I have always been an advocate of innovation, be it tech or non-tech. But there is no doubt that tech startups these days are giving much-needed fuel to keep the innovation bar high.
Recently, I had a chance to meet one team which is solving a huge problem all the drivers face on and off. No, I am not talking about honking horns, that’s incurable. I am discussing the need for on-demand roadside assistance when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere.
We all know that vehicles and transportation industry in U.S is huge. According to Statista.com, there are more than 263 million cars and trucks running on U.S roads with an average age of 11.4 years. With this big figure, the need for roadside assistance comes into the play. After all, none of us wants to be stuck in the middle of the road with a flat tire, failed battery, dead engine or even with a locked-out car.
The startup name is Jrop.com. Jrop (pronounced Drop) is an on-demand roadside assistance platform that comes handy whenever your car breaks down at any place and you need immediate help. It sends towing service to take your car to the desired mechanic and also sends professionals for your help to fix it right away.
Here’s a copy of my discussion with Carl Redding, CEO of Jrop which will definitely give you the bigger and better picture of Jrop.com.
Hira: I love the name of your Startup, Jrop. So tell me what does it do?
Carl: Jrop (pronounced Drop) is an on-demand towing & roadside assistance platform.
Hira: How old is your startup and how many team members and co-founders are there?
Carl: We had a soft launch in March of this year only servicing the metro Detroit area. Currently, there are two co-founders and two employees. We’re a small but very effective team.
Hira: So roadside assistance has been there already or you are the first-mover?
Carl: Towing & Roadside assistance is a very fragmented industry with AAA being the largest competitor. What makes our platform unique is that it is set up to streamline the entire process. You can literally request help and have a truck dispatched in under 60 seconds. No waiting on hold while you call your insurance company. No lengthy phone calls with tons of questions. No need to locate mile markers or cross streets. You can even request help and track the driver directly from the website without downloading the app.
Hira: Most of the cars in U.S are insured, how is your service different than services offered by car insurance companies?
Carl: To name a few there is no membership required to use Jrop, we have flat rate pricing no hidden fees or charges, we have a 30 minute average response time, you can track the driver directly from the app or you can send a link to family or friends to track them as well.
Hira: Who are your “professionals”? The outside technicians or you’ve hired them as employees?
Carl: All of our service providers contract with us and are fully insured and have all the required state and federal licenses
Hira: Can anyone with the required skills sign up to Jrop.com as a vendor or partner?
Carl: We have pretty strict requirements for becoming a partner which is primarily to ensure great service to our users. More about signing up to become a driver here.
Hira: What are your expansion plans? What is the future of Jrop?
Carl: We plan to offer additional services and to continue to expand throughout the entire United States and we would love for Jrop to eventually be available in other countries.
Hira: Have you guys raised any funding so far? Any highlighted partnerships?
Carl: Besides an initial loan from family and friends, there has been no outside funding. We’ve been focused on creating a great product and are very proud of what we’ve accomplished without the need to accept any VC funding.