The spread of certain technological innovations appears to be a foregone conclusion. Take the example of e-commerce, electronic payments, or the penetration of software in business. Many of these trends have already spread to Latin America but their spread is woefully low when compared to more advanced markets. This spells opportunity.
Parker Treacy, Cobli’s founder and CEO, saw such an opportunity in 2015. After successfully founding and running an auto-loans startup in Boston, Treacy quickly became familiar with the virtues of being able to track and trace vehicles through IoT devices. He then made a couple of observations that got him excited about his next venture:
- In the US there are multiple billion-dollar fleet management companies serving millions of vehicles, with software penetration rates of close to 40%.
- In Latin America there is no clear market leader yet and penetration rates are still under 15%, lagging US telematics penetration by 5-10 years.
Fleet management and telematics is a massive market with 27m vehicles in Latin America and 9m in Brazil alone. Most of these vehicles are organized into SMB fleets of less than 50 vehicles and managing them is a complex task. Operations managers spend their days herding drivers over WhatsApp, phone, and walkie-talkie but they only gain partial visibility into their vehicles’ whereabouts, which routes they are taking to service locations, how much time they actually spend there, or how drivers behave behind the wheel. They essentially operate in the dark.
Cobli’s cloud-based fleet management software changes this. The company’s plug and play sensors are easy to install, and collect, store, monitor and report all fleet activity on a single platform providing stakeholders with real time access to mission critical information. This leads to a reduction in general operating expenses, fuel costs, and unauthorized vehicle use as well as increased security, and efficiencies in routing, tracking and vehicle maintenance.
Their value proposition is simple and clear and this is what drives its strong growth in its core SaaS offering. It displays attractive SaaS margins, recurring revenues with upsell opportunities, and low churn. Additionally, there are multiple opportunities to build large, new revenue streams and truly serve as the “tech layer” bringing vehicles online and connecting them with external services — such as insurance underwriting use cases or fuel card payments for the tens of thousands of drivers in Cobli’s network.
Cobli captures hundreds of thousands of data points per day on every driver monitored. This proprietary data, combined with direct access to thousands of fleets, is highly valuable for customers across a variety of sectors. Insurance companies looking to measure risk and reach their clients in a more intelligent way is one potential use case. By becoming a tech layer for connected vehicles, Cobli can significantly expand its product offering and addressable market. Fuel card payments, representing a $800bn+ market globally, could be another logical product extension for example.
Cobli’s team of founders, senior leaders, and strategic advisers are nothing short of exceptional. CEO Parker Treacy is a second time founder. He built his first business, First Help Financial, to $100m+ in sales, and stepped back to stake himself and his own capital on Cobli. Along with his co-founder and COO Rodrigo Mourad, Parker has added exceptional talent in key manager roles recruiting from top businesses, consulting firms, and other successful startups in Brazil. At the board level, adding Kipp Bodnar, Hubspot’s acting CMO, has boosted their ability to design its customer acquisition and marketing strategy.
The founders have built a strong company culture defined by excellence at every level. The team is data-driven and meticulous about tracking metrics and KPIs. In every sense, we see a true leadership team. It thrills us to be a part of that team and join the ride ahead.