Mumbai-based tech startup Birds Eye Systems Pvt Ltd, a company specialising in traffic monitoring solutions, has raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from Matrix Partners India. The funds will be used to expand the company’s flagship product Traffline to multiple transport modes and 10 cities in India.
“Getting access to accurate and real-time traffic, travel and local information is a large problem for millions of Indian commuters in major cities. We want to address this problem using an approach tailored to Indian ethos and travel conditions. We partner with private players, government, police, public transport utilities and our users to ensure that information is real-time,” said Brijraj Vaghani, co-founder, Birds Eye.
Prior to this round, Birds Eye had received Rs 2 crore as angel funding from Indian Angel Network in April 2012. As part of the funding, IAN members Rajiv Dadlani and Nitin Agarwal had joined the board of the company. The startup had also earlier received Rs 15 lakh from the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE).
The startup was co-founded by Vaghani (CEO) and Ravi Khemani (CTO) in March 2009 and its flagship product Traffline (a low-cost, real-time traffic monitoring system that broadcasts live traffic conditions for road commuters) was launched in January 2012. Currently, the company provides real-time traffic information across three major Indian cities—Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore—under the Traffline brand. It is planning to expand to other cities like Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.
According to the company, its products are already being used by several hundred thousand users, and commuters can reduce road travel time by almost 20 per cent by using Traffline. Its product is built on a platform that continuously analyses live vehicle movements and displays results on Traffline.com. The results are available in a text format on m.traffline.com (suitable for mobile phones) and mobile apps, while you get them in both text and map formats on the web.
“We aim to own the everyday door-to-door travel and information space on mobile, be it private vehicles, public transport, or local businesses, across major Indian cities,” said Khemani.
In July 2013, the company launched a paid on-demand service for traffic updates. The service costs Rs 549 and Rs 849, for email and SMS alerts respectively, and will provide users with traffic updates for an entire year. For accessing the service, users will first have to select a start and end location, post which they can decide a particular time when they want to receive the update. Once that is done, they will start receiving updates depending on the subscription they have selected.
“We are excited by Traffline’s approach of using technology to solve the offline traffic and transportation problem in India. Traffline is a pioneer in this space and we’re investing to expand the product to 10 cities in India and multiple transport modes in a short timeframe,” said Vikram Vaidyanathan, director, Matrix Partners India. “We continue to focus on more early stage investments in the mobile space in India,” he said.
Matrix Partners India has Rs 3,000 crore under management, and invests in companies targeting the Indian consumer market at the seed, early and early growth stages. Its other investments include U2opia (social mobile apps), Twist Mobile (mobile games), Mswipe (mobile POS), Quikr (online classifieds), Stayzilla (online hotel reservations), Centre for Sight (eye care chain), Cloudnine (maternity and infant care chain), Muthoot Finance (gold loan NBFC) and TreeHouse Education (preschools).
Last month, Mumbai-based ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd, which runs an online marketplace for cabs and car rental services under the brand Olacabs (Olacabs.com), had raised Series B round of funding led by Matrix Partners India for a big minority stake, with participation from existing investor Tiger Global Management. Although the company has not disclosed the amount, media reports pegged it at $20 million.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)