Chicago thinks used machinery startups are sexy

by Sam Dewey
June 17, 2015

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Chicago thinks used machinery startups are sexy.

At least, that’s what Machinio.com, an online search engine and marketplace for buying and selling used industrial, agricultural, and construction equipment, thinks. The company spent time in both San Francisco and New York before deciding to settle in Chicago.

The winding road to success

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According to Dmitriy Rokhfeld (pictured left), co-founder of Machinio, the reception they received once they moved to the Midwest was vastly different than what they’d experienced on the West Coast. With headquarters for global industrial giants like Caterpillar and John Deere also headquartered in Illinois, that comes as no surprise.

“In Chicago, there are so many connections that individuals have with those types of markets that we had a much easier time recruiting for various positions,” Rokhfeld said. “In Chicago, we’re seen as more of a cooler startup, where in San Francisco we were seen as an unsexy one.”

Rokhfeld estimated that the market for used mechanical equipment sold each year is massive, ranging from $200 billion to $500 billion in machinery sold globally. And with numbers like those, it’s easy to see the company’s sex appeal.

After moving to New York from San Francisco to join Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, Machinio raised a $1 million seed round from VC firms and angel investors. With that funding secured, the company moved back to San Francisco temporarily before making the permanent trek to Chicago.

“For us, it became where could we hire great talent, and where could our company really grow,” he said. “We saw that being much more possible in a place like Chicago.

Machinio: The Kayak of used machinery

Machinio markets itself as a Kayak of used machinery. They aggregate information from tens of thousands of dealer websites across the world, streamlining the process buyers and sellers were familiar with and replacing it with a comprehensive, easy-to-navigate platform.

With six full-time employees, the company works with many of the leading equipment sales and rental companies, like eBay and Hertz Equipment. Rokhfeld said they receive over 300,000 unique visitors to their website every month and have tens of thousands of listings from sellers across the world.

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Machinio launched in early 2013 after Rokhfeld’s friend and co-founder Dan Pinto (pictured right) had troubles locating a printing press he was trying to buy.

Much like the city it eventually chose, Machinio’s goals seem pragmatic. “Right now, our goal is to remain incredibly focused on one thing, and that’s providing a great experience to our buyers so they can find anything available online, right here on Machinio,” Rokhfeld said.

 

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