By Deepsekhar Choudhury
Indians don’t just go by looks and technical specs while buying a car. Availability of quality servicing for an automobile brand nearby is equally important. To bridge the gap between process-oriented authorised service centres and cost-effective local workshops, GoMechanic was founded in 2016 by Amit Bhasin, Rishabh Karwa, Kushal Karwa and Nitin Rana. The startup is “a network of technology-enabled car service centres, offering car service at the convenience of a tap.”
Bhasin says he realised that car repair and maintenance (R&M) was a problem that needed to be solved when he had to take his Chevrolet U-VA to multiple workshops and paid Rs 2,000-Rs 20,000 each time. “Still, I wasn’t aware of what was happening with my car,” he says.
A consumer has two options —either pay large costs at an authorised service centre or just pray that your car gets good servicing at the local workshop, explain the founders. Thus, there’s a massive opportunity in combining the best of both worlds: be as process-driven and quality controlled as the former and and be as friendly and cost-effective as the local workshop.
GoMechanic works on a FOCO (franchise owned-company operated) model. The car is picked up from a customer’s doorstep and delivered after servicing. A network of multi-brand service centres is monitored by it and work according to a process defined by the company. Whenever a customer books in through an app, he gets automated messages of what is happening with his car throughout.
Co-founder Karwa says, “We try to solve upfront, bringing transparency to the pricing problem.” It has an inventory of 5,000 spare parts and can come up with a bill trail of any replacement made in a vehicle. “With all of our customers and service partners there’s a pre-fixed pricing. The difference is the money we make. We are creating a maximum retail price (MRP) system in the industry.”
The founders estimate that the R&M market is worth $8-10 billion as every car out of the warranty period is a part of the market, which in India means almost any car more than two years old. According to the founders, R&M is the most frequent use case. But there’s a bigger ecosystem that can be built on top of that. “Going forward, we want to add other things such as car accessories, car detailing, car insurance and a buying and selling platform.”
The startup raised Rs 2 crore in seed funding from Orios Venture Partners and Dhianu Das in 2017. In December 2018, it raised over $4 million in a Series A round led by Sequoia Capital. GoMechanic is present in six cities and aims to expand to the next 10 cities in the next 18 months.