21 March 2017 09:46:13 IST

Managing fleet in real time

AssetTrackr offers vehicle tracking solutions to monitor last-mile delivery

Ashok Yerneni believes there is a right time for an idea to take shape. In 2013, when he founded a telematics venture that offered vehicle tracking and fleet management solutions, the building blocks for his business were all in place. Mobile telephone networks were pan-India and offered data, prices had fallen, Google Maps was omni-present and hardware prices had dropped.

Even a decade earlier, there were companies in Bengaluru providing vehicle tracking solutions. But, then hardware prices were high, mobile networks were patchy and data on mobile was not there, and Google Maps was not available. If you are ahead of the curve, you really don’t make an impact, says Ashok, Founder and CEO, AssetTrackr Pvt Ltd.

An alumnus of IIT-Madras with a Master’s in Computer Science from Virginia Tech, with experience in companies such as IBM and Silicon Graphics, Ashok realised there was an opportunity to start a venture in the telematics industry. He teamed up with two IIT Guwahati alumni – Vikas Minda and Abhijit Das – and founded AssetTrackr in Bengaluru in January 2013, offering vehicle tracking solutions.

“We could actually build a cigarette box-sized device which was fairly powerful. We thought this is the right time to look at it and build a product,” says Ashok. “We built our platform ground up,” he adds.

AssetTrackr’s is basically a tracking device and some of its early customers were bus transport companies and courier operators, which used the device to track their vehicles and consignments. It took the company 18 months to have the product ready, conduct field trials and hit the market. Now, AssetTrackr has over 300 customers ranging from consumer goods companies to an online grocery retailer to an infrastructure company to a cargo carrier to a regional language newspaper to a financier of infrastructure equipment.

Its customers include ITC, BigBasket, GMR, DTDC, Tata Capital and Daily Thanthi.

The vehicle tracking system is the basic product, but on that AssetTrackr has built other layers that help its clients manage their fleet, monitor last-mile delivery and also a personal vehicle tracking device for individual customers.

“Our basic unit is a GPS tracking unit. Then we have accessories like alarm, immobiliser, fuel monitoring. We also have additional software for delivery despatch. We have developed algorithms for scheduling and delivery management,” explains Ashok.

Looking for investor

AssetTrack raised $500,000 in angel funding and instead of raising fresh funds from venture capital or private equity firms, is looking for a strategic investor, one which would put in the money and help it grow domestically and globally. These could be logistics companies or those into distribution.

AssetTrack gets its revenue from selling the hardware and a monthly subscription for tracking the data, analysing it and giving it to its customers.

(The article first appeared in The Hindu BusinessLine.)