This article is sponsored by Qualcomm Ventures
Mumbai-based Birds Eye Systems offers traffic and transport information apps - Traffline and Ridlr. Founded in 2010, the company aims at connecting people and creating communities to enhance city dwellers’ commute experience. By collating information and dispensing it to their users, it helps build communities that can play an active role in contributing to data which should help people have a better commuting experience.
Traffline, the company’s flagship product, is a real-time traffic monitoring system and gives commuters directions on the best route to their destination. In addition to helping drivers avoid roadblocks and diversions, Traffline users can access interesting data around driving and commuting that the Birds Eye Systems team hopes will lead local civic agencies to create better infrastructure. Ridlr is a smart public transport app that can be used to save time and stress whilst using public transport like bus, train, metro and monorail. It factors in blocks, diversions, delays and cancellations when suggesting a mode of transport to the user.
They started Birds Eye Systems in 2009. When it participated in Qualcomm Ventures’ QPrize seed investment competition the company was just registered and did not have a working business model.
Much later, after some more research and planning the duo finalised their business plan and received funding from Qualcomm Ventures.
The startup was bootstrapped initially. Indian Angel Network made an angel investment of Rs 2 crores in Birds Eye Systems, and it also received seed stage funding from the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE).
Birds Eye Systems has a patented algorithm that captures live movement on the streets through GPS-installed probes.
Brijraj shares that the probes are vehicles or individuals on the road, traffic police of a particular city or public transport vehicles. Data is beamed through satellites in microseconds to their servers where it is crunched across parameters like congestion time and vehicular movement to come up with real-time information on a given traffic situation and how to avoid it.
The users get real-time updates of the best routes to travel, traffic jams to avoid, and road events to escape. They can estimate travel time from one point to another and check alternative routes to steer clear of potential traffic delays. They can also call the Traffline centre to get instant updates. The app also allows users to share traffic information and alternative routes with the user’s friends and family.
Traffline is available on multiple platforms with the Android and iOS versions of the app being available on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. The team had to work on getting commuters into the routine of checking out traffic conditions before getting out of their homes and offices. So they introduced a service that pushes relevant traffic updates to the user during pre-selected times on a daily basis.
Birds Eye Systems offers its services in 12 cities and is soon planning to offer solutions for inter-city travel too. The company also plans to expand to 30 cities, including some outside the country, by the end of this calendar year.
The company’s products saw up to 2 million downloads last year. The team is expecting up to a 500 per cent increase in downloads in 2015, focusing primarily on consumer engagement and creating a hyperlocal platform for discovery and transaction.
Having started off with a team of five, now Birds Eye Systems has a team of 80 people.
Brijraj says team building should be an important focus of any startup. He also says numbers speak a lot and startups have to pay attention to the trends in their data and adapt accordingly. Their future plans are to continue on their growth path and leverage social media platforms like Twitter in efforts to further increase their app usage.