A Goan boy goes to study in Canada, works for a while. Then, home beckons, so he returns to start something of his own. Along with sparking a tech community in Goa, he launches a product startup with friends in Canada, develops teams in both countries, and sells the solution to Canadian companies to start with. He has also raised funds in order to scale his business and develop the tech scene in Goa. And this is not a one-off story in India, it is happening in various parts of the country.
The company in question in this example is Fleetrover, and the man behind it is Luke Sequeira. As his blog bio says, “A UX designer based in Canada and Goa. I run dccper.com and goa.me and I'm widely recognised as the least important man on earth.”
After college, Luke spent a few years gaining exposure and experience before heading to Canada for a Masters’ degree in strategic brand management. Before going to Canada, Luke had already started community building exercises in Goa with goa.me and was intending to work further in the direction.
He took the plunge in 2013 and started Dccper, a UX Design and product development company. During this time, he got talking with partners Aprup Shet, Hannah Bain (UK) and Chris Atkinson (Canada) and they came came up with an idea that would require combining the group's talents and connections in India and Canada. “We are still a small team, but a distributed one, with about 4 people working on development in Goa, while a small team works in sales in Canada. Having lived in both places, such an arrangement lets us have the best of both worlds,” says Luke.
What does Fleetrover do? It is an end-to-end enterprise software for fleet management with the following features:
Fleet dashboard: Lets businesses monitor their fleet and drill down to specific assets and their current status or outstanding alerts. This overview of operations can be used to make critical, time-saving decisions that will improve efficiency.
Vehicle logs: Within a comprehensive timeline, businesses can analyze concise records of all assets, interactions, and behaviours.
Warehouse logs: Help in tracking trailers and trucks as they arrive and depart from warehouses, and utilize RFID-enabled devices to produce precise time stamps and reliable insights into inventory utilization.
Vehicle Diagnostics: Assess vehicle maintenance, performance and driver behaviour with contextualized metrics in real-time.
Fleetrover has managed to raise $180,000 from angel investors like Tim Chen, CEO, Nerdwallet and Sanjay Venkat, former VP, Bank of America and partner at Cadian Capital. Talking of the product, Luke explains, “FleetRover delivers uncluttered insights into fleet movement, position, behaviour and fuel consumption. It gives businesses actionable insights in real-time, through GPS tracking hardware connected to vehicle ECMs.” The company has 4 clients as of now with the device installed in close to 1000 trucks.
Logistics is a space seeing a lot of innovation now, post the e-commerce boom. Companies like Loginext in Mumbai are working on similar vehicl-tracking technologies, while platforms like Shippr and Returntrucks have built platforms in order to organize trucks and lorries for transportation. The segment is huge in India, and technology has hardly infiltrated the process yet. As large as the opportunity may seem, it is difficult to educate stakeholders involved in the sector and prove the value of the proposition.
For Fleetrover, the aim is to expand in Canada before looking at other markets. Shuttling between Goa and Canada, Luke dons multiple hats. And apart from devoting time to Dccper and Fleetrover, Luke is working hard towards developing the tech community in Goa. “There is not a lot happening but whatever little there is, the signs are encouraging. There is a small team of volunteers, of which Luke is a part, that runs Startup Goa Jobs board, and makes it a point to conduct activities for start-ups at regular intervals. CIBA is an incubator that is based in Panjim which has an interesting portfolio, Cory York has been actively building a base in Goa, Prajyot Mainkar is an entrepreneur and Android evangelist in the region and DesignBeard, one of the best design firms in India, is based in Goa. And there are many more such efforts being made towards getting the technology scene cracking.