1. For actionable insights, ITC, GMR, Spar turn to ‘solutions enabler’ AssetTracker

For actionable insights, ITC, GMR, Spar turn to ‘solutions enabler’ AssetTracker

When businesses like BigBasket, GMR, ITC and Spar need actionable insights on their operations, they turn to AssetTrackr

By: | Updated: July 18, 2016 7:18 AM
The telematics startup was founded by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (popularly known as Virginia Tech) and IIT alumni in 2013; revenues have doubled every year since inception and the company has turned profitable in less than three years. The telematics startup was founded by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (popularly known as Virginia Tech) and IIT alumni in 2013; revenues have doubled every year since inception and the company has turned profitable in less than three years.

Online food and grocery store BigBasket has deployed AssetTrackr devices in all of its customer delivery and warehouse trucks that collect fresh produce. Using the information and metrics provided by AssetTrackr, BigBasketefficiently operates its “Farm to Home” delivery service to ensure that fresh produce is
delivered to customers in the shortest time.

* Infrastructure major GMR uses the AssetTrackr platform to provide emergency management services (EMS) on the roads they build and manage. Each EMS consists of a pilot vehicle, towing truck and an ambulance. AssetTrackr built a NOC (network operations console) and helped geo-code all of the emergency phones along the highways.

When an emergency call comes in, the NOC team immediately knows the location and can direct the closest available EMS unit to the accident location

* YatraGenie, a taxi services provider, operates more than 1,500 cabs in the regional long distance markets and uses AssetTrackr technology for online monitoring of the entire fleet to be compliant with the transportation department regulations. Panic button in the passenger side alerts operations staff on any emergencies. Safe driving habits are enforced by monitoring over-speeding vehicles and alerts.

With 300-plus clients gained in less than three years since inception, Bengaluru-based AssetTrackr is a leading telematics startup; the company’s solutions enable the safety of people, vehicles and equipment, optimisation of business value for clients via location and usage tracking and analysis. AssetTrackr solutions include enterprise-class, cloud hosted software that’s been designed in-house, the company’s own and OEM hardware devices for tracking coupled with industry-leading analytics capability that is embedded in the AssetTrackr platform. Among other customers include SPAR Hypermarkets, ABIR Infrastructure, Athena Cabs and Daily Thanthi, one of the largest newspapers in Tamil Nadu.

The telematics startup was founded by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (popularly known as Virginia Tech) and IIT alumni in 2013; revenues have doubled every year since inception and the company has turned profitable in less than three years. “I am pleased that market acceptance and adoption for AssetTrackr’s solution has been excellent. Sales have doubled every year since 2013 when we launched,” Ashok Yerneni, chairman, AssetTrackr. He is a former IIT-Chennai and Virginia Tech alumni, whose previous stints have included TutorVista, Silicon Graphics etc.

Origin of the idea

Talking about the inception of the company, Ashok says, “We started working on AssetTrackr in 2012. The decision to build a telematics platform targeting India was based on a number of factors that had coalesced—for
example, cellular connectivity costs were rapidly declining and India had one of the lowest costs in the world; GPS & GSM/GPRS chipset prices had significantly dropped; Google Maps for India has matured over the last couple of years and smartphone adoption has grown exponentially; location-based information services are exploding and cloud infrastructure has matured with enterprise applications moving to the cloud. Also, when we did our market research, we found that there were no enterprise-level solutions around that catered for the Indian market. That’s when we set about aiming to build a reliable and highly scalable product that would have a simple, easy-to-use interface but still operate at an enterprise-level.”

Ashok says, “We designed the AssetTrackr platform to be highly modular, scalable and flexible. With our platform based approach, we have been successful in building multiple solutions and target a variety of sectors. In addition to our offering for B2B customers, AssetTrackr also has a solution called SafeKar, for safety of personal vehicles. The solution allows checking vehicle location every 10 seconds, speed, movement, unintended trips, stoppage, and distance traveled and allows remote immobilisation of the vehicle and geo fencing of a route for safety of passengers.” He adds, “We sell about 3-5 devices a week and have 1000-plus customers for our SafeKar product.”

On the growth path

AssetTrackr has raised about $500,000 in Angel funding and is cash-flow positive, says Ashok. “Sales have been doubling every year since 2013 when we launched.” On the future business outlook, he explains: “There’s been a fundamental shift over the last two years;

Indian business owners are more willing to invest larger budgets into technology. There’s an explosion of e-commerce and the need for personnel, asset and vehicle tracking solutions has only become more pronounced and there is huge market opportunity.”

With AssetTrackr’s multi-product portfolio and solutions across sectors, the company chairman is optimistic to accelerate revenues. “We have always believed in demonstrating business value to our customers and see ourselves not only as a technology company deploying tech solutions but as a solutions enabler who is able to demonstrate business value to customers.”

On the present startup environment in the country, Ashok says, “As a business, at AssetTrackr we have always focused on the basics—products, customers, revenues, profitability. Many startups have raised huge sums
of money and spent hundreds of millions of VC money to try and grab market share at the expense of profitability. Rationalisation has set in and I believe companies that do not focus on unit-profitability and cost controls will struggle to survive and grow.”

So what is needed to stand out and thrive in the present startup ecosystem? Ashok says, “I believe a focus on the basics and solving a real customer need is the key. A true test of a startup is whether the company is solving a need versus nice-to-have. Startups that focus on solving a customer pain-point or an acute need are more likely to succeed than startups that target disposable income or discretionary spend and this is true, whether it is in the B2B or B2C space.”

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