In order to succeed in business today you need to stay one step ahead of the competition. When Minifinder was founded, it was just one person – CEO and founder Dean Maros – doing everything from coding to marketing, and his first goal was to make fleet management more effective. Nine years later and while the company is still in the fleet management business, it has also moved into other verticals, including healthcare, personal safety alarms, and even horses. Diversification and listening to the market is how this small startup became a player in less than a decade. And Minifinder isn’t going to rest on its laurels going forward – they’re already looking at their next market to conquer.
How it all began
Nearly a decade ago, Minifinder’s focus was on big transportation companies, and while there were already any number of fleet management solutions on the market at that time, most weren’t very modern in their offering. Many faced challenges moving from analogue to digital systems, so a company like Minifinder, which was digital and connected from the word go, was able to carve out space in a fast-growing market. Minifinder’s vision was to connect all vehicles to one system, making fleet management more effective not just by tracking vehicle position, but also measuring the distance from point A to point B in order to optimize routes, along with a host of other features.
“We were able to get in on the ground floor with our connected solution for fleet management,” says Dean Maros, CEO and Founder, Minifinder. “But we quickly realized that the hardware we were importing didn’t have great quality, especially when used in big scale sales. So, we took what was an unusual step – we started doing both hardware and software, which was a big challenge – but it’s the tough and difficult things that motivate me, so we went for it.”
Dean Maros says that ten years ago, most companies developed either hardware or software, but rarely did they do both. Most software companies integrate a manufacturers hardware into the system they build. Minifinder, though, wanted to build its own hardware that would not just integrate into their own software system, but also into other systems.
“It was a pretty complicated task,” explains Maros. “In the beginning it was just me trying to solder wires, cut PCBs, test, and so on, which made me realize pretty quickly that if we were going to do this on a large scale, we needed to find consultants who were good at hardware and we needed to find them fast. So that’s what we did.”
Minifinder first produced hardware for vehicles and their fleet management solution, but it soon became apparent that they could ‘borrow’ quite a lot of knowledge from what they had already done and apply that to other types of devices.
“Part of the reasoning behind this is that quite a lot of companies were contacting us to ask if we had other products we could offer, such as tracking goods or valuables,” explains Maros. “They had ordered tracking devices for vehicles, evaluated both the system and the hardware, but they missed some stand-alone units, with only the battery.”