JAB journal


Like all cool ideas, this one is simple. And we really believe in its usefulness.


In 1885, Karl Benz built the first automobile similar to today’s cars. In the same year, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach created a gasoline-powered bicycle, which became the predecessor of the modern motorcycle.
Since then, transportation is all around us everywhere, which often leads to the need to contact its owner/driver, but there is still no suitable convenient way.
There are many potential reasons:
  • a request to repark an interfering vehicle,
  • warning the driver that his car is being towed,
  • informing the driver of a malfunction (flat tire, non-functioning light),
  • expressing emotions in response to behavior on the road,
  • a desire to learn something about the vehicle of interest from the owner,
  • etc.
The idea has been in our heads for several years, but it came up again when we witnessed an accident in a parking lot near a mall. After hitting a car while driving away, the offender got out and began to examine the deep scratch left on someone else’s car. We decided that he would wait for the victim and they would sort it out and left. But a minute later, he was standing next to it at a stoplight. Apparently, he just fled the scene of the accident.

Putting ourselves in the shoes of the person who, when out shopping, will see the damage but can do nothing about it, once again convinced that the problem exists and there is still no adequate solution.

Solution options

What can be done now if the driver didn’t leave his phone number in a conspicuous place?
  1. Leave a note. Quite mucky — you need a piece of paper, a pen, some kind of moisture protection — and inefficiently. If you’re locked in a parking lot, there’s no time to wait. And once the driver gets out, the note won’t be useful.
  2. Involve the authorities. For example, in Israel, you can report the number of a badly parked car to the police, they contact the owner themselves. But this method doesn’t solve the other problems described above and doesn’t work in most of the countries we’ve studied.
  3. Contact the organization if the car is branded. But this doesn’t happen very often.
  4. Find the owner through social networks or local car/motorcycle communities. This will work if, for example, there is an Instagram profile sticker on the car. It is clear that in the vast majority of cases this is utopia.
  5. Turn to semi- or completely illegal services. For example, in Russia there is "Eye of God" with leaked databases of car insurance companies and other agencies. In addition to its dubious legality, there are questions about the relevance of the data, and it is paid.
There is a solution for India — the government-run VAHAN service. Other countries could follow suit, but it is certain that there can be no single solution for all countries.
The bottom line: the options are complicated, costly, and don’t guarantee results.
At the same time, the relevance of the task is confirmed by the number of queries in Google:


Every vehicle has a state registration plate. Typed, by the way, only in Latin and numerals. That is, in principle, every car/motorcycle has a number that is unique throughout the world, as in any messenger. So why not implement a system where you can contact the owner/driver by using it?
We chose the working title "Tet-a-Tag", referring to the one-on-one conversation through the tag, the vehicle registration number.


The owner/driver registers in the system by entering the license plate number of his vehicle (or several). When someone contacts their license plate number, the messages are sent to the system, which notifies the driver and where correspondence can be conducted.
The number can be entered manually or taken from a photo using the ML recognition system, and messages can be either predefined for quick sending (thumbs up to the person who let you go) or manually typed.
An important aspect: both parties remain completely anonymous, although they can exchange contacts in the chat room if they wish. And the basic functionality is always free of charge.


We quickly put together a simple multi-lingual Telegram bot to test the hypothesis. Dozens of people were interviewed, the feedback is extremely positive, the product is certainly useful.
Of course, in the final version it should be a mobile application with an additional web interface. And even in this case, the development is primitive and inexpensive. All the complexities are deeper.


At brainstorming sessions, two major issues were identified:
  1. Confirmation of ownership. There needs to be a mechanism to protect against attribution of other people’s vehicles. Verifying documents is not only costly, but can also be legally nuanced. Perhaps the best solution is to not deal with the task at all, allowing any user to add any vehicle. We don’t see any really bad scenarios for such a use case, except that a jealous husband will also see an invitation to get acquainted sent to his wife-driver from a neighboring car in the stream.
  2. Marketing costs. Let’s explore this problem in a little more detail.
The cost of development is ridiculously small. The main costs come from promoting the service. People will use it if they are not constantly confronted with messages that the car whose number they are trying to call is not in the system.
There are two launch options: global or localized. The first involves simultaneous promotion all over the world, which makes the costs astronomical. The second involves selecting a country for launch, investing in advertising on its territory, debugging the service and developing the functionality based on the feedback gathered, and then moving on to the next country. In this option, the costs are reduced, but there is a second risk: seeing the demand, a strong player on the market can create a competing solution in a week and distribute it to the existing client base.


We have experience of launching our own services, but not so costly and therefore paid for from personal funds. Here the situation is different.
In Israel, there is a department of MATI that advises on the subject of IT entrepreneurship. After a series of discussions, our supervisor assessed the potential of the service from the point of view of a potential investor as low due to the lack of transparency of monetization.
Many large IT companies have been unprofitable for years, but have increasing value. Unfortunately, since the idea itself is simple and easy to copy, without any know-how, there will be very few people willing to invest.
In doing so, we discussed the following initial monetization options:
  • advertising of regional service companies (e.g., tire shops or official dealers in the region where the user is currently located),
  • advertising with filtering by vehicle brand and other parameters (for example, a message about a new service station for Japanese cars, displayed within a certain radius from its location),
  • paid disabling of any advertising,
  • an announcement about search for a stolen car (the owner marks it as stolen, and everyone in a certain radius receives a notification with a call to help for a fee),
  • a request for help (for example, to bring fuel to the place where the gas tank has dried up: geolocation will be taken from the application),
  • various additional features (e.g., more emoji for quick reaction — a super angry one to send to the person who cut you off).
It is also possible to automatically create communities by brands, regions and other available information. In addition, dating can be an interesting feature: paid status about willingness to communicate, etc.
And finally, having gained an audience, the service can become a tidbit for acquisition by some navigation application, e.g., Waze.


An idea is worth nothing without its realization. We are always happy to discuss a project with stakeholders, but at the same time we do not see the possibility of doing it ourselves.
If someone gets inspired by the idea and realizes it without our participation — well, we can guarantee that we will be among the first users =)