Inspect, analyse, refurbish, recycle - this startup is looking at your tyres
Recognised by the Rajasthan government’s iStart initiative, Jaipur-based Fleeca offers tyre management services.
At a Glance
Founders: Tikam Chand Jain and Lokesh Sharma
Year it was founded: 2016
Where it is based: Jaipur
The problem it solves: Helps with tyre maintenance for fleet owners
Funding raised: Bootstrapped
Why would a techie with over 13 years of experience take an interest in tyres, one might ask, but for Tikam Chand Jain, a problem had to be solved, bottom up, literally!
Having worked with Sriram Transport Finance for almost eight years and, later, on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) logistics software, Tikam saw the costs associated with poor tyre management and decided to take things in his own hands.
“Through my past experience of working in the transportation sector, many people from the logistics industry told me about the roadblocks they faced because of the poor quality of tyres, and related services. It added a major cost to these companies, and that’s when I decided to solve it.”
In 2016, Tikam started Fleeca, and his ex-colleague and friend Lokesh Sharma joined him as a co-founder in 2018 to handle the business development. Fleeca stands for ‘FleetCare’ and is a tyre management services company for heavy commercial vehicle fleet owners.
“I was thinking about the safety of the vehicles on Indian roads. The entire load of the vehicle and its movement is dependent on the tyres. I want to improve the condition of the tyres which are plying our goods, and its impact on our environment,” he added.
The company currently works with over 15 B2B clients, and its services include inspection, refurbishing and other associated offerings. It has over 300 tyres under management at the moment.
It uses the RFID (radio frequency identification) tyre tags to track the mileage of a tyre in its entire lifecycle. A microchip stores the tyre's unique ID, which is linked to the vehicle identification number. The chip can also store information on when and where the tyre was made, its maximum inflation pressure, size, and so on.
“One can track the air pressure, non-skid depth, wear and tear, mechanical defects, and other analysis using these tags. Later, we help our customers in preventive action, repairs, retreading, and maintenance of tyres, thereby extending the life of such tyres,” explains Tikam.
It claims the Tyre Management System helps fleet owners by reducing costs and provides better mileage. “Less wear and tear allows tyres to last up to 15 percent longer than before. This means more miles driven on each tyre, and less time spent replacing tyres, which in turn helps in saving on the operational cost of tyres,” says Tikam.
The company also has a user-friendly app to cater the needs of the customers. Fleeca offers recycling of tyres, and making them fit for reuse on the roads.
The company’s current team size is 18, and it has around eight retreading plants in different cities of India.
Since its inception, it has seen a continuous growth in revenues. In 2017-18, it claims to have clocked a revenue of over Rs 42 lakh. “In the first quarter of 2018-19, our revenues have already crossed the Rs 25 lakh mark,” says Tikam.
Fleeca has different models to charge customers for the services it offers. “For inspection, we charge basis the number of tyres. For other services, the fleet owners share their tyre details with us and we take on a maintenance contract. We charge customers on a per-kilometer basis for the mileage covered,” he adds.
Tyres are an important component for an automobile, and the production and sales of vehicles directly affect the dynamics of the tyre industry. Owing to a continuous growth over the past decade, both in terms of volume and revenue, the tyre industry currently makes for a multi-billion-dollar industry. The global tyre market touched three billion units in 2017, growing at a CAGR of around 4.5 percent over the last seven years, according to an IMARC Group report.
The startup is currently bootstrapped and is supported by the Rajasthan government’s iStart initiative, which offers support for startups and entrepreneurs. It seeks to foster innovation, create jobs, and facilitate investment. “The iStart initiative has helped us in many ways, be it through mentoring, planning our financials, customer acquisitions, marketing strategies, and research,” says Tikam.
In future, he wants to take his services pan-India. “From the concept of punturewala, an undesigned and ancient way of treating tyres, we want to grow to retreading through upgraded mechanical technology, which will have analog studies. At the moment, we have the services in Rajasthan, Punjab, Maharashtra, Delhi-NCR, and will build up on it. Our team is focusing on a pan-India service within a short period of time,” he concludes.
(This startup stood in second place at the Startup Fest Pitches held at Bikaner Digifest, where YourStory was part of the jury.)