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This week on Startup Street, a look at a GPS service that claims it can “track anything that moves”; Zomato looking to expand its food delivery network; India’s central bank doing its bit for startups; and a trio of satellites that will hunt pirates. Here’s what went on.
Cracking India’s GPS Market
Auto-rickshaws in Bengaluru are now using Letstrack, a GPS service that allows a smartphone app to track vehicles.
The startup, which plans to roll out its services across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in a couple of months, said it has more than 1.5 lakh users in India. “Our retailers which we call LT Points have given consumers 1000+ heavily-branded retail outlets across India and has seen a huge increase in mass distribution sales over 2018,” Vikram Kumar, the founder of Letstrack, told BloombergQuint in an email interaction. “Our sales and revenue figures are up over 600 percent this year alone and growing exponentially.”
The motto of Gurgaon-based Letstrack's is simple: they aim to track everything that moves. “We have the infrastructure in place to be able to fit a device to any vehicle, anywhere in India, at the customers’ convenience within 48 hours,” Kumar said.
The startup fits its device in a vehicle which can then be tracked from an app. “Our distribution strategy has enabled us to mass distribute technology which is capable of gathering key data to enable parents to know how their older children are driving when they start to stretch their independence, how their drivers are behaving behind the wheel, and how efficiently crops are being harvested on farms,” Kumar said.
The global vehicle telematics market is expected to be $103 billion by 2022 from $39 billion in 2017, according to consulting firm Roland Berger. In India, just the commercial vehicle tracking market is set to reach $378 million by 2022.
Currently, the startup’s clients include ride-hailing firms Ola and Uber, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation, Bengaluru Metro, Total, among others. According to Kumar, Letstrack offers services for tasks ranging from fuel management to tracking the running hours of machines and their location.
GPS tracking isn’t new to India. When Letstrack was launched, there were already over 400 GPS tracking companies. “Our national network of technicians and customer service truly sets us apart from other GPS tracking companies,” Kumar said.
To address the privacy concerns, Letstrack said it is storing the tracking data on fully encrypted servers. “The only people who should have the choice of who sees their data are the owners of that data, so that’s how Letstrack has operated from Day 1 and will continue to do so,” Kumar said. “You have to build trust in your brand from your customers. Once you have trust, they will be loyal to you always”
The bootstrapped startup, which has raised around $1.7 million by bringing U.S. investor James Arthur on-board, is now planning a global foray. It has already launched in Sri Lanka and is planning to expand to the U.S. and U.K. next year. “The aim is to continue self-funding for the next short period of time as subscription and sales revenues continue to grow rapidly, then assess what new funding would bring to the table as we launch in new countries in 2019.”
Zomato To Hire 5,000 Delivery Partners
Restaurant discovery and food delivery platform Zomato is set to create 5,000 new jobs in seven of India's Tier-II cities.
Looking to expand into cities like Puducherry, Jamshedpur, Ambala, Meerut, Haridwar, Bhavnagar, Ujjain and Puri, Zomato will hire hands for its food delivery business, it said in a media statement. This will add to the 1.5 lakh “delivery partners” the company already has in 93 other Indian cities, the company claimed.
Zomato’s food delivery business has grown substantially this year. The segment now contributes 65 percent of the company’s revenue, compared with 35 percent in January 2018, the company said. India’s online food-delivery market is currently pegged at $7 billion (Rs 50,375 crore), according to Statista. It’s expected to grow into a $11.5-billion market by 2023.
“We have been surprised by the demand in Tier-II, Tier-III cities and are therefore gung-ho on serving every last customer, in the smallest of towns in India,” said Mohit Gupta, chief executive officer of the delivery business.
Zomato has been in an aggressive battle for market share with Swiggy and Scootsy. Zomato and Swiggy, together, make up for 80 percent of the industry’s market share, according to a report by Quartz.
"We will be the first to hit the 100-city mark and will continue to invest heavily to lead geographical penetration in the food delivery market in India." - Zomato Statement
RBI Launches Startup Survey
India’s startup sector is about to receive a whole lot of data to help combat teething issues.
The Reserve Bank of India has launched a survey on India’s startup sector—SISS—to create a profile and provide data on turnover, profitability and workforce. “The SISS would also throw light on the problems faced by the startup sector,” the central bank said in a circular this week.
The survey has been mailed to startup entities registered under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and is also available on the RBI website. It comes amid growing demand for better data on the ease of doing business in various sectors of the country.
Searching For Pirates And Terrorists
In a few hours from now, Elon Musk's SpaceX will launch three satellites for a little known startup. Their job: scanning for pirate radio, and possibly even terrorists.
U.S.-based HawkEye 360's trio of satellites called the PathFinder will be aboard the Falcon 9 rocket. The startup said that while the space is full of satellites snapping pictures of the planet, it will be the first commercial operation to capture radio frequency feeds down below.
Once the satellites are up and running, they will be able to scan and pinpoint any radio signal. The first order of business will be to catch pirates that include smugglers in the high seas who turn off their GPS to avoid tracking.
Eventually, the company hopes to have 10 separate, three-satellite flocks zooming around the globe. With that much hardware, it will be able to scan any part of the world in less than 30 minutes.
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