Technology is making our lives increasingly more comfortable. And now ‘Uber for X’ startups are organising different sectors and making it easier for both, service providers and customers to get their requirements on time and at standardized prices. MeriCAR.com is one such service that caters to the after sales experience of car owners.
What is it?
Started in 2008 by Rakesh Sidana, MeriCAR.com is a marketplace and aggregator for the ‘after sales automotive’ market in India. It helps consumers find car repair shops and garages in their area.
Initially, started as a web-only service, recently they launched a mobile app to make it easier for consumers and the service providers to locate each other. The venture now has 22 offices and 35 entrepreneur franchisee partners across India. MeriCARS is backed by a large international automotive corporate to serve customers pan-India 24x7 for roadside assistance or emergency breakdowns.
Says Rakesh, the Founder and CEO:
Mobile technology will change the way car owners contact the nearest car mechanic in India. We are removing human intervention between two users by using this technology.
According to a survey, there are 3,00,000 car garages in India but 60 per cent of car owners still look for small garages after their warranty expires. Also, if a car breaks down when a person is travelling, it may be difficult for him or her to locate the nearest workshop or mechanic. MeriCAR aims to address this problem.
Services offered and revenue model
The app has a simple user interface (UI) that offers two services: locating car repair shops and roadside emergency help.
The app enables users to locate car repair shops in the area, either manually by name or automatically within a radius of up to 20 km through GPS. This service is available from 9 am to 6 pm.
The 24X7 roadside emergency help service is open to both members and non-members. But members are given priority and there is no guarantee of service for non-members. The roadside assistance member service has a large network of car mechanics across India, with 24x7 helplines exclusively managed by AXA Assistance, a company with a presence in 30 countries across the world.
Mayank Singh, Founder, EngineerBabu, and an exclusive mobile technology development partner for MeriCAR’s app development, says:
We have developed this mobile app keeping in our mind the founder’s vision. The GPS-based feature allows users to do an automatic search of the nearest mechanic; making this app easy, intelligent, and user–friendly.
The seed funded company has had two rounds of investments from My First Cheque and Rajan Anandan (personal investment). Rakesh confirmed that they are looking to raise a larger funding round in the future.
Mentor and investor Gautam Sinha says that the MeriCAR app will establish a direct link between car owners and garage mechanics through a map-based search: “This will provide customer delight. And over time with ‘customer reviews’ and ‘rating’ available, it will increase business for efficient garage owners and provide transparency to car owners.”
MeriCAR has a long-term vision of empowering 1000 entrepreneur partners across the country. Currently, the company partners with 38 entrepreneurs and direct sales agents, and expects to grow to 100 by the end of this year. These partners will help the company aggregate local workshops. Any entrepreneur can join MeriCAR as a partner and leverage the power of partner network with mobile technology.
Their future plans include adding more features to the mobile app such as ‘ratings’ and ‘customer reviews’ to provide more transparency to users, which will make mechanics and service providers accountable. They are also planning to release the iOS version of the app and are in talks with the leading payment gateway, Paytm to integrate their services in MeriCAR’s app. The future iteration will also include more discounts at select workshops and tracking features.