In line with the rubric of our upcoming Commercial Vehicle Forum, “where customer is the focus”, we got a chance to speak with an up and coming startup trying to bring efficiencies into the ages old road transportation segment. Please read below a short interview with the Founder & CEO of Bonfleet, Mr. Bhaskar ‘Bosky’ Kode who tells us about challenges being faced by transporters and how his startup is helping them overcome these.
Q How did the idea for Bonfleet come about?
Bosky: While taking Uber/Ola everyday to work, drivers used to share both what was going well and what was not. When fleet owners used to give a thousand rupee note to their driver – they did not know how much was actually going into the tank. This problem is more pronounced when there are many drivers. The current use of paper coupons is also very prone to fraud. The other problem we noticed from this segment is that banks had red-flagged small transporters – and as a result, they had no way to get access to a credit card easily. We started Bonfleet to solve both these problems by giving pre-paid plans for cashless fuel expenses that can be audited, and post-paid plans for transporters who work with an Ola/Uber/ or any trucking marketplace.
Q. How do you plan on disrupting the fleet management space?
Bosky: We see fleet management companies as partners. We do not compete with the existing telematics, IoT or other technology providers. We want to make it easy to manage the finances behind your fleet. And we make this possible by being the first petro card that will be acceptable at every pump in India regardless of outlet – be in LPG/Diesel or Petrol.
Q. How has the market response been to Bonfleet/Bon Petro Card?
Bosky: In our pilot phase – we did transactions over 20 lakhs to prove ourselves to the market and that the problem mentioned above did exist. Since going live in April we are seeing 100+ signups every week.
Q. How do you see Bonfleet evolving/scaling in the future?
Bosky: We think companies with substantial payroll and costs in transportation – to directly benefit from our product. Employee pick-up-and-drop vendors is another segment we are happy to tie up with to supply our cards to all cars associated with a vendor.
Q. How does Bonfleet differentiate itself from the other companies trying to disrupt the fleet expense/fuel management space?
Bosky: Apart from being pump/chain agnostic – our ability to work with our finance partners behind the scenes and offer Post-Paid plans – is one of our key strengths.
We also have the entire technology from issuing cards to managing KYC, to authorizing and declining each and every swipe, credit underwriting and risk assessment, to settlement and regulatory compliance. There is a lot of challenges that we have solved under the hood.
Q. Any new venture faces multiple challenges, what has been the single biggest challenge for Bonfleet? And how do you plan on overcoming it?
Bosky: We realized that nobody can do everything on their own. We are looking for marketplaces with access to drivers for a win-win situation. The drivers in the marketplace get access to fuel credit cards. And we get access to distribution.
Q. You are part of the fleet management and future of mobility panel discussion at the upcoming Commercial Vehicle Forum (taking place on 18th May 2017 at the Westin in Pune). What are some of the key insights and themes you are looking to focus on as a part of this forum?
Bosky: Being a data focussed company – we would love to share metrics from what we are seeing at a broad level, answer any questions about going cashless. Our product itself has an inbuilt wallet to move funds to and from cards to a holding space. This allows just-in-time movement of money to cards.
Q. What are your expectations from participation at the forum?
Bosky: This is our first interaction with many of the giants in the commercial vehicles space. We would also love to explore powering a loyalty point program to all customers of any such partner. Currently, we only allow fuel, tolls and service stations – but we are happy to partner with anyone who thinks our card holders can benefit by swiping at their outlet/product.
And finally, I congratulate the organizers for this platform and have no doubt everyone will leave the conference with satisfaction and number of ideas and relationships to pursue.