Fleet management is the backbone of a number of industries, from the postal and courier services to public and private transport – the list goes on. As geo-location and GPS tracking services have become more sophisticated, opportunities for innovation in fleet management technology have opened up.
Jakub Felinski, a Perth IT professional, was inspired to create fleet management platform bugDriver after seeing a number of technical developments in the vehicle tracking and disgnostics space.
“Our friends, who own and run their businesses, have also been speaking about the challenges in running their ventures and managing their vehicles. We heard about the FBT taxation logbooks, paperwork associated with timesheets, and lack of valuable data needed to improve service operations,” Felinski says.
“One day we thought, why not create a modern solution to solve those problems and at the same time, set ourselves a challenge to take it to the market? “
Felinski partnered with his wife Izabela, a graphic designer, to create bugDriver. He says the goal was to create a solution that everybody could install and use in five minutes.
bugDriver consists of a plug-n-play tracking device, which is linked to a web based fleet management and GPS tracking platform. The device is plugged into the on-board diagnostics port that is already present beneath the steering wheel of every vehicle.
“Once you plug the device, it immediately starts to communicate with our platform through the cellular network and sends various statistics about your vehicle. That includes its location, speed, heading, altitude and other parameters. We then process this data and expose it through various reports, maps and statistics to help businesses make decisions and optimise their fleet,” Felinski says.
Given fleet management is not a new concept, bugDriver has a lot of competition. Felinski acknowledges that it will be tough road to success, but he believes that the product is already punching well above its weight, having found a number of clients in the mining industry.
“The construction and mining industries were quite appealing, mainly due to a heavy use of vehicles and associated variety of challenges faced by fleet managers in these industries. It happened that bugDriver was able to resolve most of the problems. We also got quite lucky and found technical savvy early adopters who helped us design appealing and functional product. They have also provided invaluable insight and helped us to understand and provide solutions to their problems,” Felinski explains.
According to Felinski, this focus on learning from customers is what sets bugDriver apart from its competition.
“Our goal is to resolve business problems, not just sell the system and disappear. Our customers in fact designed our system, every single feature has come from them; we listen and we implement,” Felinski says.
“We have spent a great deal of time with our early customers, listening to their needs and developing functionality, which they weren’t able to find in competitive products.”
bugDriver gives customers a two week free trial, providing hardware with a subscription for each vehicle. If satisfied, customers then pay a monthly subscription fee for each of their vehicles, which is bundled with SIM data fees.
“We wanted to be sure that our technology doesn’t need large capital investment and make it affordable even to small, family owned businesses. Our web-based platform is hosted in scalable cloud, making it quite cost effective to run, therefore affordable to our customers,” Felinski explains.
Having funded bugDriver themselves so far, Felinski and his wife will be looking for capital in 2015.
“We have a target number of subscriptions we would like to reach, and keep our existing customer base as happy as possible. We need to hit the ground running with new capabilities and make sure we are scalable and sustainable.”