TEXAS, USA — You know that old saying-- ideas are born out of necessity.
Well, it was necessary for three college students from North Texas, when they quickly learned not only how much their commutes were costing them, but they were going have to spend their own money to fix the problem.
"When I got my license, being the oldest child in the family, I was tasked with the errand of going to run errands," said Tom Vazhekatt, Routura co-founder and CEO.
Go fill up the car, pick up groceries-- the list goes on.
All of that driving drove Tom to find his passion.
"The idea first came to me when I was in high school," Tom said. "I remember thinking at that time, 'What is the best route I could take so that I spend less time on the road?'"
Less money at the pump, too.
Eventually, he’d take his thoughts from the classroom to the boardroom, building a team of three with two other students from North Texas and launching his own startup – Routora.
"We pride ourselves on being the Chipotle of route optimization," said Routora's Director of Marketing, Luke Blazek. "We want a lot of customizable features that are easy to use.”
Think Apple or Google maps – but a lot more enhanced, according to Tom & his team.
"Currently, our Chrome extension works with Google maps," Tom added. "If you put several stops in their app, it would give you arguably the best route. But what Routora does is we rearrange that order to give you the most optimal route possible."
While the idea grew out of personal experience, the team quickly realized there is a huge business need for the technology as well.
"So a lot of companies, they’ll give their delivery drivers a list of addresses to go to," said Shoaib Huq, a software engineer working on Routora's app. "What we can do is we can make that process very easy by them just taking a picture of it, and then it just automatically puts all the stops into Routora.”
That’s to come, but even with their current Chrome extension, public interest is already there. Routora has a long waitlist of people interested in the app, which they are hoping to roll out by the first quarter of 2023.
According to the creators, they've saved their users over 300,000 miles on the road and roughly $50,000 on gas -- all off the free extension they currently provide.
"At the moment, we have about 4,000 users from 70 countries around the world," Tom added. "As long as we can save our users time spent on the road, money spent on gas and help them reduce our carbon footprint, that is our ultimate goal. And if we can do that for users around the world, that completes our mission.”