Twenty-seven-year old Sagar Paliwal was in a fix. His SUV had several mechanical and electronic issues, due to all the usage during floods. But when he took to to the brand's dealer, he was asked to expect a bill for a whopping Rs 4,00,000 plus taxes.
So, like most, Sagar decided to take his car to the local vendor, but there was a problem of trust and guarantee. Being an automotive engineer from Lancaster University, he decided to fix his car himself. In a span of two months, he was able to fix the car with all performance upgrades and in under Rs 90,000.
It was then that Sagar realised that there was no single guaranteed place where customers could source all spares and accessories. It led to the creation of AutoKartz in Delhi last year to cater to spare parts and accessory needs – whether it was accessories or restoration of a classic.
Bringing in the add-ons
“We provide owners genuine parts and accessories at wholesale rates. We also regularly educate our customers on which products would help them and help the performance of their vehicles,” says this second-time entrepreneur.
AutoKartz ships products across India and has tie-ups with service providers in over 150 cities. The team has also claimed to have tied up with Mahindra First Choice Service Centres.
The platform also works as an aggregator for car modification experts, a lead-generating platform for auto insurance and a listing platform for used auto sales. Apart from Sagar, the main core team consists of Delhi University graduates Arun Mittal, Ayush Mishra, Mukul Sood, and Farhad Khan from Greater Noida Institute of Technology.
Sagar hired the team after looking for people who had a passion for automobiles, and were willing to help build a platform for automobiles.
Breaking into an unorganised market
However, building an e-commerce platform for vehicles has its own set of challenges. Sagar adds that getting genuine parts and ensuring their quality is a big challenge in a fragmented and unorganised market. Convincing players and manufacturers is a task, as they are wary of new entrants. But once you break into the market it’s easier.
Sagar adds that they have a target market of $57 billion that is going to reach $80 billion by 2020.
AutoKartz isn’t the only player looking at this market. Over the past year several players have attempted to take a crack at this unorganised market. In the second-hand vehicles market itself, there is the heavily-funded Droom, a used automobile marketplace. There also is Cartrade, which closed a $145-million round in February last year and even acquired Carwale. There also is Cartisan, which guides users to the right auto care centre.
Carstudio provides users with needed accessories and spare parts and even helps them remodel their cars.
Expanding across geographies
AutoKartz, however, claims to be the only one to have integrated everything that a car or vehicle owner needs on one platform. “We are the only ones who have service tie-ups all across India. We are also in the process of launching insurance services on our platform,” says Sagar.
He adds that in the past seven months they have managed to grow at an average of 50 percent month-on-month. Right now, the company is clocking sales of over Rs 1,00,000 a day, with a turnover of over Rs 3 crore. Currently bootstrapped, the team is in the process of raising funds.
“We are shipping all over India and internationally. We have service partners in over 150 cities, which is expanding very rapidly. We aim to have local service presence in 500 towns and cities by the end of 2017,” says Sagar. The team is also looking to enter South East Asia, Africa, Europe and Middle East.
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- Car accessories
- Delhi Startup
- Bootstrapped startups
- Car modification platform
- Ayush Mishra
- Arun Mittal