In conversation with Srinivas Chitturi, CEO & founder of MTAP Technologies

1) Tell us about your company, the work it does?

At MTAP Technologies, we are leveraging the power of AI, machine learning, and proprietary algorithms to redefine the global transport automation landscape. To achieve this, we have built our service portfolio on four key pillars:

  1. Optimization: We are helping organizations to optimize the number of vehicles and trips to maximize efficiency while minimizing the costs as well as the carbon footprint.
  2. Transparency: We are enabling our patrons to bring greater transparency at every level of their transportation processes. The goal is to help them forge a relationship of lasting trust with their employees and other stakeholders.
  3. Safety: Our services are designed to not only streamline and enhance the fleet management processes but also to enable a faster, seamless, and automated implementation of emergency protocols in place. We aim to empower our partners with tech-enabled features to provide their workforce, especially women employees, with a safer, securer, and more trustworthy transit experience.
  4. Digitization: Tapping into the power of digitization, we are helping our clients to up the ante of their transportation system by making it simpler, quicker, and safer.

We started out in  2015 with the aim to disrupt the employee transportation domain through our first major product offering, Safetrax. Through this solution, we aimed to simplify and augment the enterprise-wide fleet transportation operations by eliminating existing bottlenecks.

In 2016, we launched SafeBus to revolutionize the school bus fleet management landscape by helping transport managers and school admins to simplify the fleet management process through a unified, tech-enabled platform. Building on our expertise and response from our customers, we also ventured to resolve the fleet management challenges faced by taxi fleet operators through the launch of Autologix in 2020.

In the post-pandemic landscape, we have upgraded our service suit to help our patrons effectively meet the safety, hygiene, and compliance-related requirements while minimizing the scope of human errors.

2) What was the main inspiration that made your founders lay the foundation of MTAP Technologies?

The idea for launching tech-enabled fleet management services came to Srinivas Chitturi, Co-founder – MTAP Technologies, when he was working at iOPEX Technologies as the Director of Research and Development. iOPEX had been helping many Fortune 500 companies save on operational expenditure to the tune of USD 1 billion over the years. Srinivas was responsible for deploying AI and ML to facilitate automated remote monitoring of thousands of servers for various such companies including British Telecom, Palo Alto, etc. During this time, he got a close look at the complexity of the transport operations at iOPEX and the incredible volume of trips required to sustain the business operations.

This observation encouraged him to come up with a solution to optimize the fleet operations. As part of his research, he learned that most organizations are under-equipped in terms of both technology and talent when it comes to ensuring a convenient, cost-efficient, and safe employee transport experience. In addition, enterprises operating in the ETS industry were not offering security features aimed at providing women employees with a safer, more regulated commute experience. In view of these need gaps, Srinivas and the team developed a routing algorithm to help iOPEX plan, manage, and optimize its transport operations. The implementation proved to be a success and the company was able to bring down its employee transportation costs.

On the heels of its success, Srinivas and the founding team from iOPEX pooled an initial seed fund to launch this product as Safetrax in 2015. Soon after, the team noticed that school bus fleet operators are struggling with similar challenges that can easily be solved with the implementation of automation and digitization. This led to the launch of SafeBus in 2016.

Beginning by serving three clients in 2015, Srinivas and the founding team have led MTAP Technologies to trace a high-growth trajectory. Currently, the company is delivering value to more than 120 clients across 6 countries by helping them drive profitability through optimized transportation management capabilities.

Mtap founder & CEO Srinivas Chutturi
MTAP founder & CEO Srinivas Chitturi

3) Development of which technology has provided a leap in the operations of your company? 

Our auto-routing technology is powered by a combination of advanced machine learning techniques and routing algorithms. As a result, we are empowering fleet operators and route planners to implement optimized routes while ensuring the optimal occupancy ratio in each vehicle in the fleet. Optimizing occupancy ratio has become trickier in the post-2020 landscape when, in compliance with social distancing norms, vehicles can no longer run at their maximum occupancy. Our intelligent tech framework helps the fleet operators and managers in optimizing the seating arrangement and the number of trips required to reduce the transportation costs in sync with safety guidelines.  

4) As of today, what is the aim of the company?

In addition to our aim of empowering enterprises to optimize their transportation costs, we are committed to helping them deliver a convenient and safer commute experience to their employees. The inoculation drive will get completed soon and offices will switch to a hybrid model of working with staggered/rotational shifts. Against this backdrop, ensuring the hygiene and safety of employees will emerge as two non-negotiable priorities for enterprises, not only within the office but also during the commute to and from home. Schools and colleges will face similar challenges once educational institutes also reopen. In its wake, our goal is to equip organizations and school administrations with the necessary tech tools to ensure the physical health and well-being of employees, students, teachers, non-teaching staff, and drivers.

The auto-route planning capability of our platforms, for instance, can help the user flag and avoid COVID-19 hotspots. The automated system linked to the GPS can implement the changes to the pre-defined route in real-time without manual intervention. Moreover, our proprietary algorithms are upgraded to help the fleet operators to determine the ideal seating arrangement and the number of trips required to ensure compliance with safety regulations while minimizing fuel costs and transit time.

Besides this, our tech platforms are designed to ensure the safety of passengers, especially women employees and children, through real-time monitoring. Fleet managers can make real-time interventions in case of protocol violation or deviation from pre-determined routes. As additional measures to protect women employees, our systems regularly shuffle the driver allocation to discourage over-familiarization with a passenger. At the same time, the trips are planned to ensure that women are never the first and the last passengers at pick-ups and drop-offs and are always accompanied by trusted colleagues serving as escorts.

We are also in the process of enabling end-to-end fleet management for fleet operators in the logistics sector. Through Autoroutes, we aim to help the fleet operators offer enhanced experiences to their customers – thereby driving loyalty and profitability – by optimizing the delivery time.

5) You had secured investment of $1.5 million in 2016 from iOPEX Technologies Inc. How did that investment help you? How did you utilize it?

We had raised this investment as part of our seed round. Before funding, we only had a POC (proof of concept) and a very small founding team. We were delighted to receive the funding as it came as a jab of validation for our product and boosted our confidence. We utilized the capital infusion to improve and scale up our enterprise-grade SaaS products and to strengthen our engineering teams to aid in our growth. Currently, we are a team of 80 dedicated professionals. Our R&D team is based out of Bangalore while the operations, sales, and marketing teams are spread across the country.

Team of Mtap technologies
Team of MTAP Technologies

6) How would you say your products have revolutionized the market and impacted business?

Enterprises and schools struggle with managing fleet and transport operations in-house for many reasons. For one, fleet operators need to factor in multiple variables including dynamic Shift schedules of employees, last-minute changes in rosters, inconsistent traffic conditions, and contingencies such as engine breakdown, VIP pass-by, road blockades, etc. Transport admins also need to ensure that drivers report on time while handling no-shows and manual route planning for multiple trips. In the absence of the right tools and talent, these processes become labor- and time-intensive, besides being prone to human errors. In the post-pandemic situation, where safety and hygiene need to be prioritized and even a single error or oversight can pose significant risks, these challenges become more complicated.

Moreover, most organizations and schools do not possess the capital to develop a hardware-intensive transport infrastructure from scratch. And even after setting up such an infrastructure, organizations will need to invest more capital and time to enable fleet operators to manage transport operations at scale. It has been observed that many enterprises who invested heavily in setting up an in-house transportation framework were unable to optimize their operations effectively. This not only hindered transport admins to intervene in case of unplanned deviations from a pre-determined route but also, as a result, affected timelines, service delivery, and the employee/customer experience.

MTAP Technologies aims to address and resolve precisely these bottlenecks. To achieve this, we combine the power of digitization, AI, machine learning, and advanced algorithms to deliver a safer, swifter, and more efficient experience to all the stakeholders in the logistics and transportation space.

7) What has been the biggest achievement of MTAP Technologies in the market?

Since its launch in 2015, MTAP Technologies has established its leadership position in the B2B transport space on the back of multiple product verticals including Safetrax, SafeBus, Autologix, and Autoroutes. Currently, we are the only player catering to the entire breadth of the B2B transport domain and have captured the lion’s share in both employee transportation and school bus transportation automation markets.

8) What are the future plans or vision of the company?

Moving ahead, we intend to expand our geographical footprint in international markets including Middle East Malaysia, China, Qatar, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam over the next 18 months. Building on our present growth trajectory, we are foraying into new areas of transport optimization. Recently, we launched Autoroutes, an API for delivery-based businesses, and Autologix, a taxi marketplace to help fleet operators manage various types of travel requests.

Fleet operators can use the Autologix platform to create their own portals like Shopify and manage their entire transport operations by creating trips based on a vehicle’s availability and geographical proximity to the pickup location. The platform automatically generates invoices and allows the operator to edit them in real-time to include any extra costs incurred during the trip. Through our technology, we aim to seamlessly and cost-efficiently equip fleet operators with a competitive edge over the established ride-hailing companies in the rental transportation space.

Finally, we are extending our product suite to some of the biggest EV fleet operators across the globe to accelerate the adoption of their services while making them swifter, safer, and more efficient.