SocialBus started their company in Brazil, in the last year the team decided to move fast and start their process to enter in North America. Canada was the option for this company. Here is their story.
How did SocialBus came about?
Guilherme and I [Breno] have worked together for 4.5 years at the same company in the IT department. We have always talked about entrepreneurship, and how we wanted to make a business one day.
By the end of 2017, we both had quit our previous job, and was working in different ventures. We then decided to get back together to the idea of making our own business. I have always been very interested with transportation, and was working in the public transportation industry. Guilherme had tried to build a business in the transportation industry in back in 2013 but he hit some road blocks due to the maturity of the market and the lack of technology. However, when we got back in 2017, there had been a lot of technology advancement in Brazil.
We started developing a new product that we were using the tech we previously developed and used. We continued developing that until we got to a point in 2018 when we created a software that can manage in real-time asset tracking and mass vehicles, such as busses and vans, as well as an application that people can use to manage them. Unfortunately, we faced troubles getting our software forward in Brazil. We then realized that we have an opportunity to sell it elsewhere, in international markets, which are more mature, concerned about efficiency, optimization, and even the user’s satisfaction and passenger comfort in the industry. This was something we were not experiencing in Brazil, hence we decided to bring our product to Canada, joining LatAm Startups’ programs.
This is how we developed system that is now called SocialBus, to tailor to international markets.
Who is your target here in Canada?
Our key target is the private transportation market. In contrast to what we did in Brazil, we are not targeting the public transportation at the moment because we understand that there is a specific process specially in regards to procurement, and also because this process takes too long. We are aware that Canada has a lot of private transportation and shuttle companies to take employees or staffs around the city, especially in metropolitan areas. Right now, we are targeting mining companies, universities, oil and gas, warehouses and manufacturing facilities. We are not targeting the delivery trucks; these as logistical problems – We are focusing on the Human Resource aspect of these companies. Think about it: A manufacturing facility is usually located outside of the urban centre usually due to reducing costs. They have to take a large head count of the employees in and out of the facility, because those places usually operate 24/7. What we see is that the transportation services provided by these companies are not well optimized, and this actually costs them quite a lot of money. Inefficiency due to reasons such as long routes or low user satisfaction. To avoid these complications, companies end up encouraging employees to use their own methods of transportation to get to the facilities instead of making use of the transportation the company provide for free for them. That is where we see SocialBus making an impact. These are our main targets because they need to have efficient transportation and asset tracking, reducing costs and making Human Resource Management simpler.
What are your current projects?
We were recently accepted to MaRs in their 5G ENCQOR Program! This would be amazing as they will provide us will very low latency, which is striking difference from what we currently have access to. SocialBus works with both commercially available hardware as well as mobile phone, as well as our own proprietary hardware. We have a range of possibilities and we try to do this to be flexible to customers. When we move from 2G to 5G, we can be one of the first ones to revolutionize asset tracking in real-time. Instead of sending data every 15 seconds, to have a stream of constantly updated information which is invaluable for predictive model for vehicle maintenance. We are very excited to start our program with one of the best accelerators in the world!
We are also a part of the Seneca Helix Program, and are now working with them to develop a potential pilot test with the shuttle busses for the students of Seneca College. We are now working on structuring the frameworks and processes that will be needed to run the pilot test and collect the results. The biggest challenge is not doing the pilot; we have done this numerous times in Brazil. The hardest part is to measure if the value proposition that we are offering is being achieved, as some of them are not quantitative. There are simple KPIs that SocialBus is designed to measure, but there are some that is more difficult to measure, hence we need put more effort to make sure to get the accurate information. The measure of our success is not only when the system is working, but also measuring the impact on the users. We are looking forward for this opportunity and thankful for the support from Seneca.
What events are you attending?
We are attending Elevate this week, getting updated in the Toronto tech scene and networking! In December, we are going to Amsterdam for the World Rail Festival. It is transportation specific, not just for rails. We will have a booth and spread the word about SocialBus. If you are attending any of these events, come say hi and let’s chat!