Some businesses fail, others flourish, but mostly they fail. That would be generally speaking of course, and figures do change depending on the industry, but it’s a well known fact that a significant portion of start ups will be filtered out within the first four years of their existence.
But you can’t win unless you try.
That mentality of perseverance is what I suppose has been dictating Jens Nylander’s, along with many others’, journey as an entrepreneur. Nylander is a Swedish serial entrepreneur who’s lived through an utter business failure, a success story and now the milestone of becoming father to his third Swedish startup company, Automile.
Nylander’s first company, Jens of Sweden, used to be a significant distributor of mp3-players in Sweden in 2003-2005. The business, however, declared itself bankrupt in 2005 after manufacturing complications led to the company being forced to repair some of their products, resulting in massive losses.
Merely a year later, in 2006, Nylander founded his second startup, Jay AB, also knows as Jays of Sweden. This time the business focused on manufacturing medium to high priced headphones (~$40-$100), mainly for US and Asia-Pacific consumer markets. As of today, the company is listed in Nasdaq OMX and closed a partnership in 2014 with Microsoft in regards to cooperated distribution of the headphones in the US.
Nylander’s latest offspring, Automile, is contributing to the idea of the Internet of Things through a platform for businesses to connect with their cars and collect analytical data concerning the vehicles in question.
Today, Automile announced a partnership with Telit, a global enabler of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, that allowed the connected car platform to close a deal with a leading international car manufacturer. According to Automile, the deal is valued at $4 million in the first year. The agreement follows another milestone deal closed earlier this year with leading aftermarket auto parts provider, reinforcing the offering’s value and product differentiation in the fleet management market.
Automile is an electronic vehicle trip logger that provides insights analytics on the car driven. Basically its a tiny black device that you plug into the OBD II port of your car (OBD II is the On Board Diagnostic port equipping all vehicles since 1996 in US and 2001 in Europe) that gathers relevant data while you drive. This data includes stuff like distance covered on a specific driving session, a mapped GPS-based route through which the car drove, amount of fuel consumed and volume of CO2 emitted etc.
Using the app as a basic user creates you an account with which you can share information with other users and spot your friends current car locations (if they enable the feature that is). It’s worth mentioning that public beta is open for sign up, and the app and the device, are completely free (seriously).
The monetization comes from selling the platform for companies that own company vehicles they need to track. The platform provides managers with a variety of important information that can be used to improve the fleets consumption costs on the long run. The data reports are promised to be “effortless, accurate and up-to-date reporting of vehicle trip logs, fully compliant with your local tax authorities” and the app keeps track of the vechicles health condition, informing users of high coolant temperatures, speed and critical engine error.
Additionally, the app has a feature called Geofence, which lets a manager know via sms, email or even voice notification if a company car has left a predefined area of the map.
Should the features work like a charm the way the company promises, it’s hard not to see the management benefits for businesses that have dozens if not hundreds of cars under supervision. However, in the end it all comes down to the cost of implementing the installation of the devices into the vehicles, which is the part Automile stands out: since the device is plugged into an already existing OBD II port, installation fees are literally zero.
The monthly cost of the platform per vehicle starts at €10.50/$14.90, but keep in mind the price includes the device and full access to the app, with no limitations to the number of drivers that use the same car. Currently, Automile is available for businesses with a three months free trial (for up to five vechicles).
It will surely be interesting to see how far will Nylander go with Automile, and what other businesses does the imaginative entrepreneur have in mind. Meanwhile, if you own a car, consider signing up for the free beta testing (once it’s available). It’s for free after all.