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The Coolest Apps Started by Our Fellow Bostonians: EverDrive

October 31, 2017

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In the sixth installment of our “Coolest Apps” blog series, I spoke with Seth Birnbaum to discuss EverQuote’s app, EverDrive

This app can help you become a safer driver, pay less for insurance, and potentially win a share of $50K in yearly prizes.

As a 24-year-old Boston-based woman, I’m not exactly eligible for the lowest insurance rates–and that can be incredibly frustrating, particularly because it has very little to do with my actual driving habits, and a lot to do with generalized statistics.

EverDrive, an app developed by EverQuote, a Cambridge-based auto insurance marketplace, with the help of Cambridge Mobile Telematics, aims to personalize the insurance-rate procedure by tracking a driver’s activity behind the wheel to determine how safe of a driver they are, and then giving them a score.

I downloaded the app myself, and then forgot to open it, until today. Impressively, the app has been passively tracking my driving activity over the past month every time I’ve been in a car. Less impressive is my score, which fell a little (er, a lot…) short of 100%.

Seth Birnbaum, CEO and Co-Founder, explained to me that their primary goal with the EverDrive app is to “match consumers with the best insurance option possible for their needs, and to provide insurance providers and agents with safe, insurable drivers… [while creating] safer roads simultaneously.”

He added that the insurance industry is moving towards a usage-based model and many insurance companies are now tracking driver’s habits before giving them rates; by using EverDrive to correct personal driving errors, you can potentially lower future insurance costs.

Seth and his co-founder are Massachusett locals and MIT graduates, so “we have been witnessing unsafe driving our entire adult lives. There are still over 30K traffic-related deaths per year, and many more serious accidents. We want to make the roads safer… and ultimately enable drivers to enjoy lower premiums and saving opportunities.”

Seth said, rightfully, that they realized EverDrive needed a secondary–and fun–incentive for people to care about their scores (because although I might be motivated to receive 100% safety score while looking for insurance rates, I’m not planning on looking for a couple years… taking away a lot of that motivation). So they’ve “gamified the app with leaderboards, and have held annual competitions that have given users the chance to win $50K in total annual prizes.”

This app is for everyone. If you’re shaking your head and thinking, But I’m a good driver, maybe think again: last year, EverQuote ran a survey that found almost 100% of drivers consider themselves to be safe drivers (because why wouldn’t you be?), but 96% of EverDrive users have used their phone behind the wheel in the last 30 days. If you’re desperate to answer that text while you’re cruising down I-93, the hope is that EverDrive’s Big-Brother factor will be your motivation to wait until you’re home.

“Consistent users of EverDrive see their phone use drop by about 30%, and we feel much of that is because they are finally aware of the dangerous habit,” Seth said. Since distracted driving is such a dangerous factor in accidents, speeding and phone use are the two most heavily weighted factors in your overall EverDrive score.

Seth was enthusiastic about Boston’s startup community: “Boston is a great place to start a company and possibly the best place to launch a start-up today. The community is extremely engaged and has an unbelievable collection of talented people.”

Because of this great community, EverQuote was able to build an amazing team internally, but faced a difficult challenge when they first launched EverDrive:  “We had a very small team when it launched, and our user base grew at a much quicker rate than anticipated, so we had to recruit and hire people sooner than expected. It was a great problem to have.”

So where does Seth see EverDrive headed in the future? “We’d like EverDrive to not only be a tool consumers use to ‘try before they buy,’ but also a third-party validator for insurance providers, so consumers can opt to show their provider their EverDrive score and their initial rates can be determined from there,” Seth said, adding, “we also have plans for several features that will help users improve their skills more effectively and quickly, as well as some more social and competitive features that will make safe-driving more fun.”

As someone who has been involved in a perpetual and never-ending battle between myself and my brothers of who is the better driver (me!), I’m excited that EverDrive will finally provide us with an unbiased and authoritative conclusion (or… am I excited?). Better yet, safer driving, especially amidst the busy streets of Boston during rush hour, is something I bet everyone can get excited about.