3 Questions with Jonathan Matus of Zendrive

Jonathan Mattes

FintekNews is pleased to offer our weekly feature column 3 Questions. Each week, we feature a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan Matus at Zendrive, which measures the risk of dangerous driver behavior, using smartphone-powered data, analytics, and over 140 billion miles of driver behavior analysis, to predict risk 6x better than insurance companies’ standard measurements.

NAME: Jonathan Matus
TITLE: CEO/Co-Founder
COMPANY: Zendrive
WEB ADDRESS: www.zendrive.com

What does your firm do/offer within the insurtech sector?

Zendrive is the leader in understanding, measuring, and reducing the risk of dangerous driver behavior like distracted driving. Using smartphone-powered data and analytics, as well as over 140 billion miles of driver behavior analysis, Zendrive predicts risk 6-times better than the insurance industry’s standard methods (according to independent analysis by leading actuarial firm Milliman). This means you can take action to prevent risky driving before it results in collisions, costing money and lives.

Zendrive’s technology helps improve risk management and increase customer savings. AI-powered underwriting means better risk profiling and segmentation, and the comprehensive loss control platform helps improve driver behavior for safer roads. The same technology improves the claims experience, with rich data and fraud prevention.

Zendrive works with partners to incorporate our platform into their apps. Once on an insured’s phone the technology measures risky driving behaviors like phone use, speeding, hard braking and more, as well as detects crashes. The insurer can then see all drivers on a dashboard and easily  segment them, coaching the poor drivers and rewarding the safe ones. Crash detection can also capture data that helps streamline the claims process with greater accuracy.

Any insurer can integrate Zendrive’s technology into its offering and develop new and more precisely-tailored insurance plans that minimize risk and pass savings on to their customers.

What has been the biggest success in your firm to date?

We’ve received a lot of prestigious industry recognition for what we’re doing, including  the Fast Company Innovative Product award and  the Tech In Motion Timmy award. As exciting as these accolades are, there’s nothing as satisfying as seeing the product in use and how it is helping customers save money and, more importantly, save lives.

This summer we hit 140 billion miles of driver behavior analyzed – by far the largest in the industry. It’s the most comprehensive and up-to-date driving behavior data set around — growing by over 10 billion miles a month — and from that we’ve trained our machine learning algorithms to produce more useful and actionable insights.

Ninety percent of collisions are due to human error, and every single mile that Zendrive measures is driver behavior, not simply vehicle data. By measuring risky behaviors like driver phone use (which contributes to 1 in 4 collisions), speeding, hard braking and more, combined with external factors like location, time of day, and whether the person is a ridehail driver, commercial driver or a regular driver like you and me, Zendrive’s data leads to deeper insights.

From our 140 billion miles analyzed we’ve learned distracted driving is 100-times worse than previous studies suggested. We’ve created new risk profiles and driving personas that account for the effect of distracted driving, and can predict risk 6-times better than the industry standard. We even analyzed 75,000 school zones across the U.S. to see which have the riskiest traffic. The more data we get, the more insights we can glean and the more tools we can offer anyone who wants to make safer streets.

How do you feel consumers (or if more relevant for your firm – businesses) are adapting to the facet of fintech that your company operates within?

As insurer margins slim down, and insureds are becoming more comfortable with trading personal data for savings, it’s no surprise that driving behavior analytics is on the rise. While only 4% of policies sold today include some sort of built-in Driving Analytics, the trend is growing. By 2021 it’s expected to more than double as early pioneers like Progressive are joined by Allstate and State Farm, and even automakers like Mitsubishi and Ford are sharing data with insurers.

On the technology side, insurers are scrambling to make the best use of AI and machine learning to better leverage the massive amounts of data coming in. New conferences are springing up to help people figure out how to use machine learning in their business, and insurance journals are peppered with headlines like “What AI Can Do for You” or “10 Ways Driving Analytics are Affecting Insurance


This is not only the current big thing, but also the next big thing, as machine learning necessarily improves as it goes along. The more data to work with, the more insights and innovations the industry will create. Our team of data scientists, engineers and insurance veterans (with a combined 150+ years of experience) are excited to see where it takes us and build the next generation of insurtech tools on top of it!

Jonathan Matus co-founded Zendrive and is the company’s CEO. Prior to Zendrive, Jonathan was an early member of Google’s Android team, helping to drive the OS to the world’s best-selling mobile platform.