Durban – From a rebellious teenager who chain-smoked and drank a litre of rum a day to a man who has built a billion dollar empire through spirituality, determination and perseverance, IT mogul Dushyant Savadia’s story leaves one feeling inspired.
Savadia, the founder and CEO of Kuya Technologies and Amber Connect, specialises in building all things “smart” and has become known as the “uber” of the vehicle Telematics industry worldwide.
He is popular for implementing artificial intelligent vehicles, smart cities and homes, as well as advanced transporter and automotive technology.
Savadia was in Durban last week to speak about his first Amber Connect branch in Africa that deals with modern security features that allow users to monitor vehicles, homes and soon even children through smart watches. The official launch will take place in November.
Speaking to POST about the business, Savadia said safety and security was the main aim.
“The technology is a decade ahead of its time than anything South Africa has ever experienced. For example, we have made our hardware and software to talk to each other in seconds. So, if you are in Japan and you are tracking your vehicle in Durban, you can see your vehicle in real time.
“Imagine you’re walking out of the hotel and your car is gone and you try to open your other consumer tracking app and that it is not showing where it is, or shows you the last location 20 minutes ago. It’s useless. So we built an artificial intelligence device that helps you take control of your own safety.
“That means that even while you’re sitting down and having a cup of coffee and your car starts without authorisation, if someone tampers with it, the vehicle will shut down immediately.
“There will be a loud noise on your phone to draw attention and our monitoring station that is 24 hours in South Africa, will respond to you straight away.”
He said the mobile app had 42 features, including driver log in violations, service history management and expense management.
Savadia explained that when starting the business, he first asked himself the question: How do I create a sustainable funding mechanism to serve societies at large?
That was when he put on his entrepreneurial hat and started on the e-commerce platform. He came across vehicle security, and that was how Amber Connect was born.
“It is a worldwide phenomenon. In just three years, it is in 23 countries across the world, scaling phenomenally fast. It gives people true value for their money and peace of mind. It also gives people technology that incorporates artificial intelligence; where people can detect the threat of theft and immobilizes itself and protects itself.”
The Amber Connect branch is based in La Lucia and has 300 local employees and 2000 direct and indirect staff from South Africa.
By the year-end, he hopes to increase his employee compliment to 3000. The branch, he added, has 800 vehicles that will be used by staff to help fit the tracking device and assist in response.
The group’s headquarters is in Jamaica where Savadia resides.
Asked why he chose Durban as a springboard for Africa, he said: “Why not?”
He said he loved Durban and described it as a vibrant city.
“South Africa is the launching hub of Africa. It has a lot of potential as a country. It also has a large consumer market. Why Durban? Well firstly, you have the largest port of imports and exports when it comes to transport. Secondly, it is the perfect place for creating employment.
“Everyone who sets up a business wants to go to Johannesburg as they feel they can find employment there faster and that is why you get a massive brain drain in the city into other cities, which I want to stop.”
He said he wanted to create more job opportunities in Durban so people could work close to their families.
“They can be connected to their roots and not part with their families due to economic purposes. It’s all about how do we create more opportunities that give rise to an economic boost in every city.
“Our company is humanitarian based. It’s all about seeing everything through that lens. For me, it’s about how do we give more, take more to give back more.”
In the last two years, Amber Connect, he said, recovered 26000 vehicles around the world.