Blog Post

Zendrive wants to help on-demand car services find better drivers

There are a growing number of “how’s my driving?” apps and gadgets in the market that will rate your – or your teenager’s – performance on highways and streets. But quantified driving company Zendrive doesn’t just want to grade our own behaviors behind the wheel, but also those of the taxi drivers and car-sharers that chauffeur us around our cities.

I first covered Zendrive in 2013 when it first came out of stealth and announced a $1.5 million seed round. The plan at the time was to launch both consumer and enterprise applications that would use a smartphone’s sensors to gather data on braking, acceleration and speed to extrapolate driver’s level of calm, caution and control on the road. But those plans have shifted to focus to companies with large fleets of vehicles or large rosters of drivers under their wing.

Jonathan Matus
Jonathan Matus

“There is a public policy, consumer and a business angle to this and our vision is to help catalyze change in all,” Zendrive co-founder Jonathan Matus told me via email. “Initially, our focus is on the business side — helping other disruptive companies and young fleets improve through our Driver-Centric Analytics and tools.”

Zendrive’s technology is called ZenFleets and it’s a software-as-a-service bundle that fleet management, ride-hailing or any other kind of on-demand car services company can integrate into their existing apps and monitor their drivers’ behavior with cloud-based tools. On-demand chauffeur-booking app Redcap, family carpooler HopSkipDrive and dispatch software developer Dashride are all using ZenFleets.

But it’s safe to say Zendrive is eyeing bigger fish. Considering the falling public perception of the big car-hailing companies like Uber, Zendrive may be hitting the market at just the right time. If Uber, Lyft and Sidecar want to assure their customers that their drivers are safe, reliable (and know where they’re going), they may start looking to outside analytics sources to start rating their drivers.

The company has certainly started attracting interest from investors in both the tech and automotive worlds. Zendrive announced today that [company]BMW[/company]’s iVentures, Fontalis Partners (the VC firm of [company]Ford Motor Company[/company] Chairman and Bill Ford), Expansion Capital and First Round Capital have made strategic investments in the company, though Zendrive didn’t reveal a specific amount.

As for the consumer app, Matus said it’s still in the pipeline, but with Zendrive’s priority on the growing ride-sharing economy, he isn’t targeting any specific launch date.