This is part of a series of interviews by Shefi Ben Hutta with insurance practitioners who bring an interesting perspective to their work and to the industry as a whole. Here, she speaks with Shashaanka Ashili, founder of Smart Drivinc.
Describe Smart Drivinc in 50 words or less:
We are focused on developing crash-prevention technologies in affordable ways. Our solution for distracted driving is affordable, configurable, tamper-resistant and backed by intelligent evolutionary algorithms.
How did the idea develop?
In 2014, my wife’s car was rear-ended by a distracted driver. A non-fatal, four-car pileup resulted in a total loss of the car. Finding another car, with infants in the family, was a painful process. The unfortunate part is that the accident could have been prevented, had the driver been a bit more careful. That is the focus of Smart Drivinc – crash prevention.
What’s in a name?
Our solution is supported by smart technologies that make driving safer…hence Smart Drivinc.
Describe your typical client:
Our B2B clients are companies with employees on the road: sales workers, insurance adjusters, etc., for whom we reduce risk by preventing accidents. Our B2C clients are parents of novice drivers, for whom we provide peace of mind.
What does competition look like?
The space is crowded with all kinds of solutions, however, we are the only company that solved this problem in an affordable fashion and created a win-win ecosystem for end users and insurance carriers.
What’s on your to-do list?
The top of my to-do list includes forming collaborations with insurance companies. Our solution not only reduces accidents but also brings new customers to the table.
What are you most excited about with respect to Smart Drivinc?
At the end of the day, what matters and excites us most is providing peace of mind to parents and making our roads safer.
Why are you part of the Global Insurance Accelerator?
GIA occupies a niche, a space that has not been visible before. Combining insurance and technology in the Heartland is a brilliant strategy. For the past three weeks, we’ve met with the best in the industry and were offered unconditional support for our venture. I learned a lot from each individual meeting. GIA has created a mentor pool that is like a library where you can find answers to everything. The best part is they’re one call or one email away from us.
Make no assumptions, stop “talking” and start “asking.”
Who else has been supportive of your cause?
CEO of MinMor Industries, Joe Morris, is one of our strong supporters. Thank you, Joe!
By profession, I am a bio-optical systems guy, no relation to the insurance or the transportation industries. Developing contacts and traversing these sectors was my biggest challenge. Being selected to GIA solved this problem for us.
Where do you see Smart Drivinc in five years?
Our motto is “Crash Prevention,” and we have several products lined up to address this, with the goal of launching a product once a year. For instance, we are developing a suite of products to personalize one’s interaction with his/her car, starting with the actual purchase of the car, down to maintenance, insurance and even the sale of the car.
Best life lesson:
Believe in yourself; you will have some discouraging encounters.