This post originally appeared on Startup Pirates on October 03, 2013 tumblr_inline_mu3drf2kyj1rxbdxk

Our first program in Asia took place in Lahore, Pakistan, last June. XGear is a project from that edition and the team claims they will be the game changer for automotive industry! Let’s know more about them by the words of Ahmed Khalid, Co-Founder & CEO of XGear.

Who are the people behind XGear?

“We are three people who manage the core operations at One Step Solutions (the company behind XGear), Ahmed KhalidUsman Khawajaand Kamran Shahid. We are a small team trying to change the world, we believe a few great people can make a big difference.

Ahmed is an engineer by education, a researcher with profound passion about cars and a visionary entrepreneur by profession. Usman has over 8 years of experience in developing enterprise business system, web and mobile applications. Kamran has extensive development experience of Microsoft Technologies and Native Mobile Applications.”

Can you tell us a bit more about your project? What are you doing?

“With XGear we are basically looking to change the way people live and commute. The idea is to enable you to login to your car from anywhere in the world using any internet enabled device. XGear will enable your car to take decision on your behalf without you ever having to think about them, based on the combination of vehicle logging, predictive modeling and cloud computing, to give you an estimate on how much you can save.

XGear helps you in keeping your vehicle in top notch condition, provides you behavior analysis and by using engine data it can tell a lot about your driving style and at what efficiency the car is being driven at. When a vehicle is speeding, fuel consumption increases dramatically!”

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How have these past months been?

“Over the past few years we have developed some really great products but never had the time to project ourselves. It was in June 2013 when we decided to expand the horizon and meet new people to tell them what we were up-to. It all started with Plan9, the second incubation cycle in March 2013, when I decided to take one of our products to the Plan9. When I started filling the form out I realized I wasn’t comfortable sharing the details so I ended up not applying for the incubation cycle, which I still regret.

Two months down the road in mid June, I got an email from some friend about a one week accelerator program for emerging entrepreneurs. Quite frankly I figured this would give me a timeout from the monotonous office routine and might give me a chance to see what was happening around and meet some new people. I ended up winning the competition with xGear, this gave me some hope and enabled me to thrive for more. The whole Startup Pirates experience is shared on this link http://bit.ly/19gLEhy

In the first week of July, I came to know from Facebook about a session on Pitching to Customers and Investors – A Crash Course by Mr. Jawwad Farid. I took my chances, contacted the Plan9 team and Miss Hafsa Shorish; was kind enough to arrange a meet-up with Mr. Jawwad Farid (for me this was a life changing moment). Followed by that meeting I was offered to pitch my idea in the 3rd meet-up of Plan9 Angel Investors, which boosted my confidence and gave me courage to discuss the idea with people and take their criticism positively to further refine the idea.

Soon after the Plan9 meet up, Mr. Khurram Zafar was kind enough to call us and pointed out the shortcomings we had in our business model and led us to the right path. Since all of this boosted our confidence we opted to apply for every possible competition to get the word out and see how people responded to this idea; the response was overwhelming.

To top everything up, we just won P@SHA ICT Awards 2013, for xGear being Best in Green and Sustainable IT, we will be representing Pakistan at Asia Pacific IT Awards (APICTA) 2013 at Hong Kong.”

 What are the biggest challenges that you faced until now? And accomplishments?

“The story of xGear dates backs to my undergrad days as for the final project we wanted to do something different when everybody else was planning on choosing a project easy enough to complete their degrees. Since I was passionate about car and wanted a reason to be in a car with a purpose, I convinced my group members to do something with a car that could involve computer. Trust me, we were clueless on what we would do. Being software students, we were expected to deliver a software product. It took us a month to figure out how to make it look like a software project. We decided to make a software that would display vitals of the car on a computer screen, we worked day and night in the electronics labs to learn about micro controllers, analog to digital convertors, serial ports and other stuff, to be able to make a hardware device to communicate with the car. While working on making the hardware we came to know about the engine control unit of the car and the interface we continue researching on that and finally were able to make a hardware dongle to communicate with a car. Since we were all students and didn’t own a car, we had to contact people to let us use their cars because we wanted to test a hardware dongle which we made to communicate with the ECU. It is very difficult explaining people that this hardware dongle will not burn the ECU of your car; yes, there were 50% chances of that happening we know 🙂 But if we had told that, nobody would ever let us touch their car. It took us a good 3 months to optimize the hardware at the cost of a burned laptop. Lucky for us that it wasn’t the ECU of the car we were testing the software on.”

Next moves?

“We are currently talking to potential channel partners to setup our distribution points in multiple countries for people around the world to benefit from xGear. We will be taking xGear to Asia Pacific IT Awards Hong Kong this year, since we have won the P@SHA ICT Awards here in Pakistan.”

What would you say to a person who has a business idea and wants to turn it into reality?

“Just follow your dream, it only takes hard work to accomplish what you need!”