MIAMI -- On-demand fueling services are often referred to as “the Uber of fueling,” even though most own the fuel trucks and make the deliveries themselves. But Wahii LLC follows the Uber model more closely in that it connects the consumer with the fuel supplier, without a stake in the fueling infrastructure.
The fuel-delivery app is the inspiration of Alejandro Granado, the former chairman, president and CEO of CITGO Petroleum Corp. Granado led Houston-based CITGO from 2007 to 2013. Like many on-demand fueling apps, Wahii was born from a frustration over the fueling experience, but one particular to south Miami: the hassle of filling up an empty boat.
“[Granado’s] wife used to leave the car empty, and the boat was always empty,” Sthefany Azevedo, COO of Miami-based Wahii, told CSP Fuels. “It was a headache. He said, ‘There’s got to be an easier way to do this. Why not connect distributors with an app so you can order fuel whenever you need it?’”
Through the Wahii app, boaters can request delivery of gallons or a fill-up of marine fuel—either ethanol-free REC-90 gasoline or off-road low-sulfur diesel. The user provides location details for the delivery, whether it’s a storage tank, generator or the boat itself. For the latter, this includes its location—trailer or marina—as well as the length of the boat and its name. The user also specifies a day and time for the delivery. From there, the Wahii app will match the user with nearby available distributors, along with their fuel pricing information and any delivery fees. “Then it’s up to you—you pick whatever is best,” Azevedo said.
This process is much easier than the traditional fuel-ordering transaction, which requires the boat owner to call distributors to check their availability and fill out a credit application form to open a line of credit. Instead, Wahii has implemented a credit-card verification system that allows it to place a hold for the order amount. “We’re ensuring payment for distributors in 72 hours,” said Azevedo. “Nowadays you have to wait up to 30 days to get the first paycheck.”
Wahii plans to expand beyond the Miami area and beyond marine fueling. In the next six months, it aims to introduce its service to the Northeast—this time, connecting heating-oil distributors with consumers.
Wahii is currently connecting boaters with fuel distributors in four counties—Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach—stretching from Key West to West Palm Beach, Fla. It is working with about 20 distributors in South Florida and has about 100 active users.
For its distributor partners, Wahii is looking for not just reputation but experience with marine fueling. “They need to have knowledge of how to fuel a boat, how to board a boat,” said Azevedo. “If [filling up] a generator, they need to know the difference between doing a boat and a construction site.”
For now, as Wahii works on building up its volume, there is no fee to distributors for using the its platform. Azevedo said the advantages are immediate.
“Nowadays most distributors are doing everything by hand. They have a bunch of paperwork and you walk into their office,” she said. “We’re providing them with a completely integrated software—they can receive orders anywhere they are." Distributors update their fuel pricing as needed. Wahii will also soon launch a marketing campaign—again, at no cost to the distributor.
The app will be energy-agnostic, Azevedo said, with the ability to facilitate everything from gasoline to firewood deliveries. It is even open to integrating its app with those of on-demand fueling providers.