FuelPanda is a fleet refueling company, and is a fast-growing startup based out of the Bay Area in California. The company owns vehicles that are used to refuel commercial fleets on site. The goal of FuelPanda is to automate all aspects of maintaining a fleet, starting with making refueling commercial fleets faster and easier.
We had the opportunity to talk to Pavan Boob, Co-Founder/CEO at FuelPanda.
Pavan, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Before FuelPanda, I was a systems engineer at Amazon, Salesforce, and a few other startups in the Bay Area. I actually met my business partner at one of the startups I worked at. After the company got acquired, we decided to start our FuelPanda.
How did you come up with the idea to start FuelPanda?
The genesis for this company was the 80-mile round trip I had to drive every single day to get to work and back, and the fact that I would run out of gas and not remember to fuel up on time. We realized soon enough that as was the case with me, most other people forgot to fill their gas tank until they saw the gas tank light pop up.
We had no time to remember to fuel up, and when we did, it took time away from other important things. We got frustrated with how inconvenient getting gas in our vehicles was and decided to do something about it.
What is your service offering, and how do customers benefit from you?
We primarily deal with commercial customers with fleet sizes from 10-150 vehicles. Fueling is a critical business operation for our customers and depending on whether their vehicles are fueled or not, their entire schedule can get disrupted. In the last 2 years, we have realized that there’s a big market for our offering, especially with customers who have large fleets. These fleets have long distances to drive and run out of gas daily.
On average, a company that has 100 vehicles in their fleet spends about 500 hours a month just to refuel their vehicles. Some companies even make refueling part of their daily operations. So, there’s a time loss involved, labor loss, and cost spent in paying for that labor. At FuelPanda, we want to eliminate these losses for our customers.
With other similar competitors out there, how is FuelPanda different?
As I mentioned before, we are entirely focused on commercial fleets. We have the processes and technology in place to ensure that large businesses can rely on us for their critical operations and quality customer support. We are also planning on integrating telematics, dispatching systems, and accounting systems into our app. We want to create a platform that integrates with the next generation global smart cars so that the fleet manager can automate all the services his fleet needs.
What challenges to do you face with your mobile workforce?
We had a lack of visibility into where our fueling vehicles were and it just wasn’t clear whether the technician has arrived at the customer location on time. Using the right technology, we want to be in the know of any possible delays and incidents and take proactive action so we can deliver a great customer experience.
So how has Automile helped you in your journey so far?
We’re implementing Automile in a mission critical manner. The main reason we started using the Automile API was so that we could add a factor of accuracy and reliability to our product, and to provide more functionality and transparency to our users.
We use Automile to know exactly where our fueling vehicles are going, and use the Geofence feature to monitor our vehicles entering and exiting the client’s location. Based on this, we can make sure that our customers are being serviced on time.
We use Twilio and Sendgrid integrated with our app to send text messages and emails to customers about gas delivery notifications and the location of the fueling vehicles using the data from Automile.
Automile also shows us the time our vehicles have been on the move and the trip details. Based on this, I can figure out how long my drivers have been at work and calculate their shift timings.
How were you achieving for this before Automile?
We used to use a different app to manage our fleet that required our drivers to input their check in time. Since the burden to manually inputing details was on the driver, if they forgot to input the data or put in wrong details, it caused a lot of errors. It also led to other problems in our accounting management systems.
How are you marketing your company?
We have a sales team and they help by calling potential customers. We are also relying on partnerships and partner programs. Our goal is to partner with similar companies that are trying to get users to employ technology instead of old and tedious methods of getting the same task done.
What advice do you have for other businesses such as yours?
One thing I always stress is – ‘focus’. The other thing is to always give yourself enough time to find the right product-market fit. It takes time to figure out what strategies work and what don’t. And when you figure out the ones that work, you want to have time to repeat it for continued success.
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