Ototok was born at the beginning of 2015, after a long discussion about road communication during a family drive. Ototok aims to deliver the first connected LED display system designed for communication between drivers on the road.
ABOUT TAMUZ PARAN
Tamuz was born in 1991 in Israel, in a kibbutz. At the age of 2 he moved with his family to Japan, where he spent 8 of his childhood years, returning to Israel in 2001. Tamuz finished high school and was drafted into the IDF, after 3 years of service, in a secretive tech unit, he opted out to start his life with his high school sweetheart. After 2 years of counseling for the Israeli scouts in his home town, he founded Ototok, managing a successful Indiegogo campaign that jump started the company.
CAMELTARY (Camel Commentary)
You Have To Give It 192%
Tamuz Paran has created either the best or worst product imaginable for drivers in Tel Aviv, and around the world.
Ototok is an app that offers either voice-controlled or button-activated communication to drivers on the road. We can all remember a time we wish we could speak to the driver who just pulled out in front of us, or apologize if we committed a faux pas ourselves. The app opens this communication – a right Paran firmly believes in.
“Ototok is about two main things: ‘don’t censor freedom of speech’, and ‘communication is negative because we don’t do it enough!’”
It’s a risky play – how many people would abuse this right if given the ability to shout, scream, or swear at any other driver on the road?
“We believe eventually, everyone will be a little kinder. You’ll be less aggressive and more kind. Cities will minimise accidents and reduce road rage.”
According to a study out of Israel, most Israeli drivers experiencing road range aren’t experiencing anger, but a frustrated desire to ‘educate’ the other driver. It makes sense that if people could clearly articulate their thoughts, then conflicts between vehicles would decrease.
Safety issues in the product include pre-recorded answers and responses to ensure that people do not use their phone while driving. Similar to Waze, Ototok guarantees that any distraction in the car will be from anything but the app itself.
Faced with a bright idea and little source of funding, Paran originally pitched his idea to Israel’s Shark Tank – requesting 400,000 Shekels for 15% in the company. When that failed, he launched an Indiegogo campaign, and the results were unlike anything he expected.
“Our darkest hour was the crowdfunding itself at the beginning. There was constant stress, due to a lot of benchmarks we had to reach. I was always checking my phone to see if we passed 30k.”
It turns out, Ototok received 192% of its original target, and walked away with more than $50,000.
Describing himself as ‘a lemonade kid without the stand’, Tamuz Paran is now working closely with his immediate family (except the dog) in building better communication between people in the hopes to make the transport world more safe and positive.