Hardware seems to be the flavour this year and India is seeing a healthy pool of startups coming up in the space. CarIQ is a Pune-based hardware startup, which according to its founders, makes cars smarter by connecting them to the Cloud and allowing the car and its driver to make decisions based on real time data.
Founded by Sagar Apte and a bunch of other experienced folks, CarIQ is a plug 'n' play device. “Even a smart 10-year-old can connect this to a car. You do not need to even open the bonnet. Just open the door, look for a connector near the steering wheel and connect the device. Once connected, the device intelligently understands the car it is connected to, and configures itself,” says Deepak Thomas, the creative ninja at CarIQ. The device comes with an in-built GSM technology and it collects data from the car without any intervention. This data is then sent to the Cloud where it is processed and users can receive the result over the web or smartphone apps.
CarIQ collects data from various electronic systems in your car such as the engine, ABS, air bag system, among others and sends information about service requirements, critical alerts, engine health, driving data, fuel economy, etc (it also lets users share this data on social media). CarIQ also has an ecosystem of service providers via which a user can set appointments with a mechanism, etc as well. It is supported by all the major car manufacturers like Toyota, Mahindra, Tata, Hyundai, etc. manufactured after 2008.
CarIQ is available on pre order for INR 5999 for a two-year subscription. “The product is being shipped with a cost that covers two years of data transfer. We strongly believe that a majority of ecosystem partners like workshops, insurance companies, and breakdown assistance providers will be happy to cover the data costs at a later date,” says Deepak. The primary distribution channel for CarIQ is selling directly to consumers via online marketing. “This is our primary user base and we are focused on them. We are working with various types of businesses as part of our offline distribution strategy so that we can increase consumer reach,” says Deepak.
Pune is the hub for automobile industry in India and this has played a key role in shaping CarIQ. “Pune has a strong ecosystem of automotive domain experts. Pune, being an auto hub, helped us tap into this ecosystem early on. The team that we put together, the advisers that came onboard, and the auto enthusiasts who supported and motivated us helped put this together,” says Sagar. The team is also working to partner with major players in the ecosystem so that the consumers wouldn’t have to pay for subscription.
Completely designed and developed in India, CarIQ is a great example of a solid hardware story blooming. We recently saw Wello making a splash with its health tracking device and some exciting developments are happening with 3D printers as well along with Internet of Things (IOT) startups: WiSense, PluggXLabs and Silvan Labs.
CarIQ is likely to hit the critical mass of pre-oders in a few weeks and will start delivering 45 days post that point.