Smartphone connections and dashboards in cars have become nearly indispensable. In some areas, however, governments have moved to ban drivers from texting or ever talking on their smartphones out of concern for safety. But for areas without these regulations, Dutch startup SafeDrive believes that they have an answer.
This service is a bit unusual in that they want to actually reward drivers for NOT using their smartphones while on the road. The concept is that, one the phone feels that you exceed 10km/h, the app will begin to reward you with points. You can check your phone, but doing so requires you to hit “release” and stop the process. If the driver opts to “release”, they will not earn any points for the journey. After the speed drops below 10km/h, the process ends and points earned on the trip are added to your account. Having accumulated enough points, drivers can then head into the SafeDrive marketplace and exchange them for rewards from partner businesses.
There is also an option for challenging friends, which allows drivers to compete for one another’s points by completing the safest journey. Recommending the service to friends allows users to decrease the number of points that they can lose during these challenges.
The app, free to drivers, was launched in public beta back in October, currently claims 3,000 monthly active users and a 7% growth rate. Rather than charge for the app, the startup tells me that they have decided to finance the project by charging a small fee on the transactions that they facilitate between drivers and partner businesses.
SafeDrive maintains their headquarters in Amsterdam and a development center in Bucharest, but aims to follow in the footsteps of many other European startups, as they tell me that they are looking to break into the American market. They have not yet obtained external funding, but have thus far been able to build their business through nearly 50K Euro that the founders have invested.