FLAME alumni Jehaan Kotwal and Sumedh Mane say, above friendship, it was the philosophical sync about why they wanted to establish a venture that makes them a great team.
HumSafer Driver Safety Foundation, a hybrid social venture works towards road safety and driver prosperity. It's a passion project for Jehaan, who comes from a family that runs a transportation business. Theirs is a story of how shared passion and philosophies can drive partnerships, making a positive difference in people's lives. In fact, their app-based venture can save up to 100 lives a day if put in every truck in the country. To understand the business inside out and sensitize himself to the challenges truck drivers in the country faced, Jehaan started working as a cleaner on the trucks. "I wanted to understand the business from the grassroots level, to feel what my drivers' experience, sleep, eat and work with them on the ground. Knowing about their challenges gives me better clarity on what I need to do for them from a leader's perspective. Taking care of my people and their growth is my most important role," says Jehaan thoughtfully.
Sumedh had taken a different route before partnering with Jehaan on the venture. He built a career with startups and tech firms, exploring technology and marketing strategies before pursuing his Diploma in IT from the University of Glasgow. When he returned, the two partners resumed their discussion about the app. "We started discussing the idea informally, and before we realized it, it flourished organically. It was a professional relationship with human-centered design at its core," they talk of the foundation of their venture that Sumedh is now working with full-time. Both have clearly defined roles in the organization. Jehaan runs the business arm of the venture while Sumedh heads the product side of the organization and leads the tech and marketing teams. "Like any partnership, we have our disagreements, but they are over things like speed of growth and never the core values," they assert. It's these values that have seen the venture flourish. Recently, Jehaan was nominated by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the Logistics Skill Council to start and spearhead the Oxygen Transporters & Drivers skill, Train and Deploy initiatives. "HumSafer will be training an additional 2800 drivers for Liquid Medical oxygen transport. This is a huge opportunity for us as it provides credence to our vision of reducing road accidents," they say, looking at the road ahead.
As we wind down our chat, they also look back fondly at their time at FLAME. For Jehaan, studying Entrepreneurship and running Joe's Café on campus was the perfect training ground to imbibe vital skills. "I learnt probably the most in my life during those 3 years of running the café. Everything we learned in class was tried and tested in the café. We learnt the discipline of good customer service and maintaining a balanced study and work relationship," says Jehaan with a smile, reliving the fond memories. Since then, they have traversed a great distance in their career paths and are certainly headed in the right direction.