How this Bengaluru-based auto startup is reinventing the wheel when it comes to car services and repairs
If you can’t make it to the service station, let car seva come to your doorstep. Bengaluru-based Wheels Wisdom makes it possible.
Founded in 2015 by Sandeep Menon, the startup provides car service and repair services in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kochi. Known for its “impeccable customer service”, Wheels Wisdom also sells motor insurance to car owners across India.
It strives to provide premium quality service to customers, ensuring a safe and pleasant driving experience.
“Our highly professional and trained mechanics use the best quality products combined with the latest techniques for all car repair services. We also protect customers from getting overbilled and cheated by service centres by imparting affordable and transparent pricing,” says Sandeep Menon, Founder, Wheels Wisdom.
Speaking about the name of the startup, Sandeep says the company uses its team’s “collective wisdom” to benefit the customer. “We use our knowledge to avoid unnecessary repairs, thereby saving thousands of rupees for our customers.”
Sandeep Menon, Founder, Wheels Wisdom
How it works
The auto startup claims to put customers in the driver’s seat by offering the best and most affordable service, whether it is related to brakes, suspension, transmission, clutch, or engine repair.
All you need to do is book a service appointment on the website and confirm your booking by making a payment. Once you are done, wait for the Wheels Wisdom technicians to pick up your vehicle, take it to the closest service centre, offer a diagnosis, and complete the mandatory service requirements before dropping the car back at your doorstep after a QA test.
Wheels Wisdom keeps customers updated about progress by sending emails, perpetuating a trait of transparency.
Sandeep, who graduated in electrical and electronics engineering from Thiruvananthapuram, holds a postgraduate certificate in business management. He has worked with Wipro and Oracle for about five years, executing long-term assignments in the US and Europe.
After relocating to India, his passion for cars and zeal for the automotive sector led him to leave his cushy job as Vice President at Goldman Sachs and start up with Wheels Wisdom.
Started with an initial investment of Rs 50 lakh by the founder, the bootstrapped venture has a total team strength of 20 employees at present.
“Our target audience is 25 to 55-year-old car owners who value quality and integrity, but lack the time and automotive expertise. We are starting with India’s metro cities, and will drive into non-metro cities as well later,” Sandeep says.
On the right road
Wheels Wisdom claims to have over 2,000 unique customers, and “owns the user experience end-to-end”.
“We execute each car service under our own dedicated technical advisor, and do not follow the aggregation business model,” he adds.
The startup does not own any service centre. It acts as a “wholesale” and “technical” customer to third-party multi-brand service centres.
“We don’t accept commissions from service centres, and that ensures we are a customer there, and not a ‘partner’. We’re paid by our customers and not by service centres,” Sandeep says.
Wheels Wisdom currently has 15 preferred multi-brand service centres in Bengaluru, and three each in Hyderabad and Kochi.
The startup has completed over 4,800 car services and repairs so far.
“We started with about 15 vehicles a month in November 2015, and have steadily gained traction to about 125 vehicles a month now. That’s about 8x growth in four years,” Sandeep says.
He adds that they carry out between eight to 10 car services a day. “We receive over 20 enquiries via the website/IVR calls on a daily basis.”
Hand on the wheel, eyes on the future
Wheels Wisdom has raised total funding of Rs 2 crore so far from friends and family. The company’s turnover was Rs 1.1 crore in FY19 as compared to Rs 71 lakh in FY18. It is aiming for Rs 3 crore revenue this fiscal.
According to CarXpert, the car servicing industry is projected to be valued at Rs 33,000 crore in 2020 from Rs 20,000 in 2017.
Wheels Wisdom directly competes with authorised service centres and indirectly with auto startups such as Pitstop, GoMechanic, Cartisan, Doers, Gobumpr, Bro4U, CarZippi, MY TVS etc.
Since inception in 2015, Pitstop has raised two rounds of funding worth $2.9 million from Blume Ventures and Goldbell Group. The company is serving nearly 5,000 orders per month and has achieved a monthly top line of Rs 3 crore. GoMechanic, founded in 2016, had reportedly raised $4-$4.9 million (Rs 30-35 Cr) in a Series A round led by Sequoia Capital this January.
But Wheels Wisdom believes that its differentiator – attention to quality – helps it stand out and may help it win the race.
The startup is now looking to expand its business to cities like Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, and Delhi-NCR. It is also looking for an institutional investor to come on board to turbo-charge growth across the country.
“We plan to expand to Chennai by March 2020, and to Pune, Mumbai, and Gurugram by the end of 2021. Operating in six cities, we expect to service between 700 and 1,000 cars per month by the end of 2021,” the founder says.
As a long-term goal, Wheels Wisdom also wants to be the market leader when it comes to electric cars.
With mass adoption of electric cars around the corner, we aim to “grow into the most technically advanced car service provider in India when it comes to electric cars,'' Sandeep says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)