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How, when and why the story of Draivn began?
#startup
POSTED ON:
September 16, 2021
Last week, we decided to kick off the blog to tell the story of the Draivn team till now and share the daily grind of a start-up in real-time. Easier said than done.

Good news. Even if you are a small team, your CPO covers product and sales, the CEO deals with fundraising and business development, and the CMO works on the website, blog, social media, etc.
Bad news. All these guys are the same person – in the morning, you are the CPO, at noon, you are the CEO, and this red-eyed guy, who you see in the mirror every evening, is your CMO.

How do you like that, Billy Milligan? Anyway, after a year like a hamster on the wheel, your CMO visits a psychologist to forget everything. The psychologist advises him to write it on paper to let it go. AND THAT’S HOW THE BLOG STARTED.

We called it Draivn: The unexpected journey. While you try to recall where you heard this before, “I'm going to tell you an incredible story – the story of how we met each other.”(Play “The Walkmen – Heaven” to get the reference).
TAGS:
Draivn, startup, telematics, blog, insurtech
Alex (Draivn’s CEO, CPO, CMO): In late spring 2020, I finished my journey as a co-CEO of Smartseeds – the online platform designed to automate the trading and transportation of corn, wheat, seeds, and other agricultural commodities. Officially, we were acquired by VTB bank, but in fact, it was a hostile takeover.

I came back to Minsk, had a short break to shape myself up, and started searching for the next challenge. I decided to try something completely new, but drawing on my experience with starting companies from scratch, scaling, and exiting them – at or against my will ;).

As the first step, I screened my notebook and set up meetings with some of my friends, colleagues, and partners to brainstorm business ideas, found a new venture, and attract investments. All in a single evening, of course.

Leaping ahead, it took more than one evening. In a few weeks, I was having coffee with my classmate Andrew who was the HRD at Flo – women’s health app developers.We discussed our stuff for a while, and I told him my story. He listened to it and said: “Do you know Zahar? He’s just left Gurtam and is about to launch a new venture in the mobility domain. I believe you should talk to him.”

The very next day, I messaged Zahar to have a chit-chat. A few days after, we met, and the countdown started.
Zahar (Draivn CPO, CEO, CMO): Draivn roots back to my previous life, or job, as some people call it. Five years ago, I was with a large telematics software provider and was deeply involved in fleet management and GPS tracking. And in hundreds of business cases I worked with, telematics insurance stood out as the most logical, ambitious, and… unsuccessful.

In terms of business proposition, telematics and insurance are like Rick and Morty – a perfect match. But for some reason, this match did not happen for 10+ years. HOW?!

This question pursued me for several years, and one day, after a conversation with my Serbian friend, it overtook me. I decided that the time had come to answer this question and introduce the solution to match telematics and insurance.

And after some time struggling with this question alone in the dark, I received a message from “a guy who knows the guy” with a chit-chat offer. And though our first conversation was about telematics, business, politics, and this crazy idea to fix telematics insurance. I’m sure that at this meeting we unspeakably understood that we are starting something new together. Here, Draivn was conceived.

Alex (Draivn CEO, CPO, CMO): To mirror Zahars’ words, I should say that it was a perfect match from the very beginning.

We are both keen on mobility, automotive and want to make a big story in these niches.
We are pretty much aligned with the expertise of:
- how to build and scale start-ups
- how to build telematics products
We are both from the IT community, so have a pretty strong network among developers and engineers with a clear understanding of how to build a highly loaded SW.

So we decided to shake hands, start brainstorming ideas, doing market research for a couple of concepts, and validating them. At the same time, we were looking for developers and constantly exchanging new hypotheses.

We were pretty much excited about all these activities, but August 2020 in Belarus changed everything. While the people of Belarus were on the mission to democratize the society, we started a new mission for Draivn – to democratize mobility data. Here, Draivn matured.

In our next post, we'll discuss how we moved further being at the very edge of the civil and political crisis, why we decided to stay in Minsk, incorporate a company abroad, and what were our next steps.

As you got here, you must be interested ;). Sign up to our blog, mailing, and social media not to miss a thing about this unexpected journey.
As we want to help startups avoid our mistakes, here are a few lessons learned during this period.

- Even if you work for some company, build strong relationships with people in your industry. It will help you much in your journey as a start-up.
- Keep detailed logs on your friends – someday, they will help to debug your life and business.
- Try to find a Serbian friend. You better pray his name is Milan Suletic.
- Before you start a blog, make sure your inner marketer is not your part-time CPO and CEO.
- While writing the post, avoid references to mass culture, like “The Hobbit,” “How I met your mother?” “Rick and Morty,” etc.
- Don’t give up. Rocky didn’t. Be like Rocky.
- Chit-chat and Gachimuchi are two different things.
- Women’s health apps may be more efficient than LinkedIn and Tinder in finding the perfect match.
- Let the idea stay with you for some time before you turn it into a start-up. 5 years is enough.
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