Brad Baker was a competitive motorcyclist who used to run races throughout remote parts of the world, including Mexico. The inaccessibility of the courses meant that anyone hurt during the race would have to wait a long time for help, or in the worst cases might not get any help because no one would know he or she was hurt.
“Every single year, at least one person dies during these events,” said Baker, who ran his last race in 2014.
He said he and other racers were tired of not knowing where their competitors were on the course, and that it seemed silly to have to wait until the race was finished to discover if anyone was missing.
“We got very frustrated,” he said. Baker said his initial work was focused on eliminating preventable deaths and to help out those injured on a course in minutes, not hours.
Using Texts to Track
Baker came up with a text-based application that would use markers throughout a course to relay location, speed and timing to racers and organizers. The system was so successful that race promoters asked Baker to expand the technology. He describes his product as the OnStar for motorcycles.
Baker knew he wanted something that could scale, so after splitting with his first developer, Baker came to Gigster after seeing the company in TechCrunch. What has emerged is Path.One, a web and mobile-based tracking technology that Baker, the sole founder, hopes to incorporate into everything from traditional marathons and boat races to dog sledding and road bike competitions.
“Any type of event where it’s typically an endurance event,” Baker said of prospective use cases.
He envisions a New York Marathon where every runner is wearing a tracking device, enabling friends and family to know exactly where their loved one is in order to snap that memorable picture. “You would get an alert when that person is approaching your location,” he explained.
Path.One does not need to be turned on to be effective, Baker said. All it takes is for the onlooker to load the app on his or her mobile phone.
Building the System
Baker and Gigster product manager Facundo Formica bonded over their love of motorcycles. They both traveled together to attend the Baja 500 Race in early June 2016. Their goal was to test Path.One and see what needed to be improved.
“By just being there I was able to gather knowledge on improvements that can be done to the Processes and Systems to support those processes, which translates to true Product Management,” said Formica, a trained software engineer. “It was a great experience to see the product in real life conditions and will help tremendously.”
Baker said Path.One performed well during the race, and that he deployed 450 tracking devices, as well as 450 data logging units out to a field of 265 racers. Unfortunately, there were two deaths during the race, and Path.One assisted in supplying authorities with the location of the accidents and other requests for help. Path.One also provided details on the severity of each incident.
Taking A Ride With Gigster
Baker, who is working on other projects with Gigster, said he analyzed several different development options before deciding on Gigster. He said there were a lot of boutique engineering firms that specialized in tracking and GPS, but only Gigster could provide the technology to scale his solution for a global market.
“We chose gigster to help scale specifically with their experience with AWS,” Baker said, referring to Amazon Web Services and the cloud. “We want to grow within our space, handle multiple events simultaneously and then grow into other markets – we were limited before and needed the experience with AWS.”
While Baker and Gigster have put in a lot of work to get to this point, there is still a lot to be done. Baker said he hopes to have a portal up and running whereby racers can register and get tracking devices, and he also is still in the process of designing the mobile app for both iOS and Android.
Baker is now looking to get into Capital Factory, an incubator based in Austin, in the hope of securing angel funds. Luckily for him he has some revenue coming in from existing customers.