Rashid Galadanci is CEO of Driver Technologies, an AI-based mobility tech company that delivers a safer driving experience, which he co-founded in 2018. Rashid was inspired to start Driver Technologies to share the benefits of advanced vehicle technologies without barriers to access and improve safety for everyone. He is also a Venture Partner at The Social Entrepreneurs’ Fund, and a Director at Pigeonly. Rashid holds a B.A. in Political Economy from Dartmouth College and is based in the New York City metropolitan area.
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We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Rashid Galadanci: First off, thank you so much for interviewing me for this – it’s an honor, and I’m so excited to share some of the Driver Technologies story here. I’m the CEO and co-founder of Driver Technologies, an AI-based mobility tech company on a mission to make driving safe and accessible for everyone. I have a background in technology, strategy consulting and finance, and I have always had a passion for car safety.
I saw years ago that despite being the only non-disease, top-10 cause of death in the world (over 1 million deaths and a whopping 50 million serious injuries caused every year), car manufacturers only focused on reducing vehicle collisions from the perspective of building brand new cars. This idea meant that if you have the money to buy a brand new Tesla or Mercedes, you’re taken care of, but vehicle safety is way out of reach for the great majority of the world.
Our hardware-free mobile app Driver transforms a driver’s phone into a dash cam with forward collision alerts, driver drowsiness and distraction warnings, cloud-based video storage, roadside assistance, and coaching. Driver users also have full control over their data stored on the DriverCloud via Cloud Sync.
They can choose what data to share with potentially interested parties, such as employers, insurers and family members. The Driver app is the No. 1 dashcam app in the Apple app store, and we recently released a parity Android app. Our basic dash cam app is free to anyone and pairs with gig workers, fleet owners and insurance services. Lastly, fleets, insurers, and individuals with existing hardware dash cams can leverage our DriverCloud to upload, view, and share critical trips or incidents.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Rashid Galadanci: Yes, indeed, it’s been very challenging for everyone. Our first investor, Michael Siebel, said it best, “Plan to use exactly half of whatever capital you have.” It’s good advice for any startup, particularly in this challenging economy and business landscape. We took this advice regarding capital and adapted it to how long it takes to close partnerships. We’ve also worked hard to build advanced technology products while staying nimble to adapt to opportunities as they present themselves and morph during the pandemic.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Rashid Galadanci: At Driver, we think a lot about how current trends are changing behavior for all of us. For example, there’s a lot more independent activity, people working remotely, working for multiple companies at once, working as independent contractors, and working in the sharing economy. It will be crucial for businesses to evaluate whether their company can serve the needs of this new segment of individuals vs. the traditional employment model.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Rashid Galadanci: The pandemic increased the number of gig workers on the roads, and we have worked hard to create an incredibly flexible product to serve the needs of regular drivers and independent contractors. For example, an independent contractor might hire folks during the week to do jobs with their vehicles and want a way to protect them while giving them the privacy controls they deserve as they may be driving their own vehicles and using their own devices when they work.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Rashid Galadanci: I wish someone had told me earlier to network digitally as the pandemic opened people up to way more Zoom or Googe Meet meetings. While conferences are back, I could have leveraged a much broader network during the pandemic. I am hoping to still improve on that this year.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Rashid Galadanci: People are excited to be going back to conferences (our team has been excelling at them), but I do expect that remote activity and online businesses are here to stay in a major way that we couldn’t have imagined pre-pandemic.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Rashid Galadanci: The entire workday and some additional hours in the evening as it is the new office for sure.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Rashid Galadanci: Absolutely. We’re a data-driven business, from our safety algorithm development to careful incident information management and driving behavior research. That said, the personal stories also really motivate our team – it doesn’t just matter if we’ve reached 99.9% up-time or data transfer perfection; the fact that an individual driver was able to avoid a costly lawsuit because our app proved that the person who hit their car never slowed down on the way into an intersection or cut them off despite claiming that it was a rear-ending scenario gets the team energized
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Rashid Galadanci: Last year, the challenge was raising funding and engineering a highly scalable, resilient, stable product. Now, it’s all about getting the word out and showing people that they can leverage their existing devices (phones and computers) to have everything they need on the road for themselves or their fleets.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Rashid Galadanci: Given our growth focus, I’m definitely most interested in online marketing and traversing the complexities of partnerships with major mobility organizations. I’m happy to take any advice from successful business leaders in your network!
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Rashid Galadanci: Absolutely, I think the remote, entrepreneurial independence of this recent era has left many people looking for the right job for themselves and their families. We try to be very flexible about location, working hours, working styles, and each team member’s needs. The challenge for me is replicating the in-person energy and excitement in a remote and flexible working environment.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Rashid Galadanci: Inspiration – the real job of a business leader is to inspire their team, investors, clients, consumers, and even regulators, etc., to see the potential for a different future. I know we can save millions of lives and billions of dollars with our efforts at Driver. I’d love to get better and better at sharing that vision, and I know our success to date has rested entirely on being able to call the best individuals and organizations to support our cause.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Rashid Galadanci: Success in 2022 means happiness for my family, the Driver team, their families, and our communities – a high bar in these challenging times, but it’s the goal for our team!
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Rashid Galadanci for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Rashid Galadanci or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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