If you can get food delivered on demand through an app like UberEats, why shouldn’t you be able to get a water heater too?
At least that’s what Northeastern graduate Yoshua Rozen thinks. He created a startup called PartRunner to help contractors get parts and materials delivered to their job sites.
“This is an industry that lacks a lot of efficiency, but it’s also an industry with a lot of potential,” said Rozen, who graduated from Northeastern with a bachelor’s in industrial engineering and a master’s in engineering management. “I’m fascinated by logistics and platforms that connect people in efficient ways.”
Rozen said that tradespeople usually do not have a way to obtain the parts they need without leaving their job site, so they end up wasting time and money. But the PartRunner app enables contractors in the Boston area to request an immediate delivery of the part they need, whether it’s a tiny valve or an oil tank.
The company’s independent drivers pick up the part from a supply house in their own car, truck, or cargo van to make the delivery. Just like UberEats employees don’t make your food, PartRunner doesn’t sell the materials. They simply handle the delivery.
Rozen honed the idea for his company while on co-op at the Michael J. and Ann Sherman Center for Engineering Entrepreneurship Education in the fall of 2017.
“Yosh was an interesting case for our co-op program,” said Ted Johnson, who is the assistant director of the Sherman Center. “He came in with an idea that changed, but then once he nailed it down, we saw really rapid venture creation.”
Rozen’s involvement with the Sherman Center didn’t end there. After he graduated from the Galante Engineering Business Program in May, he officially launched his company and joined the center’s Resource for Engineering Ventures mentoring program.
Rozen’s mentor was fellow Northeastern graduate David Cronin, who is the chief executive officer of Cognition Corporation, a computer software company in Lexington, Massachusetts. Cronin helped Rozen make business decisions and develop the soft skills needed to make successful sales pitches.
The Sherman Center functions as PartRunner’s headquarters for Rozen and the five other members of his team. This has also allowed Rozen to be a mentor to the younger students at the center who are working to launch their own startups.
Johnson said Rozen is proof that support breeds success. Rozen has received funding from IDEA, Northeastern’s student-run business accelerator, and is part of the MassChallenge Boston business accelerator program.
PartRunner has contracts with companies in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, and electric industries. Rozen plans to spend the rest of the year trying to expand the company’s partnerships to include different supply warehouses and contracting businesses in the construction and carpentry industries.
“I’ve always wanted to do my own thing because I like problem solving and now I’m in it,” said Rozen. “The company is ramping up for what’s to come and we’re all excited for the next phase.”