The startup has attracted funding from Rise of the Rest and Ohio Third Frontier.

Insurance rates based on your real driving habits. Scooters you can snag for a lunch break. Self-driving cars you hail with your phone. What does and will make all of these possible?

Data.

“Just think—the entire auto mobility sector will be disrupted by this one thing—data coming off of moving vehicles,” says Arnab Nandi, CEO of Mobikit, a Columbus startup already unpacking that data for customers in the mobility sector.

Working with that data to massage what each particular application demands is a brand new challenge for industries old and new. Mobikit, founded in January 2019 by Nandi and engineer Igor Ferst, is attacking that challenge for mobility companies with a growing team of data analysts. “We’ve been quietly building out a kit that companies can use, a product to be used at scale by thousands if not millions of vehicles and users,” Nandi says. “We want to be the Lego blocks of mobility.”

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Nandi says the analogy is apt because their approach enables assembly of applications “like the photos on the outside of the Lego box—they can build this thing, but then there are a million other ideas you can have. If you don’t have a kit, you have to do all of these things yourself, and that’s a lot of work. We’re behind the scenes. The end customer, like the driver, might not even know we exist.”

Nandi, an Ohio State associate professor, says he hit upon mobility as a source during his data analytics research. He says he was fortunate to be able to talk co-founder Ferst into leaving Root Insurance and taking the leap with him.

Nandi says the fact that they’re in Columbus is critical, given the deep insurance industry presence, proximity to Detroit’s auto sector, and definitely not least, the depth of Columbus’s burgeoning tech sector.

He says a lot of talent in data analytics is emerging from Ohio State, and that talent is willing to stay here because of the superior quality of life and growing tech ecosystem.

Mobikit has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the Rise of the Rest Revolution and Dynamo.vc. It has also been working with a number of other undisclosed clients.

Cynthia Bent Findlay is a freelance writer for Columbus CEO.