“People who made money in the gold rush were the ones who used to make shovels.”
This is what Kashyap Deorah, a seasoned entrepreneur and investor who is now launching his fourth startup, believes. And that’s exactly what he wanted to do after he successfully exited his last company Chalo, a payments app which was acquired by OpenTable in 2013. Towards last year, he and his co-founder Tapan Pandita, who was also with him at Chalo, were deliberating on the same gold rush-shovel philosophy and wondering, “What should we build for the new world where everything is connected to the Internet?” The duo had a soft corner for SaaS startups and wanted to build something of a global technology firm from India.
It was during this time that they realised in today’s on-demand economy, besides Uber, nothing else can be tracked in real time. Says Kashyap, “We thought, why we can’t track my pizza, the plumber I asked for, people or family on the way just like I can track Uber?” No one in India was offering unbundled tracking service and this is where they saw a gap of a track and trace service for the on-demand economy.
Thus was born HyperTrack, in October 2015, with the aim of enabling businesses or consumers to track goods or people in real time. Headquartered in San Francisco and based out of Delhi, the startup has been in private beta since February, and today is releasing publicly to the users globally. Thus any developer anywhere in the world can now sign up for its services.
Last year, Deorah authored The Golden Tap: The Inside Story of Hyper Funded Indian Startups. Over the last 15 years, he has started and sold three companies. He is also an angel investor in over 20 companies in India and Silicon Valley. Prior to Chalo, he founded Chaupaati, a phone commerce marketplace, which was sold to Future Group in 2010. He also served Future Bazaar as President for over two years.
How It Works
HyperTrack’s biggest scoring point is its ease of integration. Businesses simply need to plug in HyperTrack’s SDK into their apps, and it only takes an hour to integrate. The dashboard allows them to easily monitor the workforce, analyse time performance, see all the live orders in the dashboard, and thus offer a better end customer experience.
So just like tracking one’s Uber cab, customers can track their food, their ecommerce deliveries, even service personnel they have requested for through HyperTrack and get accurate ETAs.
Businesses also get to replay trips to see what went wrong and where, thus improving efficiencies. They can deal better with returns and thus reduce costs. They can also send notifications and real time alerts to customers. It enables better resource utilisation and analysing opportunities from heat maps. The platform stores all tracking data and offers businesses insights into the efficiency of their logistics operations. HyperTrack has ensured that it has taken care of all standard aspects of tracking so that customers can build their own proprietary layer on top of it.
Targeting The On-Demand Economy
With billions of rides happening per day in the world, HyperTrack’s target audience comprises all those businesses which have a mobile workforce or a fleet on street. So, for all businesses that have moved from the traditional ways to apps for taking orders, HyperTrack adds a lot of service value. Kashyap aptly notes, “Navigation has become our second nature now.” So, be it cab ride providers, food-on-demand, service providers on demand or any on-demand business, HyperTrack aims to empower all such by improving the end customer experience and effectively monitor their operations.Adds Kashyap,
“In the five months that we have been in private Beta, we have received access requests from traditional enterprises with fleets, and startups doing pickups and deliveries. Traditional enterprises from retail, logistics, consumer services, public utilities, personnel services, shipping and transportation have reached out. Some of these are large and profitable public companies with tracking as an identified pain point that is critical for them to solve. Startups in the space of food & grocery delivery, on-demand logistics, ecommerce logistics, on-demand services, ride sharing and inter-city transport have reached out for access. Startups with sales and service professionals, visiting customers, and consumer apps with social features involving friends meeting up have requested access as well.”
Tracking 100K Tasks A Day And Counting!
HyperTrack went into private beta in February this year and started blogging about their technology. As a result, it started receiving requests from businesses to try their services. Out of the 150 who evinced interest, about 50 were shortlisted, specifically the ones who were at the stage of their operational roll out and were based out of India. Now about 20 of them are active customers, which in total represent a potential of 100K tasks being tracked daily (one task being delivery of one order or pickup of one order).
Hence, the startup monetises by charging for each task. About 4 Cents are charged per task, with the first 10,000 tasks being offered for free to first time customers. These 20 users of HyperTrack represent almost all on-demand sectors. Notable among them are on-demand logistics service ShadowFax, restaurant delivery service Scootsy, pharmacy delivery service Pharmeasy and food delivery from own kitchen Holachef and Petoo, all of whom are using HyperTrack to monitor their delivery workforce.
Similarly, ridesharing service HeyTaxi is counting on HyperTrack to power an Uber-like tracking experience for their end customers and for tracking their own vehicles. The original Indian craft beer Bira’s logistics provider BookMyStorage is using HyperTrack to track BIRA 91’s draft machines as they make their way from warehouse to store. Ed-tech startup Toppr is tracking sales visits and on-demand services startup Skiwee is tracking service visits using HyperTrack.
As far as funding is concerned, Kashyap and Tapan seeded the company with their own capital. They have meanwhile got their mentors and advisors from Silicon Valley on board this year. The startup has also managed to attract Google’s Abhishek Poddar to join as the head of product. Abhishek was working as a product manager at Google, San Francisco for more than three years. Also coming on board is a key engineer from Amazon, Seattle, who would be joining HyperTrack’s web services team. Other members of the nine member team are also engineers cum entrepreneurs.
Selling HyperTrack To Developers Not Businesses
On-demand companies track deliveries by either building a system in-house, by employing raw location data received from the smartphone OS and Google Maps APIs or use enterprise SaaS solutions which offer delivery management software. However, most of these softwares are not suited to startups for their proprietary use or are simply too expensive. Also, Kashyap believes that no one startup has unbundled tracking service and is a complex enough problem to solve.
So, for startups which decide to build it in-house, it means shifting away from their core competency to tracking. Kashyap notes that companies who have been building such software in-house realize that a lot more could be done and it takes a hell lot of resources and time to build such systems. Hence what HyperTrack aims to do is take out the pain out of building for developers. He sums up, ‘Our best customers are those who have tried building it in-house, because they realize the pain of it.” Hence the startup is focusing on selling HyperTrack to developers.
Zishaan Hayath, founder of ed-tech startup Toppr.com, has been using HyperTrack for a month for tracking sales force on the field. He seconds HyperTrack’s ability in upping core efficiencies. Says Zishaan,
“We use HyperTrack to track our sales force in the field. The API was easy to integrate and dashboards are user-friendly. HyperTrack creates company-wide visibility, improves our sales force productivity, and reduces the annoying where-are-you calls to close to zero for us.”
Similar thoughts on easy integration and improvement in operational efficiency are echoed by Saurabh Saxena, co-founder of Holachef, which has been using HyperTrack since February. Says Saurabh,
“HyperTrack literally becomes one’s eyes with the on-demand personnel. We are blinded when it comes to what is going on at ground level and it fills this gap. And the best part is that the integration is very easy. We work with plenty of third party softwares and after the smooth integration, we can say that HyperTrack is a product of global standards.”
Consequently, Holachef is also planning to roll out the software for its consumers in a month’s time.
One of the biggest impact of HyperTrack stems from the fact that it benefits both consumers and businesses with ease of mind. It takes away the anxiety for the consumer who gets empowered to track his food, parcel, service guy, or even a family member or friend. Businesses meanwhile will be able to bring in more efficiency, particularly, as far as timely deliveries and returns are concerned. Monitoring of fleet on street will become a much easier and transparent process, thus allowing them to offer a better end-consumer experience.
As Kashyap notes, there is high predictability when the order is dispatched. But in transit, unpredictability is maximum. This is much evident from the fact that almost 80% of calls received by call centres of ecommerce companies are mostly these four words – “Where is my order?” It is this gap in the end consumer experience which HyperTrack aims to address.
The challenge, however, will be to bring these companies, especially startups, who are trying to cut their costs drastically to invest in software that helps improve service standards. What works in HyperTrack’s favour is the fact that such proprietary technology is an expensive affair for the startup to build in-house. Hence, many would be willing to outsource the pain of tracking to HyperTrack and rather focus on their core efficiency of getting the package/service ready!