After winning the Great Valley Technology Alliance (GVTA) Business Plan competition in 2012, Prova Systems has been building their product line and working with local entrepreneurs to build a technology-based professional network in northeastern Pennsylvania. Prova System’s team now operates out of offices in the Carbondale Technology Transfer Center. Their goal is to redefine fleet management through innovative hardware and software that automates fleet management tasks and reduces the cost of ownership of fleets. Their system can save fleet managers more than 50 percent on monthly fleet management costs.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Vice President of Business Development, John Collins, to find out more about the services Prova Systems provides and how they plan to grow in the future.
Scranton Chamber: Can you describe what your business does?
John Collins: Our company designs, manufactures and sells OBD-2 on-board diagnostics-based vehicle fleet management systems. In mid-October 2012, we launched a new cloud-based fleet management application called Fleet Genius PRO. The product, which is a micro computer, plugs into a vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port and monitors that vehicle 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It tracks every trip, knows whether the vehicle is on or off, tracks mileage and fuel used, and tracks the speed of the car.
This product captures the information and we decode it so it alerts you if you need to see a mechanic. It helps you understand the maintenance and utilization issues with your vehicle. This product helps manage driver accountability and ensures proper vehicle maintenance records. Fleet Genius Pro software and hardware come packaged together in Prova’s Fleet Manager-in-a-Box product, which allows small businesses and local governments to manage their fleet automatically as if they had a dedicated fleet management team.
SC: Why did you decide to start your business in the greater Scranton area?
JC: We thought that the greater Scranton area was a good central location and that it would provide us with opportunities to work with entrepreneurs here and with companies in surrounding cities like Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. We want to build our industry in this region so tech companies can have resources and continue to collaborate. We want to foster students to start their careers in this industry in the greater Scranton area. We’ve recently started a meet-up group as a way to network with other tech businesses and entrepreneurs. We have speakers discuss new industry advancements and how to maintain product and customer efficiency.
SC: How has winning the Great Valley Technology Alliance Business Plan competition been able to help your business?
JC: We are very grateful to have won this competition and to be recognized for our hard work. We have been able to order more inventory, hire new sales staff and begin to work on some marketing tools such as a new website. This competition gave our company the reassurance that what we are doing and working on makes sense.
SC: How has the Chamber helped you?
JC: The Chamber has been able to provide a business community network that will help us continue to grow our company and meet new contacts. We want to build relationships with the community and be able to help businesses with our products.
SC: What are some of the most valuable lessons about running a business you have learned from your experiences?
JC: One lesson I’ve learned along the way is to live within your means as business. It’s imperative to weigh every decision to ensure the benefits the business will receive will outweigh any of the risks. Another important lesson is to put a lot of thought and consideration when deciding on your business partners, investors and employees. You want to surround yourself with proactive professionals who will help your business grow.
— by Amanda E. Marchegiani, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce