MADE IN SHEFFIELD: The Floow is a driving force in road safety
After a furious row with your partner, you jump in the car and drive like an idiot, accelerating hard, speeding and venting your anger on other motorists.
After you stop, the phone rings and a calm voice says they’re calling on behalf of your insurers and were you aware your driving put yourself and others at risk?
It may sound spooky, but The Floow’s amazing tracking technology is helping to make the world a better place.
The Sheffield company employs trained psychologists who call drivers after moments of madness. And the knock-on effect is not just fewer accidents, but lower premiums for those who drive carefully, which means less air pollution too.
The company, based on Joiner Street near the Wicker, made its name with a smartphone app which monitors driver behaviour, opening up ‘telemetry’ to the masses and winning a Queen’s Award for Innovation in the process.
It took the car insurance world by storm and The Floow has contracts with huge firms such as AIG and Direct Line and up to 30 other companies.
Since then it has expanded into other areas including a major driverless car project with Jaguar Land Rover, national air pollution projects with the European Space Agency and traffic flow schemes with councils across the country.
Such ground breaking work didn’t go unnoticed and earlier this year The Floow announced a £13m investment by Direct Line and two Chinese companies – a deal which drew acclaim from Prime Minister Theresa May.
But despite such high-level contacts, Sam Chapman, chief innovation officer and co-founder, said they were committed to the city and proud holders of a Made in Sheffield licence.
He added: “We make things in the digital world and that recognition of quality is very useful to us.
“We don’t bash metal, with us it’s as much about the experience as what you can touch. Most IT firms see themselves as disconnected – they could be anywhere. But if you are growing you want to be as connected as possible.”
The Floow, which employs 75, is certainly that, it needs 65 staff by Christmas, 50 of them in tech roles like software developer and data scientist.
Such is its pulling power, staff commute in from London, Oxfordshire and Kent and it has attracted people from 12 countries. The latest recruit relocated from Cyprus, while others are from Portugal and Australia.
Michelle Futter, HR manager, said: “We don’t have trouble attracting people, the challenge is finding people with the right skills.”
The Floow has also run out of room, staff work in reception and have taken over a boardroom.
This summer the company will move to a nearby ‘heritage’ building with double the space after a ‘bottom to top’ revamp.
Sam explained their commitment to the area, which is close to the River Don.
“It’s part of Sheffield’s industrial past which was known for light engineering. We are a modern engineer-ing business so we are continuing that tradition.
“It has character, staff like the area and the new building gives us freedom to create somewhere comfortable and fun and bring in multiple data lines, because fundamentally we are a Big Data company.”
Well over 250,000 drivers now use the app and they drive millions of miles a day.
The Floow is the future of driving.