Q&A with Willy Schlacks, Cofounder of EquipmentShare

by Y Combinator10/17/2018

We put together a list of the top YC companies by valuation as of October 2018. You can see that list at https://ycombinator.com/topcompanies.

Here’s a Q&A with Willy Schlacks, Cofounder of EquipmentShare, one of the companies featured on the list.

What does EquipmentShare make/do?

EquipmentShare is the best way for construction contractors to Rent, Track, and Own equipment.

How many employees does EquipmentShare have?


How many founders?


What is your most impressive recent product milestone?

Customers are now saying our software is working..really well…and a construction compaction robot.

What is the larger impact / societal impact of your product in the space you work within?

The construction industry size is increasing, however the workforce is declining and jobsite productivity has declined for the 12th year in a row. Technology is also reducing the effective lifecycle of machines, making it necessary to extract ROI much sooner than traditional periods of decades. EquipmentShare’s technology and business model leverage existing workforce to achieve more productivity, connect the job site & deliver data that matters to enable measurement and improvement, and provide a shared pool that allows for a new type of ownership with far higher utilization.

What’s an interesting element of EquipmentShare’s company culture?

Hard to say when your so close to something. However, employees often comment how much they love the feeling that they can make an impact. We highly value differing opinions and diversity of perspectives. We are pretty ruthless about removing “blocks” to communication or idea sharing…whether it’s people or process.

Looking back, what motivated you to start EquipmentShare?

The rental industry sucked…we felt we could do better.

Is what you’re working on now the original idea or did you pivot?

We’ve pivoted quite a few times — but it wasn’t really an original idea that drove us. It was original pain.

Were there moments where you thought the company might die? Describe one of those and anything you learned from it.

Ha, yes and no — my brother and I had many discussions early on that laid out plan b, c, d, e. We never feared dying…just feared the pain of potentially laying off employees — but there was always a feeling of excitement when your back’s against a wall..it’s pretty galvanizing.

What was a particularly important insight you had about your market that made your product work?

It was disconnected.

What’s one piece of advice you’d share with a young founder?

Humility and kindness are your best weapons. Also, you’re going to hire some bad or mediocre people…just let them go, before they destroy your company.


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