INNOVATE

How Two Millennials Are Disrupting the $400 Billion Used Equipment Industry

Dan Pinto and Dmitriy Rokhfeld have been creating businesses together since middle school. Now they lead Machinio.com, the fastest growing global search engine for used equipment.

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BY Maisie Devine - 07 Nov 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Dan Pinto and Dmitriy Rokhfeld go way back. The duo met in middle school playing video games together and the entrepreneurial spirit already existed, "we realized there was a market to sell virtual items for Diablo 2 on Ebay. That was our first business. We sold a few hundred dollars worth and thought we discovered what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives - play video games and make money ", shares Rokhfeld. From then on, they collaborated on a number of other ventures that helped perfect their ecommerce and user acquisitions skills before parting ways to go to college.

Now, co-founders and CTO and CEO of Machinio.com, Pinto and Rokhfeld are disrupting a $400 billion dollar multi-generational industry with innovative technology, and revolutionizing the way people buy and sell used equipment in a global capacity. Machinio is the fastest growing global search engine for used industrial machinery and heavy equipment. Each month, they aggregate over 1 million used equipment listings and attract over 550,000 highly interested buyers from 190+ countries. Using proprietary technology, they also connect buyers with thousands of global sellers and accelerate the sale of their equipment.

The idea for Machinio came in late 2012. At the time, Pinto was living in Chicago and working as a developer. One of his colleagues purchased second-hand printing presses in the United States and sold them in Ecuador, where they lacked a local market for that equipment, and he asked Pinto to help him find one. After 45 minutes of unsuccessful searching, he had an eureka moment: there was an opportunity to improve the process of finding used machinery by developing a vertical-focused search engine like Kayak, Indeed or Priceline. A year later, Pinto and Rokhfeld moved to San Francisco and began working on Machinio. They launched the initial prototype in early 2013 and by 2014, moved the company to Chicago where they opened Machinio's first office and now global headquarters. Very quickly, they experienced strong interest and demand from equipment buyers and sellers from all over the world, and so the team opened their second office in Berlin in early 2017.

With $4 million dollars raised to date from a group of high-profile investors, Ritchie Bros. (the largest industrial auctioneer of used equipment in the world), and a team of 55 millennials, the startup remains a threat to competitors globally as it expands and takes over multiple markets. Today, old-school, blue collar businesses are leveraging Machinio's technology to grow. Rokhfeld elaborated on how Machinio works, the gap that it bridges and how it has impacted multi-generational businesses in a global capacity.

What gap does Machinio fill in the machinery marketplace?

We solve one of the biggest pain points that buyers experience every single day: how difficult and time consuming it is to find needed equipment. Solving this 'information discovery' problem is the reason we founded Machinio back in 2012 and remains the driving force and mission behind our company. These days not everyone takes the time to pick up the newest magazine, or check out the latest newspaper, as some of the people in the industry might think that is still the way. With the shift towards digitalization and online marketplaces, we wanted to combine the quality of the local buyer with a much larger reach, and dealers of equipment have embraced our technology and understood what it can do for their businesses.

How is Machinio bridging the gap between business and technology?

We build tools focused on removing steps in the process for buyers and sellers so they can spend less time messing with technology and more time focused on their core business. One example is when buyers sign up for keywords of items they are interested in and receive emails with the exact items they're looking for as soon as a seller posts those items online. They can sit back, relax, and wait for their daily email saving them hours every week. Another example is the multi-step vetting process of the leads that we run for sellers, we save them time and energy flagging inappropriate requests before they ever reach them.

How has Machinio impacted multi-generational businesses and helped them achieve significant growth in the last few years?

Multi-generational businesses can only continue to operate successfully if they adapt to the needs and changes of the industry. For dealers to keep growing their businesses into the future, they will need to reach those buyers who no longer come to them directly and, of course, new buyers. We have grown very quickly over the last 5 years by capturing those buyers and directing them to those businesses. This allows them to stay on the cutting edge of technology and thrive. Also, Machinio is not a "pay to play" marketplace, everyone is on an even playing field. Buyers are searching for specific machines, and sellers may have what buyers are looking for regardless of the size of their companies or how long they've been around. We've created the technology and the opportunity for those connections to happen.

As of November of 2017, Machinio works with over 1,500 dealers of used equipment from all over the world, some of them leaders in the industry, and connects over 50,000 buyers with sellers per month. Over the next few months, they plan on expanding in Asia and South America, and have aggressive hiring efforts in place to grow their teams in the US and Europe.