SafeDrive are on track to go global


Back in December Tudor Cobalas introduced us to SafeDrive, the mobile app which he’s been building with Co-Founder, Eduard Alexandrian, to incentivise drivers to refrain from using their phones while behind the wheel.

At the time of our initial interview, SafeDrive users had driven a collective total of 500,000 ‘responsible kilometres’. Fast-forward to today, adhering to all legal speed limits of course, and over 4.5 million km have been recorded on the roads using the app.

“We have more than tripled our user base and are now at around 20,000 app downloads in total, with 30% of these being monthly active users,” said Tudor.

SafeDrive’s growth has been fuelled by a two-fold plan: firstly, through engaging with existing users to develop the app into one that will be used again and again by drivers; and secondly, by building powerful marketing capabilities for the platform which allow SafeDrive partners to reach their audience more effectively.

Tudor and Eduard recently launched ‘SafeDrive Play’, an in-app feature that allows users to compete with others selected at random by driving the most responsibly. The hook being that the safest driver is rewarded a cut of their challenger’s points – certainly worth the punt if you back yourself as a top driver!

Drivers can increase the amount of points they win per Play round (or decrease their losses) by inviting friends to download and use the app, a strategy which Tudor confirmed has “multiplied the reach and stickiness of the app.”

The community of partners which SafeDrive points can be redeemed at has grown from three to eight, across Romania, The Netherlands and the US. The company are also close to securing a partnership agreement with a retail organisation in Australia.

Of the more recent partnerships, perhaps the most interesting is the one that has been formed with Uber in Romania, where SafeDrive users who are new to the on-demand personal transport company are rewarded with two free rides upon download. This move has helped the SafeDrive team branch out from their original focus of providing purely retail product discounts, thus enhancing the diversity of the rewards offered to users through their partner network.

“Some organisations still don’t have direct access to customers on their mobile devices. Right now we are working on providing personalised e-mails to all of our users who redeem discount vouchers with our partners. This will help further integrate businesses without a mobile offering into our digital marketplace and add that extra level of service quality to their offering,” Tudor told us.

In April, SafeDrive’s hard work was recognised over the pond when Tudor and Eduard won a gold medal at the Edison Awards in New York within the ‘Human Services’ category. SafeDrive was nominated alongside 7000 other startups for an award, with only 100 making it to the finals. Tudor believes that the main reason they won this was “because others were tackling more niche problems, while we were focused on fixing a global problem like driving safely.”

“We are at an interesting crossroads between two global trends: the problem of texting while driving, which is becoming more widespread; and the trend of rewarding good behaviour,” Tudor added.

The team are now making revenue from partners but are still a way off breaking even. “We now know the concept works and it’s time to make this bigger and go global”. With plans to expand to the UK on the near horizon, it’s safe to say their continued growth looks promising and Tudor is confident that the app will be on more than 500,000 phones by Summer 2016.

In the meantime the SafeDrive team are working on the refinement of the ‘SafeDrive Play’ feature and continuing to work with their users to develop new ways of making the app more attractive to use on a regular basis. In terms of partnering up, Tudor is looking to work with digital partners also in the mobile app space, that may be interested in providing discounts on their in-app purchases to SafeDrive users.

Ultimately, the mission for SafeDrive is a simple one: to stop people from using their phones while driving.

“We stand for quality drivers and believe that SafeDrive users will earn a different status in their community, both online and offline, through being a safe driver,” concluded Tudor.

This, we believe, is the real reward for driving responsibly.