Growth Story of HumSafer - Alexa for Truckers!

Jeenal Jain Jeenal Jain
Aug 13, 2021 12 min read
Growth Story of HumSafer - Alexa for Truckers!

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by HumSafer.

Good Mind (Parent Company of HumSafer App) has built an asset-light, free, AI-based Road Safety Solution that aims to cut the rate of road incidents to zero. Founded by Jehaan Kotwal and Sumedh Mane, HumSafer aims to reduce road accidents and improve the lives of truckers by implementing measures to improve their lives. It's a revolution in road safety through an evolution in behavior!

#DriveForOxygen by HumSafer is an initiative that aims to support 4000 HAZ certified drivers that clock over 12 hours to supply oxygen across the country. This initiative not only went viral but was also was able to raise over 11 Lakhs from 250 sponsors; the resulting fund-‘COVID Kavach’ will then be guaranteed to 10,000 drivers in the first leg of the drive.

StartupTalky interviewed the founders of HumSafer, Jehaan Kotwal and Sumedh Mane to know the startup story and the roadmap of the organization. Know how HumSafer started, its vision, USP, future plans, business model & more.

HumSafer - Company Highlights

Startup App Name HumSafer
Founders Jehaan Kotwal, Sumedh Mane
Head Office Pune
Operational Office Mumbai
Launched January 2019
Industry Auto-tech
Website humsafer.ngo
Parent Company Good Mind

HumSafer - About and Vision
HumSafer - Industry Details
HumSafer - How it Started
HumSafer - Product/Service and USP
HumSafer - Founders and Team
HumSafer - Name Meaning and Logo
HumSafer - Launch and Marketing Strategy
HumSafer - Business Model
HumSafer - Challenges Faced
HumSafer - Funding
HumSafer - Advisors and Mentors
HumSafer - Competitors
Tools used by HumSafer to run Startup
HumSafer - Recognition and Achievements
HumSafer - Current Status and Future Plans
HumSafer - FAQs

HumSafer - About and Vision

Good Mind (Parent Organization of HumSafer App) has built an asset-light, free, AI-based Road Safety Solution that aims to cut the rate of road incidents to zero. By prompting drivers at the right time with gentle nudges with regard to their driving, truckers are able to modify their behavior and take corrective measures. Coupled with incentives for good driving, the team @ HumSafer is confident that road accidents can be avoided entirely.

Its vision is centered around reducing road accidents and improving the lives of truckers by implementing measures to improve their lives.

"We have created an entire ecosystem via our accessible platform to empower and uplift this community. Our core belief is that by using our technology, we can change driving behavior and save over 200 lives a day. It's a revolution in road safety through an evolution in behavior" says Jehaan Kotwal & Sumedh Mane, HumSafer founders.
Sumedh Mane talks about HumSafer and the #DriveForOxygen

HumSafer - Industry Details

The transport industry is like a bloodline of any nation and over the period of time the industry today may seem booming as the products are reaching to people faster, deliveries are done before time and the experience of sending/receiving a package is becoming more seamless.

There are about 80 lakh truck drivers, across India according to a research report published in 2019. The majority of truck drivers are single owners and their ecosystem is highly unorganized – there are neither standard rates, schedules, shifts, routines, nor any union or unity amongst them.

The drivers are not left with any savings for their future, which makes them more hopeless about their future thoughts in life. As they don’t have any savings for the future, they land up in a very critical situation when there is some medical or money emergency in the family. It really is a vicious cycle of poverty and unpredictability that plagues generations of truck drivers.

Founders of HumSafer see the industry moving towards multimodal and more technology-savvy in the next 5 years. They hope to implement key products that are centered around empowering and uplifting this community.


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HumSafer - How it Started

The idea and conception of this startup are anecdotal as much as it is research-based. Jehaan Kotwal’s father, who was a truck driver brings over 30 years of domain knowledge to the table. While Jehaan himself has dedicated the last decade of his career to this sector, he realized that the needs of an entire marginalized community, whose services keep the country moving, have been neglected far too long. Using feedback from the primary research based on the principles of Human-Centered Design the MVP was designed. HumSafer App was then launched in January 2019.

Sumedh centered his career in Product, exploring technology, marketing, business acumen, but the one thing that remained through his startup and product career as Human-Centered Design, something he’s always been passionate about.

Jehaan would go on his truck every once in 2 years to understand the issues drivers face on-ground which is why he was able to build one of India’s safest transportation companies in the country, his solutions weren’t designed in an insulated office space but were derived from a root cause identification that is done on-ground to better serve the drivers.

When Sumedh came back from the UK after finishing his Computer Science Course, at the University of Glasgow, Jehaan had finally created the application he had briefly discussed before Sumedh left for 2 years.

They started informally discussing the idea and what can be done, and without knowing, organically, the idea flourished further and Sumedh decided to work on the idea full time! It was a professional relationship that had Human-Centered Design at its core.

HumSafer - Product/Service and USP

Problem Existent -

More than 90% of this segment start off as a cleaner first and are trained by the drivers they are helping. There is no formal training. If we want our roads to be safer, we need to help this community become better drivers.

Insight

Lack of safety concerns is not by choice but due to bad driving skills passed on due to the lack of centralized and formal training. Understanding what are the right incentives and motivating factors for changing their behavior is important for us to change their behavior

Solution

The HumSafer App! - Good Mind has built an asset-light-free AI-based Road safety solution that can help reduce accidents by giving gentle driving nudges to the drivers when they are driving badly and providing rewards when they are driving well. Think of it as Alexa for truckers!

HumSafer by Good Mind
HumSafer App

Pivot Point -

Although they did not pivot from the offering, what it learned in its pilot is if this was to be sold to truck drivers as a safety product, this isn’t going to work, which is why the company pivoted its product communication to a solution built for truck drivers as their companions: Aap ke saathi, aap ke saath! (Translation: Your companion, With you!)

USP -

Using gamification to understand motivation, incentives, and rewards, are the unique offerings that set HumSafer apart from any other safety app in the market. Some of these features include:

  • Alerts that gently nudge drivers on their safety and good driving behavior
  • Monetary rewards that are credited straight to the driver through UPI
  • Insurance and other medical aid they can register onto through the app
  • Live sharing of location with select contacts to keep in touch with their families
  • A 24/7 helpline for any road assistance
  • Community page-to share and discuss grievances and others with the community

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HumSafer - Founders and Team

Jehaan Kotwal and Sumedh Mane are the founders of HumSafer. Jehaan and Sumedh Mane studied in the same university where they were flatmates about 12 years ago, they have remained very close friends since.

Jehaan Kotwal

HumSafer Founders
Jehaan Kotwal - Founder, HumSafer

Jehaan Kotwal is the son of a truck driver who traveled the length and breadth of the country as a cleaner. This hands-on experience was a real eye-opener for him as he witnessed firsthand the problems that the 8 million truckers were facing- lack of safety for one. As his experience grew, it became a dream to come up with a cost-effective solution that drivers can use and really depend on.

Sumedh Mane

Sumedh Mane, HumSafer Founder
Sumedh Mane - Founder, HumSafer

Sumedh in his company Hackathon built a logistics-based solution which his team won. He shared two of his ideas with Jehaan which he really liked and implemented in his solution. Those two ideas included using the sleep detection from the mobile phone front camera itself instead of spending 30-40k on an expensive device as well as Community and interaction to alert other drivers about dangers on their route.

How is the task divided?

Simply put, Jehaan runs the business arm of the organization, this includes liaising with external stakeholders such as investors and Revenue streams Connection as gathered from industry experience.

Sumedh runs the product arm of the organization and heads the tech and marketing teams. This includes CTO - Harsh Shah (Last Byte), Branding and Communication - Ayshwarya Sharma, and the UX and Design team, Nidhi Shah (Shrishti Bangalore Graduate with Design Experience).

This team is part of all product meetings regardless of their roles. The branding and communication team is involved in very early discussions of the product so they are integrated very well with the team

Current team size

  • 2+6
  • Principles of hiring: "We hire people who are interested in solving this problem with the same passion we are. It is about making sure we share the same values and know what it takes to make our teams reach their highest potential" Founders of HumSafer further added.

Jehaan and Sumedh wanted the name of the parent company to reflect their attitude towards their work and life. Good Mind (Vaho Mano in Avestan) is also one of the main pillars of Zoroastrianism which is their guiding principle. "Everything we build reflects that thought process and is the core of our belief" they added.

HumSafer
HumSafer Logo

HumSafer App was a wordplay with ‘Humsafar’ as it means companion in Hindi and HumSafer is indeed drivers’ companion but mainly focused on safety hence the ‘Safer’

HumSafer - Launch and Marketing Strategy

The company had its in-house 200 drivers, with JFK Transporters as a strategic partner. All its experiments and use-cases are tested on them before launching it to the 10 million.

Apart from that, HumSafer also started with Oxygen drivers as the first real users during the second Covid wave where it insured 10k drivers and rewarded over Rs. 500-2000 per driver to over 1000 oxygen drivers for their amazing work during these tough times. HumSafer's is predominantly driven through word of mouth and various transport associations. Its spend on marketing has been so far 0 (Zero). The team wishes to put its energy more into building the best product for the truck driver, instead.

HumSafer has crossed over 10k and now is looking to reach 1 lakh drivers as its next milestone. It has made its technology scalable and the backend expandable, but outsourcing many of its non-core activities e.g. BPO’s and on-ground engagements. HumSafer's #Driveforoxygen went viral and the team was able to raise sufficient funds to insure 10k drivers. Now it wishes to insure 50k more.

#DriveForOxygen is an initiative that aims to support 4000 HAZ certified drivers that clock over 12 hours to supply oxygen across various parts of the country. These drivers risk deliveries through containment zones, lockdowns, and exhaustion- all while not being considered as ‘frontline workers’, essential or even emergency services, and working on a basic salary.

Together with Uplift Mutual, HumSafer has been raising funds to benefit the most at-risk and marginalized section of its community- truck drivers. These drivers have been tirelessly ferrying oxygen to and from various locations across India.

"Through #DriveForOxygen, over 11 Lakhs has been raised from 250 sponsors; the resulting fund-‘COVID Kavach’ will be guaranteed to 10,000 drivers in the first leg of the drive. The next phase aims to empower and enrich the lives of the 8 million marginalized trucker community" Jehaan & Sumedh added.

HumSafer - Business Model

Good Mind is a social venture, which is why it also has an NGO partner HumSafer Driver Safety Foundation. It allows all its road safety NGO partners to use the HumSafer platform for free. It, in turn, provides services to the drivers and the companies on their products to be transported. It has 3 revenue streams that will make the company profitable from the get-go. The three revenue streams are currently not being disclosed until significant volumes are achieved.


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HumSafer - Challenges Faced

"We went too big too fast with our technology spends and learned to fail fast quite late. We could have experimented more in a smaller way in terms of cost. We quickly covered it up in our learnings in the second version that the new in-house team built" as said by Jehaan & Sumedh, Fouders, HumSafer.

Key learning from its pilot was as follows:

  • Selling ‘safety’ to an Indian audience
  • As an idea and the story, they liked the idea very much but in terms of using the product, it wasn’t very exciting for them
  • The team had to go back to the drawing board and rethink incentives and behavior change communication strategy

HumSafer - Funding

HumSafer raised its seed round in October 2020 for INR 2 crore.

Date Stage Amount Investors
October 2020 Seed INR 2 crore Undisclosed

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HumSafer - Advisors and Mentors

  • Adil Malia - Ex HR head of Essar Group
  • Pirojshaw Sarkari- Ex MD of Mahindra Logistics
  • Cyrus Guzder- Ex MD of DHL and AFL
  • Naushad Forbed- MD of Forbes Marshall and Ex-President CII

HumSafer - Competitors

Competitors of HumSafer - Green road, Netradyne and Cambridge Mobile telematics

Tools used by HumSafer to run Startup

Notion and Firebase - Tools used by HumSafer to run the startup.


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HumSafer - Recognition and Achievements

This past May, Jehaan was nominated by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the Logistics Skill Council to start and spearhead the Oxygen Transporters & Drivers skill, Train and Deploy initiatives. Under this initiative, HumSafer will be training an additional 3000 drivers for Liquid Medical oxygen transport.

In terms of awards, Microsoft for Startups Grant had selected HumSafer amongst many other startups for a grant of $25,000. The grant came alongside access to Microsoft tools like - Power BI, Azure (server credits) as well as Github repository access for premium. They are also fortunate to be mentored as well as get network opportunities through access to webinars and conferences tailor-made for startups.

HumSafer - Current Status and Future Plans

HumSafer runs its operations across India, however, its head office is in Pune and the operational office is in Mumbai. It also has a Bangalore-based tech team that works relentlessly on the backend.

HumSafer is a pre-revenue start-up but has successfully signed a major tyre company with more than a 10k user base. The team @ HumSafer is confident that they will reach 30,000 drivers in March 2022 and 9 lakh drivers in five years.

HumSafer plans to reach 9 lakh drivers in the next 5 years. It is building its company to be profitable and scalable with the least amount of funding required.

  • Product and Tech - Currently, HumSafer is an asset-light product (software) and will eventually expand to a hardware device. Presently, it tracks drivers' behavior and journey and in the future, the team would like to track the vehicle’s data as well to optimize for efficiency
  • Business Expansion - Right now, the team would like other segments of trucks, buses, 4 wheelers, with a geographic foray into other developing countries (East Asia, African markets)

HumSafer - FAQs

What is HumSafer?

Good Mind (Parent Organization of HumSafer App) has built an asset-light, free, AI-based Road Safety Solution that aims to cut the rate of road incidents to zero. By prompting drivers at the right time with gentle nudges with regard to their driving, truckers are able to modify their behavior and take corrective measures.

Who founded HumSafer?

Jehaan Kotwal and Sumedh Mane are the founders of HumSafer.

What is #DriveForOxygen initiative?

#DriveForOxygen by HumSafer is an initiative that aims to support 4000 HAZ certified drivers that clock over 12 hours to supply oxygen across various parts of the country. These drivers risk deliveries through containment zones, lockdowns, and exhaustion- all while not being considered as ‘frontline workers’, essential or even emergency services, and working on a basic salary.

Who is HumSafer owned by?

Good Mind is the parent company of HumSafer. It is founded by Jehaan Kotwal and Sumedh Mane.

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