Transport accidents are the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States, and they continue to climb. In 2019, there were 43,024 U.S. road fatalities – 11.5% of which involved trucks. The number of people who died in large truck crashes rose 27 percent from 2009 to 2013. Driving a car is one of the most dangerous activities Americans do regularly, and trucks are a large part of the problem.
Compound this with an aging driver workforce (the average of a trucker in 2018 was 55 years old, and it is increasing), and it’s no wonder that insurance rates are skyrocketing to all-time highs and putting carriers both small and large out of business. Just yesterday, a transport industry article posited that “safety first” is the only way forward for the industry.
To combat this, the final electronic logging device rule – or ELD Mandate – was published in 2015 and adopted in 2017. The ELD mandate requires trucks to incorporate activity-tracking devices to track a truck’s activity and enforce driving hour limitations. These devices also capture location, speed, breaking events, and other trip data.
Trucking’s Data Cycle and Idelic
But the ELD mandate is just a start in solving the safety problem, since the mandate only requires data be captured. Consequently, the trucking industry is in the early days of the “data cycle.” In response to ELD mandates, first movers have focused on data capture, collecting a deluge of data that mostly sits unused, because individual companies don’t quite know what to do with it. The next wave of technology companies analyze this data, but their outputs are always backwards looking – while these analyses provide some insight, they don’t directly answer the pivotal questions carriers and shippers pose, such as “how do we make trucking safer?” The real change that will move the trucking industry forward, bring down insurance costs, and make our roads safer lies in prediction and insight.
That is why we invested in Idelic, which has raised $8M led by Origin with participation from Bain Capital Ventures, TDF, and Birchmere Ventures. Idelic dramatically improves safety by leveraging data to help carriers’ safety managers operate more effectively and identify risks before accidents happen. The company is platform-agnostic and marries ELD data, in-dash cameras, IoT telemetry, medical records, DoT data, and many other sources to provide a comprehensive risk score on each and every trucker. It’s the nirvana of the data cycle – prediction and insight – that has rapidly attracted customers to Idelic.
We invested because we believe that trucking will follow other industries along the data cycle, accruing value to companies like Idelic that are already far ahead of the curve. In addition, we believe that the prevalence of proprietary data and insight can completely reconfigure insurance markets, as home insurance companies Kin and Hippo, car insurance company Metromile, or renter’s insurance company Lemonade illustrate. Our own investment in Bonsai Analytics predicts a similar shift in cyber insurance. We believe these disruptions in insurance markets – due largely to their movement through the data cycle – are coming to trucking, which is why we’re eager to invest in Idelic.
Idelic lies at the nexus of data, regulation, and safety in the trucking industry. We believe it will haul industry safety practices into the 21st century, and Origin Ventures is proud to be hitched to Idelic.