Converting an idea into a reality is never an easy task. In fact, it requires persistent efforts. While sipping midnight tea in Cyber City (Gurgaon) in late October last year, BIT Mesra graduates Akansh Sinha and Anubhav Deep were discussing opportunity in organising the fragmented car service market. “Several hours of discussion concluded with summary that we’re going to take a plunge with our venture in car service space,” says Akansh (24) .
Unlike ideas that usually remain dormant, the duo involved more deeply and conceptualised ServX within two weeks. Anbuhav (24), says
After developing minimum viable product, we launched our beta version during the annual IIT-D cultural fest (Rendezvous). Much to our surprise, we did over 300 car washes during the two-day event.
Founded in November 2015, ServX is a multi-brand, multi-vehicle platform that provides a one-stop solution for car services and repairs across NCR. It covers every vehicle-related service including emergency pick-ups, doorstep repairs, regular maintenance, servicing, insurance, body shop modifications, cosmetics, etc.
Co-founders Akansh and Anubhav graduated last year and got campus placement in Oracle and Bajaj Autos, respectively. “We had clarity of doing something on our own from early engineering years. So joining a job was not an option for us,” says Akansh.
The process of getting a car serviced can be quite exhausting. Owning a car comes with some inconveniences. In today’s fast-paced world, waiting for a car to get fixed can be rather time-consuming. “Our vision is to ease entire servicing process and save time of busy car owners,” adds Akansh.
The company believes in going authorised first and on-boarded over 100 authorised service centres. “We intend to optimise their processes to make the customer experience transparent and seamless while bringing down the costs for them,” adds Anubhav.
After selecting the make, model, and variant of the vehicle, one needs to pick a date, time, and convenient location. Once a request has been made, a representative from ServX will arrive to pick-up and drop-off your vehicle. The company promises a 20 per cent discount while using services of authorised dealers.
Current traction and so far growth
As of now, the startup claims to have covered over 5,000 car washes and 2,000 services including repair. The company has been successful in cracking major B2B deals with players such as Orange Cabs, who own huge fleets. To gain advantage, Delhi-based ServX has developed a proprietary cloud-based OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) II plus telematics system, which will be launched in the next six months. The SaaS-based product’s feature would help customers to experience seamless connectivity to their cars like never before.
“We get about 50 requests a day with 30 per cent growth in volume on a weekly basis,” says Akansh. ServX claims to make about Rs 300 on each service, whilst cutting one-fourth of cost at customer end.
Getting vendors on-board was challenging
The first challenge for ServX was to get vendors on board who were embroiled in the traditional mechanisms of the automobile industry. Akansh adds,
Convincing vendors to remove the protective blanket around them, and open themselves up to public scrutiny under ServX’s umbrella turned out to be a problem in the beginning. However, they soon realised ServX as additional lead channel.
While ServX focussed on aggregating only branded service provider, gradual demand for on-demand service made the company rethink its strategy. Initially, ServX didn’t want to do it as doorstep service require non-branded vendors. Non-branded vendors often don’t match experience and qualities that of branded (run by vehicle manufacturers) ones. “Based on consistent queries, we are slated to launch complete doorstep car service in a month,” says Akansh.
Car service space is a new niche in the online space. Currently, about a dozen startups including MeriCAR, Cartisan, Bumper, Drivojoy and Autoyaar, Carxpert amongst others are exploring opportunities in it. According to an industry estimate, the market size of the passenger car service is approximately 40,000 crores ($6 billion) plus. At present, car service is considered as a time-consuming affair and big pain. On an average, one has to invest at least two hours to get their car serviced.
These startups are trying to solve the painful issue of car servicing. Convenience is a key business and value proposition for startups like ServX. However, scaling car service business doesn’t look like an easy ride. Convenience card in on-demand verticals like grocery and handymen services (except metros) didn’t augur well. Lack of demand of instant grocery, and veggie, forced Grofers and Peppertap to roll back their service from several cities. Car classifieds major CarDekho also forayed into car service market through a marketplace model but halted it with a brief pilot.