NEZABERETE

Anti-tow and car monitoring platform
MY ROLE
Managing Partner
October 2015 - July 2016
My duties and responsibilities: idea generation, vision, product strategy, product and team management.

  • Assembled three teams - software development, sales, marketing, 13 members in total.
  • Created a vision and prepared app prototypes and user stories.
  • Build and release the platform and mobile apps in 6 months.
  • Developed and checked various user acquisition scenarios and market entry tactics

Idea
The street-paid parking was in its way of implementation across Moscow in those days.
It was a very painful period for car owners and drivers – your’ car could be removed from the street at any time regardless of the presence or absence of road signs. The city had implemented a predator’s practice and gave a green light to its subsidiary division – to remove cars as many as possible. There were a lot of cases when personnel of this division put temporally signs overnight and towed all cars because they decided it. This practice combined with obligations to pay fines and fees for towing, and for parking time at special parking areas has raised an enormous hate against the parking division. Their information services worked awful – you may spend hours on the phone trying to find your car.
Just imagine – you parked your car in the same spot every day for months and one day you didn’t find it at the place you parked it. Fear, panic, and adrenaline came into your veins and your blood pressure went up. First mind – your car has been stolen. You called the police, then the insurance company and then to the parking call center. You had been placed in a queue for 20-30 minutes to hear where your car is located if information about your vehicle has been already registered in their system. If not, you have had to wait and repeat the call again. These special parking areas were established in the least convenient areas with low transport availability. The drivers might spent 1.5-2 hours on average to reach these locations. You'll need to sign some papers, pay fines and fees, and get your car back, but if you were just a driver, but not the owner of the car – you need to come with the owner or provide a proper power of attorney or insurance for that car with your name on it.
One day, in October 2015, Leonid phoned me and said his BMW had been taken by "crocodiles" again - let's create something that can help to avoid such drastic moments and awful feelings. We had a brainstorm and came up with the idea of “Nezaberete” (“You won't take it”) the second name was “Gde Tachka” (“Where is the car”)
The idea in brief – to monitor a car position change, not only at horizontal axis, but vertical also and notify the owner vi app, by phone and SMS – was similar to the satellite car alarm but should be far less expensive and user friendly.

Implementation
We needed to find smart and cheap tracking device that could be installed into the car. We’ve checked a possible options and decided to use OBD devices, it can be connected to the cars of various manufacturers. Ruptela and Teltonika has been left on the list after the tests, Chinese trackers was ruled out . Their devices had GPS, GSM, can read car signals, events, measure acceleration and were affordable in price - around 100 Euro per unit.
The platform, a mobile app for iOS and Android was developed in the next 6 months. Everything worked as designed and we’ve met all our expectations – users got notified via the app – push messages, vibration, and sound, via phone call – just in 10 seconds after car wheels lifted into the air.

Evaluation
We tried a various go-to-market ideas, first we’d planned and made a promo campaign for one month in June, with well-known bloggers on YouTube, Facebook, and VK , spent around 10k USD and landed 25K unique user visits to our site.

Tested different packaging, pricing and offers, we figured out two main bottlenecks - fear of self-installation of ODB-device and low trust to the new brand and product.

We have received over 30 partnership requests, prompting us to concentrate on attracting partners amid the auto repair, car wash, and tire repair and similar services. Over a period of 2 months, we actively sought out and met with potential partners. After assessing the results and feedback, we found that the majority of potential B2B partners were hesitant to promote our service due to a lack of brand recognition and trust.

Leonid and I held contrasting views on several crucial matters at this stage:

  • Promotion - Leonid held the belief that marketing was unnecessary and was hesitant to spend on advertising and PR, while I thought that without effectively engaging the end user, the project would have minimal chances of success.

  • Participation in startup accelerators - We had received initial approval from one accelerator, which required both Leonid and me to participate jointly, but Leonid was uninterested in the program.

  • External investment - Leonid didn't want to engage in fundraising and generally did not favor the idea of external investment.

This situation had reached an impasse - promoting the project required investment in marketing and PR, but there was no way to make such investments.

After discussing various options, Leonid and I eventually agreed to go our separate ways, and I departed from the project. This was a difficult decision, as I believed the project had significant potential, not only as a service for protection against theft and towing, but also as a service for car monitoring and diagnosis.

Tools and services:
Amazon AWS infrastructure for backend services
PickPoint Geocoding services
Jira Development process management
Voximplant Phone apps services
Basecamp Backoffice, marketing team task management
Ecwid - engine for on-line store

MEDIA
Press, app UI, promos, videos
Paid promo AcademeG
Paid promo ILYA STREKAL