As petrol prices soar to multi-year highs, drivers are looking for new ways to maximise fuel efficiency, and one Sydney start-up claims its patented technology can help bring costs down.
Founded by former aerospace engineer Danny Adams, GOFAR monitors your car’s health and tracks driver performance. It works by tapping into the car’s computer, sending real-time feedback to a mobile app and dashboard device.
“Most people using Gofar tend to reduce their fuel usage by about 10%,” says Danny.
The device began as a side project while Danny was working for global manufacturer, 3M.
“I realised that the way that people drive their cars has a big impact on the amount of fuel they use,” says Danny.
“I was punching in 80-90 hours per week.
"I needed to make a choice between the full-time career or the start-up idea.
"During a week of sleepless nights of making that decision, I got an email from the US patent office, saying that my patents were approved well ahead of schedule.
"That wasn’t expected to happen for a few years so I took it as a sign," explains Danny.
With a prototype in place, Danny took the leap of faith and quit his job in 2013.
“There’s no stability. You really don’t know where that next pay cheque is going to come from.
"And that’s okay early on when there’s still savings and still money to support you, but everything takes longer and costs more than you can predict,” explains Danny.
Danny found moving into Sydney co-working space, Fishburners, was key in growing the business.
“Joining Fishburners helped me build connections with people and some of those people wanted to come and work on the business, and it grew from there.
"Once there was a team, we attracted the attention of some investors,”
“It’s really difficult to get investment as an individual.
"Investors really want a team of two or three co-founders, that’s the sweet spot for them because two people can keep each other going through the dark days”
Investors were on board, but Danny was still unsure if there was a market for his product. Instead of outlaying tens of thousands of dollars in manufacturing costs, he launched a Kickstarter campaign to test demand, and the response was overwhelming.
“We had presales of around $225,000 AUD worth of GOFAR units, which was great because we were then able to use that money to fund the production,” explains Danny.
GOFAR is growing rapidly, with sales increasing by more than 700% since this time last year.
The product is particularly popular with business owners due to its tracking features, which logs business trips and expenses. It also scans for any mechanical issues, rego reminders, and fuel consumption.
“Currently the vast majority of our sales are through our online website, but during the course of the next 12 months, we’re looking into bricks and mortar distribution and also partner distributors,” says Danny.