At Facebook and Google, Pankaj and I were fortunate to build products and platforms that were used by millions of people every day to connect and improve their lives. Now, out on our own, we’re still driven to build a product that will touch a huge number of lives and improve those lives every day: we want to fix driving.
We’ve been working on Zendrive for several months and are excited to announce today a $1.5 million seed round of funding with backers that include First Round Capital, Max Levchin, Jerry Yang, Tim Ferriss and many other tech founders and leading investors. With their help, we’re working on a fun and innovative way to make drivers better and safer.
“Talent always comes first in our investment philosophy at AME Cloud Ventures,” says Jerry Yang, entrepreneur and investor. “The combined experiences of Jonathan and Pankaj at Facebook, Google, and Walmart Labs gives them unique insight into building powerful applications using mobility and big-data. Zendrive is an innovative approach to provide meaningful, driving-related data to consumers to promote better driving habits and empower them to make better decisions about auto-related purchases and services.”
Data Can Revolutionize Driving
Every year, billions of hours are wasted sitting in traffic, trillions of dollars are spent on gas, high insurance and other costs, and people are increasingly stressed and unhappy about their time behind the wheel.
What if driving wasn’t so painful? What if people had the information available to them that would allow them to understand and improve their behavior, and even be recognized and rewarded for responsible driving? Enter Zendrive.
People have become obsessed with tracking data for self-improvement, from how many steps we take to our REM cycles, yet no one has done a good job at measuring and pulling insights for our personal driving behaviors. We know that people are curious, and love seeing progress and improvement in everything they do. We believe that Insights and data about behavior on the road, when presented in an intuitive interface, can be hugely interesting and empowering.
We face driving-related decisions all the time, some before, some after and some while we are actually driving. Zendrive’s mission is to use data to inform and improve these decisions. We’re building a mobile product that will analyze data from the trillions of miles driven each year to enhance and transform the driving habits of millions of people every day.
Zendrive Empowers Drivers
Here are just a few potential ways for how Zendrive will be able to improve driving for all ages and lifestyles:
- Imagine you’re a young programmer in NYC. You weren’t the best driver starting out because you haven’t had much experience, and you had a small accident in the past. But you’ve worked on it and are now much safer behind the wheel. In fact, you’re probably better than most drivers. Yet you’re still charged an arm and a leg for auto insurance. Zendrive will make it easy for you to prove your new A+ road skills, and help you negotiate a better rate or choose a new insurance provider that will charge you less.
- Say you live in San Francisco and the Bay Bridge is closing for several days starting today, making your normal commute to Oakland impossible. Knowing your commute pattern, Zendrive will advise you the night before to change your commute to deal with this new Bay Bridge block delay, or to leave your house earlier to avoid the resulting traffic jams. And what if making this type of responsible driving decision was rewarded with 50% off on take-out from a local eatery on your way back home as well?
- Maybe you’re a newly licensed teenager living in a suburb of LA. Without a car, you have no social life, but your parents monitor your car usage as if you’ve just started taking permit lessons. What better way to convince them to let you borrow their car than to show them the data that proves that you are a better driver than the average adult in town (or better than your older sister who gets to use the car every weekend)?
Our ultimate goal is to make roads smarter, commutes shorter, and rides safer. And while we’re at it, driving will become more fun and affordable for everyone. We’ll have more details on availability of our private beta launch in the near future. In the meantime, sign up for our mailing list to be the first to join our beta or follow our Twitter page .