The Elevator Pitch
A recent QUT study of nearly 800 QLD drivers found that 77% reported using their mobile phone while driving, with approximately 40% doing so on a daily basis. Well, we have invented Distractless which stops young drivers starting their car until they turn on their Distractless app, which then makes their mobile phone un-useable while driving. In fact, if they try to then make a call or text while driving, a message will be sent to their insurers, parents, or any nominated third party.
In a Nutshell
Our aim is to launch Distractless onto the Australian market mid 2015, before taking the product to the USA, Canada, UK, and further a field in 2016. We already have interest from major insurers and automotive groups across Australia, and have had discussions with retailers who are eager to see working prototypes in early 2015. We have already had some media exposure, and have again been promised more once we have the product in hand. Through our extensive social media activities, we have generated interest from advocacy groups around the world, and continue our engagement with our audience who are passionate about our cause. We see our product as positively impacting the lives of over one million people in the next 5 years.
The Problem or Gap we have identified: Countless lives are lost everyday by drivers being disracted by using their phones whilst on the road. Texting, looking at social media, and even chatting on the phone while driving all put drivers, their passengers, and innocent bystanders all at risk. Those using mobile phones while driving spend 10% of their time out of their lane while on the road, and up to 70% of their driving time with their eyes diverted from the road. Despite realising the dangers, drivers afdmit that they do not have the self discipline to stop this habit which is costing countless lives.
How we plan to solve the problem or satisfy the want: When you get in your car, you need to switch on your Distractless app, otherwise your car will not start. Once you switch on your Distractless app, your car will start as normal, but your phone will not be able to send or receive text messages, phone calls, or emails and it disables social media (you will still be able to use maps, listen to your music, and voice-activated apps). In cases of emergency, the driver can pull over, stop the car and turn off Distractless to use their phone. Technically, they could even break the rules and turn off Distractless while driving, but if they do, a text message will be sent to a third party (a parent, employer, or insurnce company) to advise that the driver is no longer in Distractless mode. The device also logs if the driver is driving with Distractless is turned off. These logs can be read later on in the event of an accident to see if the driver was driving distracted. Sold as a two-part solution, this app coupled with a small piece of hardware which is simply and quickly installed under your dash will save lives and make roads far safer.
Marketing strategy: We have already had preliminary discussion with 3 major insurers and with automotive groups who will be promoting Distractless to their members by way of articles and publically commending us for this innovative solution. We are already in discussions with potential distributors overseas (even though this was not our initial target market) as well as having had early discussions with national automotive distributors here in Australia who, like many others, are keen to see a working prototype before committing. We want to structure a market distribution policy which allows us to direct market via our website (at full retail price) but to have a reseller netwrok, including installers, to whom we offer a healthy margin so that they too promote the product within their overall offering.
The business model: Our plan is to retail the device (with a free download of the App) at $295, with a wholse price (excluding GST) of $134. Our online sales will be made direct to the public, but our key distribution will be through retailers nationally, This pricing structure and rigid distribution model will allow us to make direct sales without cannibalising the distributor network.
Current Status: We have completed all of the schmatics and have ordered all the parts for assembly of the first prototypes. These are due to be completed by Feb 15, at which time we will start in-field trials of the product which will take until the end of March. At the same time as the in-field trials, we will be reacqaiting ourselves with the potential distributors, media, advocates, motoring bodies, etc who showed intial interest at the concept, but wished to see the product once a working prototype had been developed.
Validation: Over the past six months especially, there has been interested generated from insurers, the media, motoring groups, potential distributors, and the general public who see Distractless as a practical solution to the problem of drivers using their mobile phones while driving their vehicle. There has been much validation of a market need for such a product, yet the real proof will be in the sales that are yet to be made. Whilst there has been strong buy-in to the concept, the key obstacle we have experienced to date is the lack of ability to demonstrate a working model of Distractless. Of the interest and commendation we have received, many parties have said they will assess it more seriously once they are able to see a working model.