The iTrans Technologies journey began when founder, Mallesh Reddy, was working for Sony. During his stint at Sony, Mallesh got interested in the consumer electronics space. At Sony he handled both product management and product development duties. The company offered him an option to enroll for a MBA course, which he completed in 2004, and returned to try his hand at intrapreneurship at Sony.
In 2008, Mallesh returned to India with an intention to startup. Transportation and telecom were two areas he was passionate about. He wanted to come up with a product or solution that was relevant to the Indian market. “I was staying in Bangalore and my car was broken into twice and some of my things were stolen. I realized that a number of car owners face similar issues. That is when the idea struck me! Why not develop a product/solution which connects the car with the mobile,” said Mallesh.
There are a number of hardware and software companies addressing this issue, but there is little or no integration between the two. “We developed Tcop keeping this in mind. Once you buy and install Tcop in your car, you do not need any other hardware component, software or firmware upgrades, GP, etc. It also comes with a built-in SIM,” informed Mallesh.
“We completed developing the prototype around end-2008 and early-2009 and in December 2009, we began production of Tcop. By May 2010, we reached out to all major car brands operating in India and got the product installed in demo cars. The feedback we got was encouraging, so in August 2010 we made Tcop available to the consumers,” added Mallesh.
Tcop sends a SMS alert to the owner if the car is either moved, the ignition is switched on, any of the doors are opened or if there is an intrusion in the car, where the car is opened without a key. The SMS alert contains the current location of the car and the date, time and place when the car was moved. “You have given your car to a friend or relative for the weekend, but want to keep a virtual eye on the whereabouts of your car. Tcop can be programmed to send you route details and location of the car,” said Mallesh. Two-way communication is also possible with Tcop. So, when you discover that your car has been stolen or moved, without your knowledge, you can remotely turn on the siren.
In the financial year ending 31st March 2011, iTrans reported sales of INR 1 crore. For the financial year that ended on 31st March 2012, their sales target was INR 2.5 crore, which they comfortably reached. Currently, Tcop is available across the southern part of India. iTrans has plan in place to expand into the north Indian market this calendar year. A recent census conducted by the NGO Mumbai Environment Social Network revealed that in a city like Mumbai the growth rate for vehicles is 9% per annum, which basically means that about 60,000 new cars are added on the roads every year. The numbers are similar for all the major cities in India. “Car owners already have buying power that is the reason they were able to buy a car. Car owners are also mostly knowledgeable consumers and definitely own a mobile. This makes the market opportunity for Tcop quite large,” said Mallesh.
So far they have sold over 2700 devices in less than 2 years. In Bangalore alone iTrans sells around 200 devices each month. “Our target is to reach 1% device sales in every market we operate in,” informed Mallesh. iTrans has attracted investment from both Public Ltd and Private Ltd companies, which includes a well-known automobile manufacturer. Currently, they have sales and marketing offices in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Cochin. Over the next few months they will be opening offices in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Delhi.
Speaking about the future plans of iTrans and Tcop, Mallesh concluded, “So far we have developed the product keeping solely the consumers needs in mind. Now we need to take care of our partner and associate needs. We need to ensure that installing Tcop in a car is an easy and fast process. It takes about 10 minutes to install the product presently; we are working on reducing that time down to 1 or 2 minutes. This will take Tcop to the next level.”
To find out more about iTrans, visit http://www.tcop.co.in/