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After drilling in oil rigs, four IITians now drive India's connected car and service

Vishal Krishna
28th Oct 2016
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Two years ago, Siddarth Jain, Swapnil Tripathi and Asad Abrar worked at an oil rig only to realise that technologies at the rigs were high end systems and that managed a sophisticated operation. They also realised that working at an oil rig was really not going to make their careers go anywhere other than the fact that they would be paid really well to do a greasy job in the middle of the ocean.

Steero Team
Steero Team

The early days

So in June 2015, the three IITians decided to dabble in ideas that can possibly be the start of a journey. "We started meeting businesses in Navi Mumbai and met over 300 shops in the fashion, automobile and health care segment. The objective was to allow consumers to book services online and these shops would deliver services," says Siddarth, Co-founder of Steero in Mumbai.

Around the same time, a computer scientist and another IIT alumnus, Mohd Asad joined the company as a co-founder.

The company soon found out that they were not focussed. In fact, a meeting with the Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma changed the company's fortunes. "Based on his advice, we decided to go after one industry," says Siddarth.

That's when the company went after the automobile market and decided to offer services to car owners after the car is sold. They focussed on services like car repair, wheel care, dent and paint, car cleaning and road side assistance. They began creating a branded service because the automobile industry is growing fast. According to SIAM, over the last five years, there have been more than 10 million new passenger cars sold in India. These new consumers need services delivered through the smartphone and this is what Steero went after. There are over 200 million smart phone users in India, of which only 50 million are considered active users. Even within this segment only around 10 million are complete digital natives.

The business

Once the customer books on the Steero app or website they are connected to a branded network of automobile workshops, offering standardised service experience with features such as assurance of genuine spares, transparent pricing, manufacturer recommended procedures, service warranty and seamless customer experience using technology and naming them Steero Borivali, Steero Powai, Steero Andheri, Steero Fort, Steero Navi Mumbai. "We are feeding these stressed workshops with demand and fulfilling their spare parts requirement," says Siddarth.

They have also integrated on their app an accessories sales side for spare part distributors. These sales will also have a Steero branded service centre installed. They are also building an on board diagnostic tool which will showcase the car’s health on the smartphone. The company's business model is both B2B and B2C. It has tied up with several fleets to get their cars serviced on a regular basis. They charge a percentage fee from the service centre working on their platform and have an annual maintenance contract with large fleets.

Since the business went live this year their revenues are very small. The team has invested around Rs 10 lakh and have raised angel funding up to Rs 1 crore.

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