MYCRANE expands to the United States
The Dubai-based company MYCRANE, is a fast-growing startup in the crane industry. The company offers an online crane rental platform which currently operates in over 20 countries, with over 3,000 customers, and is now also expanding in the United States.
“MYCRANE was born two years ago, inspired by my desire to digitalise the construction industry, and specifically the crane sector,” explains founder and director Andrei Geikalo. After studying heavy and industrial equipment at the Technical University, he spent 13 years working at Mammoet, including as sales director for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). During this time he also completed an MBA for entrepreneurship and management of the company.”
“I was very familiar with all aspects of crane rental, on both the supplier and customer sides. I felt that the same challenges kept appearing and wanted to find a solution to them. A lot of time was being wasted in the many steps of the crane rental process,” he states, “The MYCRANE online rental platform felt like a natural step for the industry. I could not allow people to get more grey hairs…”
“In a world where there is an app for almost anything, and in line with the development of apps like Uber, we had the idea of creating an online platform for crane rental, to solve the issues facing the industry such as time wasting. That was the inspiration,” adds Geikalo. The pandemic also emphasised the necessity of a platform like MYCRANE, as face-to-face contact in business was no longer an option. “When disrupting the industry, good timing is key,” remarks Geikalo.
“Equipment rental platforms already exist regionally of course, from a portable toilet to a bulldozer, or even small cranes, usually up to 50 tonnes. But cranes are dangerous objects, so it is a niche industry that requires special attention. We estimate that 30 to 40% of equipment budgets are spent on cranes alone, so there was a specific need in the industry.” remarks Geikalo.
“To start MYCRANE, I combined my knowledge of the industry, and of its problems, with IT to realise the product, which I was luckily able to do with my own resources,” he shared, “It has been such an exciting journey. Every day there are new challenges. I think the main ones included developing a brand from scratch on the marketing side and ensuring smooth collaboration between different cultures and legislation,” he continues.
“Start-ups need to be lean and flexible in my opinion. As such, we outsource some of our operations to third parties around the world. We are a global company,” says Geikalo. Additionally, “The legal side of the business is very important, so we have our own legal team, and also hire local legal firms in countries of operation, to make sure we closely follow local regulations,” he adds.
“Since the product launch, MYCRANE has obtained strategic investors, based in Hong Kong. Our Dubai-headquartered company owns all the intellectual property of our product, and operates on a franchise model,” he stated. “We sign franchise agreements with one company per country,” explains Geikalo. “Our most successful regions are the Asia Pacific, India, and the UAE,” he concludes.
“MYCRANE improves on the listing model by providing much more crane information, without the need to call or arrange meetings. Additionally, “Most of the cost is crane relocation, but with the platform, customers can find the closest suitable supplier while saving a lot of time. It is beneficial to everyone,” says Geikalo.
“Customers and suppliers sign direct contracts with each other. We provide the contract template in Word, so they can amend it at will. They are also free to decide to use a different contract format. MYCRANE has an agency agreement with the crane supplier, and the supplier pays us a commission after they are paid by the customer. This is how we make the process run smoothly,” explains Geikalo.
“We want to make the whole process transparent. Liability is on the supplier, but we have launched an inspection app where suppliers can upload photos and inspection data. A report is then generated. Also, when a supplier adds his fleet to our system, he has to provide documentation, such as various safety certificates and their expiry date. These documents need to be regularly updated, or the supplier is blocked. Lastly, there is also a mutual rating system. That way all parties can proceed with as much information as possible.”
“We will stick to the crane market, and do not plan on expanding to other types of machinery. We will expand by adding different types of cranes. We started with crawler cranes, mobile cranes, and tower cranes. In the summer we added boom trucks, mini cranes, man lifts and even hydraulic gantry systems… Later we can also add floating cranes, but there will never be a bulldozer,” affirms Geikalo.
MYCRANE is however continuing to expand its geographical scope. “We launched in the US on 1 December 2022. There, we do not operate as a franchise. We operate as our own company,” he states. Indeed, “the US construction industry is projected to expand by 4.5% in 2022, due to investments in transport, renewable energy, water, and housing projects,” according to Geikalo. This follows the company’s expansion to Malaysia, Oman, and Bahrain, in the last four months. MYCRANE US will be headquartered in Houston, Texas, with Scott Wilkes as Director of Business Development.