Oftentimes, an entrepreneur’s career is kick-started by a personal interest or investment in a specific market. For electrical engineer Krenar Komoni and Boston startup veteran Rob Stevens, it was their involvement in the supply chain industry that led them to become the Co-Founders of Tive.
Tive is creating small, battery-powered GPS devices that not only keep track of where supply chain transports (such as trucks and boats) are going, but they also measure temperature, shock, and tilt sensing through a series of complex sensors located within the device. Data is collected and then stored in the cloud, and then refined and presented on a web application where users can easily access and analyze said data. The app is also mobile-responsive and is easily accessible on a smartphone or tablet. Which is helpful, considering how often most supply chain managers are on their phones.
Tive is currently using a SaaS model for their business and provides a lot of back-office capabilities not commonly seen in supply chain industry software. The company’s services cover all kinds of supply chain-related industries, ranging from industrial equipment to chemicals to automotive parts.
The early days of Tive
“The prototype stage,” as Komoni described it, actually came from knowing a family member in the industry, and seeing first-hand how frustrating it can be getting left in the dark on just where on Earth those transports could be.
“I would visit my wife’s family and my father-in-law would always be on the phone, trying to figure out where his truck drivers are,” said Komoni. “So, I built something on my own: a little GPS tracker that would be put into trucks where he could track his drivers. Pretty soon, his friend, who owns a trucking company, wanted to track his trucks. We started tracking multiple trucks with this one device.”
Komoni was able to make the devices in his spare time for a small group of people, but quickly saw how it could benefit an industry that was in dire need of improvement.
“I was at a truck yard, and one of the drivers showed me this little yellow device that they put on the pallet,” Komoni described the device that allows truckers to gather data. “I asked him ‘How does it work?’ and he told me that at the end of a shipment, they have to plug it into a printer to print out the temperature data. It was then that a light bulb went off.”
Since then, Komoni started to pursue this venture full-time and began creating more sophisticated versions of the devices. As the initial team grew, Komoni’s devices began increasing in relevance with electronics and pharma companies, and within the Boston tech scene.
“We ran a lot of our tests live, and we had a lot of interesting results through our test bed,” said Komoni.
When Krenar met Rob
Rob Stevens has worked in sales and marketing roles at Kiva Systems, Backupify, and GrabCAD. However, one of the first companies he worked for was FreeMarkets, where he saw how the supply chain industry worked from the procurement side. Stevens took note of how difficult it could be to track an entire supply chain of trucks since most of the time their routes can become fragmented.
“It’s a slow-moving space,” said Stevens. “Organizations are not moving forward as they should be, and a lot of the time they are just plugging stuff into an Excel spreadsheet.”
Based on his own experience and overall interest in Tive’s product, Stevens stayed in contact with Komoni and eventually joined the team as the Co-Founder and CRO.
Tive @ Techstars
Not too long after pitching and later receiving funds from Hyperplane and Bolt, now-former Techstars Boston Director Ty Danco gave Komoni a call and urged the Tive team to sign up for the 2017 Techstars Boston cohort.
“We learned a lot from the mentors,” said Komoni. “Through Techstars, we were able to accelerate finding a market fit. We also had a chance to network more and receive even more funding.”
Tive also received funding during their time at the accelerator, including funds from Accomplice, NextView, and One Way Ventures, the fund started by now-former Techstars Boston Director Semyon Dukach.
If you take a quick walk on the Somerville community trail nearby Davis Square, you can find Tive’s headquarters. The team of twelve are currently working hard to help out the supply chain industry with their incredibly helpful devices.
“The timing of the company is amazing. Supply chain managers are excited about it,” said Komoni. “The future isn’t going to happen in a day to make this happen, but the supply chain world will be a better place in the end.”