The abduction of a Snapdeal employee in February this year shocked the entire nation — the girl was kidnapped minutes before she was to meet her father during her usual commute from work to home. Although the unfortunate incident was a result of the lax law and order in the National Capital Region (NCR), it could also have been avoided with the help of trip tracking. While we are able to share Ola and Uber trips with our friends and family, journeys undertaken through public transport and while driving alone still can’t be tracked easily.
At present, the likes of Glympse, Life360 and Google+ help us track the commutes of those near and dear to us, but they become inconvenient because of the multiple sign ups they require and the battery loss they cause.
To make tracking easy without compromising on battery, Gaurang and Niranjan Kanvinde founded Reaching Soon, an app which enables you to locate your friends and family and know their expected time of arrival. It allows you both to track each other from your mobile devices in real time. Gaurang says:
Today you’ll call someone or get a call to ask “Where are you?” whether you are visiting someone, expecting friends/family at home, or meeting friends somewhere. This app gives you this answer conveniently at a glance.
Reaching Soon is a simple and free tool that needs no sign up, and anyone can use it on the go without any assistance.
Gaurang and Niranjan are brothers and alumni of IIT, Bombay. Gaurang is a serial entrepreneur who previously co-founded personalised video startup DrawTyme and eBook platform Accessible Systems. Earlier, Niranjan had stints at British Telecommunications, NK Trading, and Yardi Systems.
Whenever the duo had visitors — either friends and family or one-offs such as delivery boys, many of them had difficulty following directions. “Often, there were anxious calls asking “Where are you?” It became essential for us to know where they were so that we could give correct directions and if needed, just go to them to bring them home,” adds Niranjan.
The duo felt the need for an easy-to-use two-way location-sharing tool that would need no sign up. Gaurang says,
Since we did not find one, we started building one ourselves.
So far, the company has amassed about 500 downloads, with about 70 per cent app retention, and it is the daily usage the duo finds most interesting. The app tracks the anonymous analytics for its own evaluation, and found the frequency of use for those who have downloaded the app to be very high. In Mumbai, the app users often use it for long commutes extending beyond an hour-and-a-half.
The duo also noticed that 15 per cent of first-time browser users (people who open a trip request using a mobile browser) download the app. Gaurang adds,
Our primary use-case is concerned parents tracking their young children, young professionals, and college teenagers on their trip back home, usually late at night.
At present, they track them with phone calls, which leads to great anxiety, since half the time the call doesn’t go through, or the other person is busy, or can’t hear the phone ring. This app takes that anxiety away.
While Google+ and Life360 require sign ups and multiple clicks (ranging from five to 10) for tracking, Reaching Soon completes it in a mere three clicks. Importantly, Glympse has a time-bound tracking period while Google+ and Life360 do it permanently. On the other hand, Reaching Soon tracks only when a trip is on. This sets Reaching Soon apart from them and helps users have a hassle-free experience without much loss to battery.
“Our core differentiator is simplicity. We have designed Reaching Soon to be ultra-simple, so that even our parents’ generation, that is very new to smartphones, can use it on the go without any help,” says Gaurang.
“The market is massive, and currently we are looking at urban India only,” says Niranjan. The duo outlines that middle class urban daily commuters and their family members are Reaching Soon’s market. “More specifically (narrowed down) the late teenagers, young professionals, and their parents, who all are on smartphones,” he adds.
In Mumbai alone, the addressable figure could easily be above six million users. Niranjan points out,
When we consider the top 10 cities in India, the market is more than 30-35 million users for the ‘locate friends and family’ use-case.
As of now, the company is purely bootstrapped through the founders’ saving. “Our first intention is getting a significantly higher number of users who love, and not just like, the product,” adds Gaurang.
Among its most notable direct competitors are Glympse, Life 360, Friend Finder (an app identical to Life360 from the same developers, pursuing a different use-case), and Wave. There are many other GPS tracking/sharing apps but they are much smaller in user base. “Google+ is not really a competitor — it is too confusing to use as it offers too many functionalities beyond GPS sharing,” says Niranjan. The company also competes with Delhi based Send ETA which allows users to track a trip live with an option of sharing real-time movement with friends.
On the Android platform, both Glympse and Life360 have over five million downloads, whereas Wave has under a million. Going forward, the company will be looking actively to expand outside after amassing a significant presence in India (over a million users). “We will also be looking for funds after hitting a million users,” concludes Gaurang.