Business Standard

START-UP CORNER: ‘Bees’ help businesses track shipments


IoT-based start-up Roambee provides real-time reports to businesses using tracking data, writes AYAN PRAMANIK

Vijay Nagariya, head of distributi­on at Mumbai-based Drums Food, the maker of greek yogurt Epigamia, could barely believe that he could, sitting at his workstatio­n, check the temperatur­e inside the vehicle that carried his products. But things changed for Nagariya in 2014, when Drums Food started using a tracking solution by Roambee, an Internet of Things (IoT) start-up that offers real-time data on shipments. “Before Roambee, we were at the mercy of the transporte­r,” said Nagariya, for whom monitoring the temperatur­e is as important as tracking the shipment.

Roambee, operated by Roambee Services, based in Mumbai and the Silicon Valley, helps businesses such as GlaxoSmith­Kline, Hero Cycles, Ceat Tyres, and Drums Food achieve efficiency in logistics management. “Bees”, or the IoT devices of this start-up, provide real-time reports to businesses using tracking data.

Co-founded by Sanjay Sharma and Vidya Subramania­n in 2013, Roambee uses its location-aware cloud platform and follows an outcome-based business model where customers pay only for the shipments they track. “Our solution, using the analytics platform, can predict a potential risk,” said Sanjay Sharma, chief executive officer, Roambee.

Before this venture, Sharma had cofounded two Silicon Valley-based startups, KeyTone Technologi­es, which was acquired by Global Asset Tracking, and Plexus Technologi­es, which later became an ICICI Ventures portfolio company.

Roambee raised $4.1 million in Series-B funding from a group of investors led by Deutsche Telekom Strategic Investment­s. Its Series-A funding of $2.5 million was provided by a group of Silicon Valley-based angel investors.

Roambee has a five-pronged approach for providing real-time tracking of goods: A smart wireless multi-sensor IoT device called Bee; global data connectivi­ty and device data storage; an API cloud platform providing real-time foresight; an on-demand business model, including the management of device reverse logistics; and a control tower called BeeCentral.

Industry analysts said Roambee offered a holistic solution. While similar service providers either specialise in building a platform or focus on the hardware, Roambee bridges the gap for a realtime location and condition monitoring solution.

“We are capturing this market by offering a frictionle­ss on-demand payas-you-go service. We enable partners like T-Systems, Bell Integrator and Accenture to use Roambee as a trusted data analytics tool for their clients,” Sharma said. Deutsche Telekom Strategic Investment­s acts as strategic partner to Roambee, which uses Deutsche Telekom’s infrastruc­ture for connectivi­ty to its devices in 200 countries.

Businesses across the world consider efficient delivery of shipments to be a growth driver. Experts say this is becoming more important with the mushroomin­g of e-commerce.

“Our revenue stream is from subscripti­on plans for our monitoring solutions,” Sharma said. For businesses that subscribe to Roambee’s service, it is an operationa­l expenditur­e that comprises devices, logistics management, the platform, and control tower service. It can be used per shipment or on a monthly basis. The firm operates in India, the US, South Africa, Mexico, Germany, and Brazil. “We are monitoring shipments travelling across continents,” Sharma added.

IoT-based tracking solutions are making inroads into different businesses and regions. The owner of another global tracking solution provider said, “CCTVbased tracking or surveillan­ce saw a slow start, but they are everywhere now. IoTbased tracking will grow much faster than that.” This was a multi-billion dollar market globally and it was growing rapidly, Sharma said.

The ~100-crore start-up said factors such as product-market fit, right unit economics, solving proven pain points and customer traction helped it scale up until the Series-B round of funding.

Going forward, the availabili­ty of tracking devices could pose a challenge for Roambee. The firm is planning to expand into field asset monitoring, indoor asset monitoring, and analyticsa­s-a-service.

 ??  ?? Sanjay Sharma, co-founder and chief executive officer of Roambee
Sanjay Sharma, co-founder and chief executive officer of Roambee

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