There is many a tale of flat tyre and vehicular breakdown that come in between your travel plans. And in most cases, you’re either stranded or have to rely on roadside mechanics. Karthik Venkateswaran found himself in the exact situation once.
One night, while returning from office, his car had a flat tyre. Stranded in the middle of the road, Karthik was left with minimal options. He located the nearest local mechanic only an hour after looking around.
It was then that Karthik realised that while we have most things at the press of a button or on-demand, vehicle repair was not one of it. This gave him the idea to launch GoBumpr, an app to assist people at times of such vehicle breakdowns.
Tinkering the bumps
Karthik's friend from his IIM Shillong days, Nandha Kumar, had the habit of comparing costs of various service centres before servicing his 18-year-old bike. He found that authorised rates from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) varied from centre to centre; leave alone comparison with a good multi-brand garage.
Nandha realised that dealer outlets charge more to compensate for the expense of owning real estate in a prime locality. This from a consumer's standpoint wasn’t fair because he just wanted good service from a nearby garage at a transparent and fair price.
Karthik and Nandha, therefore, got together to set up GoBumpr in Chennai. They had previously co-founded www.northerly.in, a niche business consulting firm, and helped incubate two startups in Chennai.
The duo did their market research for six months and launched the Android version of GoBumpr in October last year. Karthik’s childhood friend Sundar Natesan joined them at this point, bringing in experience in digital marketing and analytics.
Working along the value chain
Working as a mobile app, GoBumpr helps vehicle owners find, book and pay for any of their automobile services from trusted service stations wherever they may be. GoBumpr covers a range of services, starting from OEM-authorised free services, regular scheduled paid services, ad-hoc repair jobs, 24/7 on-road assistance, vehicle insurance renewals to finding the nearest petrol bunks on road.
The service centres can promote, sell and manage all their services online through GoBumpr. The partner interface facilitates real-time automation of service booking and customer engagement processes, right from start of service booking to vehicle delivery, including timely service updates.
For non-standard repair jobs, GoBumpr fetches instant quotes from its partnered service stations based on customer’s text, image and/or audio description of the problem, through its real-time chat platform. Vehicle owners can also get automated service reminders and personalised offers.
“The service providers also get on-demand market insights via GoBumpr’s data-driven analytics module, helping them serve their customers better in this digital era,” adds 27-year-old Karthik.
While there are different apps and players that offer standalone services, Karthik says that with GoBumpr, one can cover the complete spectrum of auto-service needs for cars and bikes from the day of purchase of vehicle. There also is real-time status tracking that enables the owner understand the stage of service it is in.
Traction and growth
“Around 20 million new vehicles hit the Indian roads and enter the after-sales service market every year (23.3 million in FY14-15 with a Y-o-Y growth of 8.68 per cent over the last year). GoBumpr intends to cater to 94 per cent of the automobile market comprising both two-wheeler segment (81 per cent) and passenger-car segment (13 per cent),” says Karthik.
The team claims to have registered over 700 car and bike owners on its platform and has clocked 100 transactions worth Rs 15 lakh within two months of launch. On the supply side, GoBumpr claims to have on-boarded 260 service providers, including both OEM-authorised service stations and multi-brand workshops. GoBumpr has 50 four-wheeler service centres, 120 two-wheeler centres and 90 exclusive tyre puncture shops currently rendering service via the platform.
Currently bootstrapped, the team is looking for external funding. The team is looking to add more service providers in the coming months. It intends to cover the whole of Chennai and the adjoining districts in the next two months, while keeping the focus on stabilising its operations. Once that is done, the team intends to touch Bengaluru and other metros.
“We also have Tier II and III cities in our radar, for which we are looking at having partner interfaces in local languages for service providers. This comes from our immediate learning at Chennai, where most of our registration procedures and communication brochures are in Tamil, as most of the mechanics prefer local language for their communication and panel display,” adds Karthik.
GoBumpr is guided by Ganesh T Vasudevan, CEO, IndiaProperty.com and also mentored by Raghavendra Sethumadhavan, an automobile veteran with 25 years of experience.
Industry growth and competition
In 2013–14, the total turnover of the Indian automotive component industry was estimated at USD 35 billion. Auto ancillary exports fetched USD 10.2 billion in the same year. The total number of registered motor vehicles on Indian roads reached 172 million in March 2013, from 21.5 million cars, taxis and jeeps in 2012.
About 40 per cent of the service providers in top tier cities fall under the organised sector. GoBumpr is one of the several players in a segment including MotorExpert, MyPitstop, MeriCar and Cartisan.
MeriCAR.com has had two rounds of investments from My First Cheque and Rajan Anandan (personal investment). Now, they are looking to raise a larger funding round in the future.
In July 2015, Bengaluru-based automotive service marketplace Cartisan raised an undisclosed amount in its seed-round funding from YouWeCan ventures, Global Founders Capital, TaxiForSure’s Aprameya R and others.