Drive home a used car without the paperwork hassle, the Truebil way
Mumbai-based startup Truebil is your one-stop destination for hassle-free purchase of used cars.
At a Glance
Founders: Suraj Kalwani, Ravi Chirania, Shubh Bansal, Rakesh Raman, Ritesh Pandey, Shanu Vivek, and Himanshu Singhal
Year it was founded: March 2015
Where it is based: Mumbai
The problem it solves: Helps car buyers to discover and find pre-owned cars and car prices
Funding: $9 million
For a majority of the population, Rising India has led to growing aspirations and the subsequent desire to own a car.
With commutes getting longer and life become fast-paced, a personal vehicle is preferred for multiple reasons. In the race of life, it seems like everyone needs a car.
For those who can’t afford to buy a brand new car, buying a used one seems to be a good option. While there are many listing and classified portals to dispense information about used cars, there are limited options as far as end-to-end service providers for used cars is concerned. This is where Truebil comes into the picture.
Revving it up
Truebil’s journey began when three of the co-founders - Suraj, Ravi and Shubh - jointly started hunting for a used car in 2014.
As the three of them stayed in a single apartment, they hired a mechanic every weekend to test the cars they had shortlisted.
They had to go through a month-long cumbersome process just to shortlist a used car. They also had to deal with never-ending negotiations that delayed the vehicle purchase even further.
They also realised that the actual sale price of the car could vary by up to 20-30 percent from the initial asking price. This information asymmetry and the lack of authenticity inspired the founders to solve these practical problems.
In the driving seat
Truebil was co-founded by five ex-IITians - Suraj Kalwani (CEO), Ravi Chirania, Rakesh Raman, Shanu Vivek, Himanshu Singhal and two IIIT alumni - Ritesh Pandey and Shubh Bansal. Five of the co-founders used to work in the same organisation (Housing.com), out of which three stayed together.
Explaining the idea behind the venture, Shubh says: “What really helped get everyone on board and aligned with the idea was our common love for automobiles, and our desire to be entrepreneurs instead of holding a static 9-5 job.”
“It is always a challenge to disrupt an industry, especially one which is as disorganised as the used car business. The majority of people purchasing used cars was in the offline mode,” says Shubh.
Another challenge they faced was the value consciousness of Indian consumers who are generally reluctant to buy used cars, as compared to customers in international markets.
“Indian customers have to be reassured that they are getting the best possible deal in the used car market, and that our offering will provide them with the best returns on their investment. People prefer to visit offline stores and inspect the car before making a purchase. Our offline channel as well as our proprietary technology-enabled evaluation mechanisms through TrueScore (an assured quality mark) and TruePrice (helps sellers to determine car’s true value) helps us engage with this problem,” Suraj says.
How does the platform work?
The platform operates on two verticals - Business Verticals and strong proprietary technology enabler.
Under business verticals, it has sub verticals like Truebil Direct (offline business), Truebil Marketplace, Truebil Auctions, and Truebil Luxury. Truebil Direct enables buyers to shortlist and buy best-quality cars directly from its offline dark stores with a one-year comprehensive service warranty, one-year roadside assistance, and one year free servicing. The TrueBil marketplace is the online platform for used cars.
Under Truebil Auctions, the company buys cars from new car showrooms, which go for exchange and sell it to the dealers. All of this is done through Truebil’s auction app, in which dealers can sign up to see the available cars and bid for them. The firm also has a vertical for luxury cars - Truebil Luxury, under which brands like Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Jaguar are now available at Truebil.
The startup also has two strong proprietary technology enablers – Truescore and Trueprice. Truescore allows buyers to get a fair idea of the condition of the vehicle. This ensures that Truebil buyers to have informed choices. Trueprice is a car pricing tool for sellers. It uses advanced technology to give a data-driven intelligent assessment of the car’s current value, based on complex pricing models.
Market and the metrics
Currently, the firm has close to 200 employees across Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. Truebil has achieved an annualised revenue of Rs 120 crore in May this year.
Shubh says, “The current market size of used cars in India is $16 billion, and is expected to grow to $30 billion by 2022. As far as numbers are concerned, we are operationally profitable in all the three cities. We have a two percent market share in Mumbai, 1.5 percent in Bengaluru, and less than one percent in Delhi.”
Competitors and differentiating factor
As far as media business like lead and data generation is concerned, there are many competitors like CarWale, CarTrade and CarDekho. But Truebil goes beyond just providing listing and discovery services for used cars.
Shubh elaborates, “Unlike other portals where buyers can just get the contacts of the sellers and offline distributors, we have a curated marketplace where we list and assist the buyer in buying the cars. We have three subscription plans that buyers can choose from - Rs 499, Rs 999 and Rs 5,000. Under the Rs 499 plan, buyers can get good quality pictures, car documents, post-sale services like insurance and transfer and unlimited seller contacts and unlimited inspection report for 45 days. The premium plans have higher value added services”.
Shubh adds that its unique selling point is that sellers can’t list their cars before Truebil inspects those cars.
“Truebil ensures a smooth used-car purchase experience. We help buyers with the valuation and inspection report, assist them in paper transfer, provide loan assistance and insurance facilities, etc. We also want to provide a quick sell guarantee for the sellers. We use AI-driven algorithms to predict the ideal price of a car, based on parameters like its condition, as well as geographical and seasonal factors”.
Funding and future plans
Truebil has till now secured $9 million from multiple investors including Kae Capital, Kalaari Capital, Inventus Capital and Tekton Ventures, Shunwei, and others.
By FY 2022, the firm aims to achieve an annual revenue run rate of $300 million with 6,000 cars sold per month across eight cities. “We would want to scale this business and enter new markets only after having a stranglehold in existing cities”, says Shubh.
The firm is also planning to create a pricing benchmark for used cars in India. “Currently, the used car industry in India does not have pricing benchmarks like KBB in the US, and since we generate a lot of data, we will be able to create strong data backed algorithms, which can help consumers as well as small business in procurement, sales, and pricing of cars. TrueScore is one such benchmark,” adds Shubh.