeen. He said the responses were promising.
“They said there was definitely a possibility of it working here,” Minor said.
Minor said he is in communication with city leaders and members of the Killeen Economic Development Corporation on possible plans to spur more business creation.
Minor, an Army veteran who has run for political office, also said he envisions local businesses leveraging Fort Hood for educated and qualified workers when they transfer out of the military.
“I’m going to continue to support the military as they process out of the military and secure a good-paying job for them,” Minor said. “As Foedera grows, my investment in Killeen will grow.”
For information on Foedera, go to www.foedera.com.