Tell us about yourself?
My name is Matthew Plourde and my title is CEO of Routr. That is my title, but who I am is an operator. For as long as I have known I’ve loved to work, to create things. I enjoy the feeling that comes with tackling a very large problem or knowing that I have helped someone in some way.
What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?
That you need to move fast. There is so much pressure in being first to market, or promising a timeline in a pitch in order to get your company off the ground. But rather, I think building something great is far better than building something good. Whether its a life changing solution or something that will bring someone pleasure, end of the day you should feel like you have nothing left to give to your product when it hand it over to the consumer. Empty the tank, every time.
If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?
Do more, even if you don’t know how to. The one thing I have learned most on this journey is how powerful we are as humans beings – we can do anything we set our minds to. I never imagined myself doing half the things I currently do in a day, but here I am! Don’t wait for someone else to give you the answers, go find them.
What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?
Passion. If I don’t absolutely love what I am doing, you won’t see me doing it. If its not the best it can be, you won’t see it all! As an entrepreneur, and I understand the irony with what I am about to say, I am not guided by the money but rather the product. If I don’t love what I am doing how can I sell anyone else on it? We can always do better.
What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?
1) Wake up with the sun, and fall asleep to it. 2) Lead by example or choose someone else to follow. 3) Listen more than you speak, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. It is amazing how much more you’ll learn this way.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
The company was born out of the frustration of running a transportation company. Prior to Routr I was operating a School Bus company and spent my nights dreaming of an interoperable software suite that could take my entire workflow into the digital world. I went hunting for one and couldn’t find anything that was meeting the image stuck in my head. Two years and a lot of work, a lot of team building, and a lot of learning…you have Routr.
Where do you see your business in five years?
In five years I would love to be helping operators in every state of the United States. I am intrigued on the different ways people tackle challenges given their region in regardless to weather and typography.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?
Trust. Coming from the industry myself, I have been burned by technology promised to change my life. Operating a transportation company is hard enough with the control chaos that daily ensues, now add more to it? No thanks. To go a level deeper, our future customers are transporting our most precious cargo – children. Theres a lot of responsibility there to perform and deliver on our product, and it is not something we take likely.
Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?
My biggest success story took place back when I was operating the bus company, Montauk Bus. It was in the middle of COVID, all the buses were parked, no students were attending school and we didn’t know what was to come over the next few months. When talking to our partners, the school districts, they still had the problem of offering food and supplies to families who relied on assistance from the schools. Without a thought we jumped at the chance to help. This is when we took our school buses and turned them into a meals on wheels delivery vehicle! With all credit to the amazing drivers who volunteered to come in, during the height of the pandemic, and deliver food and supplies door to door to families in need – we managed to deliver over 200,000 meals to families on Long Island, NY. I think often about the dedication and courage to took everyone to come together and turn this problem into a success.
How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?
Luckily, the team at Routr has been in the transportation industry for a long time. We have extensive relationships that we are actively speaking to in order to onboard and start helping. Customers outside of our network can find us on our website or contact me direction at [email protected] – there is no operator too big or too small.
What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?
Build a team of likeminded people. If everyone is carrying their fair share and moving together, the weight of your idea doesn’t seem so daunting.
And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?
For Routr, I hope that we can continue to grow the business just as we are now. I want for Routr to continue to employ really smart, hardworking and kind people. I want for our customers to feel that they can trust us a brand and as a vision of the future. I want for us to be a lasting force for change and progress. For me? I just want to keep building.