US-based AppAlert Inc, which runs a real-time school bus tracking app, has raised $900,000 (around Rs 6 crore) in seed funding from US-based serial investor Narinder Singh and another unnamed investor.
Singh is the owner of Gurgaon-based logistic solutions provider Ritco Group, and also has business interests in the US.
The funds will be deployed to build and enhance the core application and to expand its service offerings in Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia.
The company's Indian subsidiary, AppAlert Online Services Pvt Ltd, has kicked off trials at more than 20 schools in Delhi NCR and Mumbai for the mobile-only school bus tracking system. Altogether, 15,000 children in these schools are covered in these trials.
Founded in 2015 by Ashuvinder Ahuja, AppAlert is a mobile device solution that leverages precision map based tracking systems along with roll-call capabilities (RFID not required) to help parents as well as the school management know the precise location of children who are using the school bus. For the school administration, the platform enables gathering information related to over-speeding, accidents/ breakdowns, unscheduled stops, rash driving, traffic congestion and panic alarms. The AppAlert parent app is available on Android and iOS.
To use this platform, parents will have to buy a yearly subscription of Rs 1200 plus taxes, AppAlert founder Ashuvinder Ahuja told Techcircle.in. Parents are also allowed to designate up to three other individuals as custodians of the app.
"Nearly 99 per cent parents don't know exactly what's happening in the school buses. Some schools do install GPS or SMS tracking but those are not real-time. And, moreover, the average waiting time for parents and caregivers at bus stops today is a minimum of 17 minutes. For real-time tracking, AppAlert uses Google Maps APIs and Amazon Web Services cloud to store the information," he added.
Ahuja has earlier worked with marketing automation company WebEngage and education search platform Studyplaces.com.
The startup aims to get 1000 Indian schools on its platform by 2018.
As of now, 2.5 million users can use the app simultaneously, the company said in a statement.
There are only a few companies operating in this space. In 2014, Bangalore-based bus tracking platform YourBus got acquired by online travel company ibiboGroup. Another company Edsys also offers similar kind of school bus tracking system and student tracking system in the form of mobile apps.