Perhaps one of the worst surprises you can get is when your car suddenly malfunctions. For business owners with a fleet of vehicles, not only do they lose money on the repair, but they lose money on the missed time that comes as a result of an out-of-order vehicle. Caarmo aims to help businesses limit these surprises for maximum productivity.
Apex-based Caarmo is a SaaS business intelligence tool that uses data from fleet vehicles in order to help businesses monitor their four-wheeled money-makers. Caarmo will be presenting at CED’s Venture Connect Summit (March 17-19, Raleigh Convention Center).
CEO Vinay Raman said his love for cars as well as his experience in the electronic medical records industry inspired Caarmo. He said the auto repair and maintenance process can often be confusing and frustrating.
“Most people have no idea what they need for their car,” Raman said. “They know about oil changes, but they don’t know about anything else. It’s a lack of knowledge and a lack of clarity for what’s going to happen next, and it just leads to an uncomfortable experience lots of times.”
Caarmo uses data to give its customers clarity on what they need.
Caarmo collects data by using a hardware device that plugs into a vehicle’s diagnostics system. This device has a cellphone chip that transmits the car’s data to the cloud using the AT&T cellular network. It takes Caarmo two minutes to gather the live data, and then users can view information about their vehicles on their mobile app.
The Caarmo devices stay in vehicles as they go about their work, updating live, so customers can know how their vehicles are doing, and where they are, at any time.
“The easiest representation is when I show you that you have 15 vehicles because you plugged in the device to 15 vehicles,” Raman said, “and it shows you on a map exactly where they are. That’s really useful information because it’s timely.”
Caarmo can be used by any automobile from light and medium-duty vehicles to 18-wheelers. It focuses on businesses with a number of vehicles in their fleets that lack the technological advantage of bigger companies like FedEx or UPS.
Businesses can use Caarmo in more ways than one. In addition to being able to alert owners if a vehicle needs maintenance, Caarmo can help businesses manage and engage their employees better by using data from the vehicle.
For instance, are some vehicles (and drivers) frequently running behind in certain regions and/or at particular times of the day? Maybe it would help to re-organize a route, or change the order of making sales calls or pick-ups. This, is turn, helps Caarmo’s customers better manage relationships with their own customers because they can see if their business is meeting their clients’ needs.
Though Caarmo was founded in September 2013, it pivoted to focus on businesses with fleet vehicles about two years ago. It was originally bootstrapped until The Launch Place—with offices in in Danville, Va., and now RTP— invested $50K in August, 2016.
Going into the CED Summit, Raman said he is excited to capitalize on the experience and begin a dialogue with other businesses.
“We’ve started to see some incredible opportunities open up in front of us,” Raman said. “We’ve started to collect more and more information on this business, and companies in other sectors who sell to those businesses have also expressed curiosity as to what information we have… The CED conference gives us the opportunity to start a conversation with those who have experiences and perspectives that we don’t.”