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Oct 13, 2023
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The fascination of how technology, especially AI, can change lives and help organisations improve efficiency and costs keeps me going

-Nikhil Maroli, Co-Founder, RoadMetrics

 

 Nikhil Maroli, Co-Founder, RoadMetrics

shares his startup journey from idea and execution to overcoming challenges, in an interview with the 100X.VC team

 

Q1. How did the idea of RoadMetrics come about?

The idea of RoadMetrics came up when Dipen and Mishal, two childhood friends, found that Google Maps suggested an alternative route that promised to save time but actually turned out to take twice the time due to bad road conditions. That's when they explored the idea of mapping road conditions using computer vision based artificial intelligence methods, while in college as a senior year project.

Q2. What prompted you to start working on RoadMetrics and execute this idea?

The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) approached Dipen and Mishal to help them build a map of road condition data for their road maintenance efforts. That's when they realised the need to build a product.

Q3. When did you realise the need to raise Venture Capital - Seed funding?

Soon after starting our company in October 2019, we needed seed capital to build and rapidly experiment test ideas. This was in December, late 2019, when 100X received our application and invited us to learn more about our team and idea.

Q4. How has 100X helped you at the beginning of your journey?

100X has been valuable in helping us with mentoring, support and access to connections to raise follow-on investment to grow and expand our business.

Q5. Has your startup pivoted? If so, what has the pivot been?

Yes, we tested multiple ideas including a road condition mapping app (B2C) and mapping using LiDAR for automotive (B2B) applications. We finally decided to work on building an AI system for road condition assessment and monitoring for the international market.

Q6. What challenges did you face & how did you overcome them?

Some challenges included raising capital investment for a new technology, customer reluctance to change existing habits and methods. We displayed our value-for-money for road maintenance teams to switch from machine based road assessment methods to using our AI system for road condition assessments that leverages smartphone video data.

Q7. What stage is RoadMetrics at present?

We are at a scale up stage with 11 early adopter customers in the UK (our home market) and others in the US, Middle East and Australia.

Q8. As founders, what are your goals for the next 1-2 years?

Our goals in the next 1-2 years is to sign up 100 customers and rapidly expand our presence globally for highways asset management.

Q9. What keeps you motivated & keeps you going?

The fascination of how technology, especially AI, can change lives and help organisations improve efficiency and costs.

Q10. Your message for Startup founders building in the same sector?

Many areas in traditional industries such as highways infrastructure, real estate, healthcare, etc. are seeing massive shifts in efficiency improvements and savings with the usage of AI. AI is seeing increased adoption and disrupting many industries. Therefore, startup founders can expect to see a lot of opportunities opening up in this field.

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