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Jan 15, 2016 10:24 EST

Freeedrive: Avoid #1 risk of car accidents

iCrowdNewswire - Jan 15, 2016

Freeedrive’s addresses today’s main cause for car accidents: TEXTING WHILE DRIVING. This represents nowadays 23%.The application prevents disturbing smartphone notifications as well the use of unauthorized applications while driving, allowing the car driver to focus on the road instead of his phone screen.Not only is it obviously expected to save numerous lives and avoid injuries, but it will have a significant collateral benefit by causing a paradigm change in the professional fleet management industry.
It is expected that using Freeedrive will induce annual savings on car insurances that are estimated to be in the range of 25k€/year for 100 vehicles. It also supports employers’ requirement under the ISO 45001 norm on Occupational Health and Safety and mitigate the reputational risk in case of accidents or dangerous driving with a branded car.

Problem

Texting while driving causes 1.6 million casualties each year in Europe

Driving safely has always been a priority for the community, as this was evidenced over the many years by the numerous and vast security campaigns supported by all governments across the World. Many of the known causes for car accidents have been identified and addressed with a reasonable success and the number of casualties has been on the decline until recently. However, with the emergence of smartphones this trend is now reversing, and according to studies, texting while driving is becoming the number 1 cause for car accidents, over-passing alcohol. It was demonstrated that it delays drivers reactions by a factor of 3 (+37%) compared to alcohol consumption (+13%), by a factor of 1.5 compared to cannabis smoking, and texting drivers are thus 23 times more likely to have an accident than those purely focused on driving. It represents ca.25% of the accidents in the USA, and a staggering 1.6mio casualties in Europe, more than 500,000 injured and 6,000 deaths. Consciousness is not even emerging, 55% of young adult drivers pretend it’s easy to text and pay attention to driving at the same time. 49% of commuters admit to text regularly while driving. These figures are based on US & European studies. Many websites report them. A good summary is available here: https://www.burnetteinsurance.com/2015/08/03/so-you-think-you-are-good-at-texting-while-driving-think-again-video/

Main concerns of fleet managers?
1. Fleet safety
2. Cost management

A study performed in March 2015 by E Malacarne reports that fleet managers are mostly worried by their fleet safety and managing their fleet costs. Communicating with their drivers and managing the ecological footprint arrive respectively in 3rd and 4th positions. Freeedrive do tackle the Nr 1 & Nr 2 concerns with the features included in the 1st release. http://www.transpoco.com/blog/2015/03/06/the-top-worries-of-a-fleet-manager/

Solution

Avoid 23% of car accidents and save 25k€/y for a fleet of 100 vehicles

Freeedrive’s value proposition is the following: as soon as a driver steps into his car, the application will automatically connect to the vehicle via Bluetooth and blocks all distracting apps and notifications. Thereby: no more texting while driving but remaining connected & productive via bluetooth
Installation and usage is straightforward:
· Set up: the fleet manager defines what type of applications may be used or not while driving
· Deployment: Freeedrive is downloaded to all drivers smartphone. Each driver registers his ID and car number plate.
· Freedrive is automatically started as the Bluetooth connects to the car.
· Only critical information is registered as an evidence of safe usage. Irregularities trigeer reminders to drive safely.
· Certified reports are available in near real time. Partnering insurance companies will be able to offer rebates based on the reported fleet profile and the use of Freeedrive.

Cobranded roll upFreeedrive screenshots

Intellectual Property

Freeedrive doesn’t intend to patent its application, but will rather (i) deposit its source code to demonstrate anteriority and (ii) take advantage of its first mover advantage by becoming the chosen security expert of its distribution partners to quickly gain marker share and erect barriers to entry.The algorithm for the IOS version is quite sophisticated to mimic the Android version. The know-how behind it is part of Freeedrive. Team’s focus has been set on market validation and business requirement writing. Patents, protections & proprietary filing will be investigated later

Major contracts

End 2015, the status is a clear customer validation of the functionalities, interface and technology. Although not yet operational, Freeedrive has a signed 2 letters of intent with 2 leasing companies active in Luxembourg and Belgium. Those may be turned later into formal agreement subsequent to the development of the application.


In addition, Freeedrive concluded a service agreement with its parent company, Barefoot SA/NV. This agreement set out that Barefoot will provide the human resources, equipment and its work spaces and any other service to Freeedrive against a monthly remuneration (as far as a certain breakeven point is reached).

Main partners

Letters of Intent: Toyota Belgium & Leaseplan Luxembourg

Strategy

Revenue strategy

The revenue drivers are 3-fold
• A set-up fee charged upon the deployment of the solution;
• A monthly subscription fee per registered employee. The fleet manager signs for a yearly subscription, which is renewed yearly;
• Several options are available for a small premium, which will increase the average selling price.
As the financial benefits (savings on insurance) will be 5x the subscription fee, delivering some substantial net savings for a fleet, the penetration should grow as expected.
As the use of application has a demonstrable benefit, it is expected that the churn rate will be low, allowing for an easily predictable growth of the revenues year-on-year.

We aim at getting 9% of the core market: leased cars.
Expanding to other cars (ie through insurance companies) , to other vehicles (ie trucks), to other usages (ie defensive driving monitoring) or to other geographies outside Benelux is considered as an upside vs. the business case.

Marketing strategy

The immediate benefit of playing in the B2B market is the simplicity of marketing where professionals address professionals directly. No need for expensive advertising campaigns. No far stretched critical to reach before breaking even.
Freeedrive will focus on the following initiatives:
• Capitalize on the partnerships inked with leasing or insurance companies (see below under Distribution Strategy) and make them the ambassadors of Freeedrive via a sales commission mechanism.
• Be a reference on the road safety scene by animating a safe driving blogs and speaking publicly at congresses & events.

Distribution strategy

Freeedrive operates on a B2B market where the number of players, corporate fleets is segmented and clearly identified.
Such customers are in fact already addressed directly by a number of limited categories of actors: (i) leasing companies and (ii) insurance companies.
The distribution strategy is consequently based on these 2 pillars and it is thus intended to partner with them. Two such partnerships are currently being tested, paving the way to many more of such kind, and articulated on the following principles.
In exchange for a sales commission being a percentage of the generated turnover, the leasing companies will:
• Promote Freeedrive and its benefits through the communication vectors they typically used towards fleet managers
• Bundle Freeedrive as an option with their service offering
In a similar fashion, insurance companies will
• Promote Freeedrive to both of corporate fleet managers and leasing companies
• Offer rebates to their customers subscribing for Freeedrive
The benefits to these companies are obvious:
• reduction of the casualties and of the costs associated,
• also allowing rebates to their customer base and improving commercial relationship,
• additional profits due to the sales commission mechanism,
• image improvement to their customers by acting directly as safe driving promoters.
As it is expected that the marketing campaigns will nevertheless bear fruits, addressing fleet managers directly is always an option, but the sales force will be essentially developed and deployed to deal with the above mentioned intermediaries as the effectiveness will be multiplied allowing to quickly gain penetration.

Internationalization strategy

International expansion will be a no-brainer following the distribution strategy that Freeedrive is developing. All partners, be they leasing or insurance companies, have a large international foothold. A successful partnership at the national level will build immediate credibility on such market, and a then well-established relationship at the local level will obviously open doors with other national entities across Europe, and beyond over a period of time.

Contact Information:

Augustin van Rijckevorsel

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