When former FutureBazaar President Kashyap Deorah decided to travel the world for five months in 2014-15, everywhere he went, he noticed the proliferation of apps that offered rides, and the delivery of food and the other local products and services. Kashyap, whose startup Chalo had been acquired by OpenTable, noticed that the on-demand/hyperlocal economy was riding a new global wave.
Kashyap also noticed that just as e-commerce was built on top of a bunch of software primitives, the primitives for this new economy were just being built. Tapan Pandita, Co-founder, HyperTrack, says:
When Kashyap returned to India, we discussed the prospect of building a platform for developers at on-demand startups. We discussed a number of primitives and zeroed in on track and trace.
In the last quarter of 2015, the duo finalised their startup HyperTrack, which positions itself as a track and trace service for local deliveries. Tapan adds,
Just like you can see your Uber ride coming to you on a map with an ETA, driver’s photo and contact, we wondered why that could not be done for everything else. Using HyperTrack, any app can provide the same experience to its consumers.
The platform also stores all tracking data and offers businesses insights into the efficiency of their logistics operations. Currently, the full version of the service is free to try for up to 1,000 orders a day.
Team behind HyperTrack
Kashyap is a serial entrepreneur and has spent the last 15 years between India and Silicon Valley. During this time, he has started and sold three companies – Righthalf, Chaupati Bazaar and Chalo. He is also the author of the recently released book – The Golden Tap, the Inside Story of Hyper-funded Indian Startups. Tapan started his career as an early employee at Glitterbug, which went on to become Coverfox. He was the principal software engineer and led the server team at Chalo. Kashyap and Tapan are both IIT Bombay alumni.
HyperTrack filters noise from GPS and geospatial data to deliver actionable APIs
Estimating ETAs on deliveries can be challenging. There is the road time it takes to get from point A to point B, and then there is the time it takes to actually make the pickup and delivery. Road-times vary based on whether it’s a two wheeler or a car or a van. “We take all these factors into account to give accurate ETAs,” says Tapan. This allows businesses to set the correct expectation and delight their customers.
“GPS data is typically very noisy. Our algorithms process this data in the cloud and improve location accuracy,” says Tapan. This enables Hypertrack to keep the driver on the road and depict smooth animation on a map. With accurate ETAs and smooth animation experience, these apps can delight their customers.
Geospatial data is very hard to tame. “Once you start tracking, hundreds of thousands of data points are generated every day. Storing this data and analysing it quickly is a big task. We store all of this data and allow you to query it quickly either through our dashboard or through APIs,” says Tapan.
How is HyperTrack different from competition
Today, on-demand companies can track delivery in two ways. One is to build a system in-house using raw location data received from the smartphone OS and then use Google Maps APIs to make sense of this data. The other is to use enterprise SaaS solutions that offer a driver app, sometimes called delivery management software. HyperTrack has learnt that most on-demand startups with in-house developers choose the first option because off-the-shelf driver apps are either not suited to their proprietary use case or get very expensive if you pay per driver per month. Instead, HyperTrack is a developer tool with SDKs and APIs. Companies add the tracking SDK into their own driver apps and tell HyperTrack APIs when the order is out for pickup or delivery. HyperTrack then tracks that order live, and provides interfaces for customers and business operations to do the same through an app or browser, and stores the trace for future reporting and analysis.
HyperTrack claims that they are the only solution with a developer-centric API approach for tracking, instead of enterprise SaaS.
HyperTrack solves the tracking problem at a fraction of in-house development cost
HyperTrack runs analytics on top of this data that allows businesses to notice trends and see how they are performing. While talking about the benefits local businesses can derive, Tapan adds, “We take care of all standard aspects of tracking so our customers can build their own proprietary layer on top of it. Our customers can focus on their secret sauce and not get distracted by science projects.”
HyperTrack solves the problem of ETAs, smooth animation and managing data at a fraction of the cost of doing it in-house. “Our SDKs can be integrated in a few hours and save companies months of development time,” says Tapan.
Smartphones are the fabric of an on-demand economy. “Our target market is all those companies with people and stuff trying to get from a local facility to a household within the hour, anywhere in the world,” says Tapan.
Current traction of HyperTrack
Currently, the company has about a dozen select Beta partners and tracks about a 1,000 deliveries on a daily basis.
“We have a healthy waitlist of Beta customers in India and Silicon Valley. The product is in private beta right now and still evolving based on customer feedback. We will keep adding more companies as the product becomes more mature,” says Tapan.
HyperTrack is backed by industry veterans in Silicon Valley and India, including people who have helped build Google Maps and Uber maps. The founders have invested a good amount of money in the company as well.
Size of opportunity
More than two decades have passed since the advent of e-commerce, yet less than 5 per cent of all commerce in the world is online. Today, thanks to smartphones, everything else is going online as well - taxis, restaurants, groceries and even plumbing services can be ordered online. “Unlike old e-commerce, things are not coming to your doorstep the next day or on Tuesday, they are now coming to you within 35 minutes or Tuesday between 1-2 pm,” adds Tapan.