[The Turning Point] How the inability to source quality auto components led to launch of car parts startup SparesHub
An MBA may be a stepping stone to further one’s career for many, but for Tapas Gupta it also translated into finding a co-founder for his Pune-based automobile parts ecommerce platform SparesHub.
After completing management courses from Nirma University, Ahmedabad, in 2010, Tapas and Arijit Chakraborty continued their corporate journeys. Tapas worked with companies like Mercedes-Benz and CRISIL, while Arijit gained experience at Tata Motors and Dell International.
While he was at CRISIL, Tapan recalls a time when his family members were struggling to find genuine and quality spare parts for their car.
“Garages and car workshops had limited sources of buying car parts and the car owner faced delays and paid high prices,” he says. He adds that this was the time when ecommerce players like Flipkart and Snapdeal were becoming popular, but none of them sold car parts online.
Tapas started toying with the idea of starting an ecommerce website only for car parts, which would deliver pan-India. He studied the market size and scope in India, and was convinced that this was a large opportunity to tap using ecommerce.
He launched SparesHub in 2013, and got his first customer within four days of launching the website. He soon connected with his batchmate and friend, Arijit, and given their shared interest in the automobile industry, Arijit joined the company as a co-founder.
Going the B2B way
It began by taking the B2C route, but Spareshub pivoted to B2B in 2015 because car workshops started routinely buying car parts from the company. The startup now caters only to B2B customers and promises same-day delivery of genuine spare parts on competitive pricing.
“SparesHub is solving the problem of supply chain inefficiency in the auto industry using technology. We provide car parts to car service centres at affordable prices and offer delivery within three hours of placing orders,” Tapas says.
SparesHub competes with traditional retails stores and other startups that sell car parts to workshops, but the founders claim that the competitive pricing, tech-first approach, and service differentiate it from the others.
“The car maintenance industry in India has multiple problems, including unavailability of parts and over-expensive parts, non-standard prices of services, and lack of a seamless digital customer experience. Car owners are regularly cheated in either the price of car repairs or the quality of repairs. SparesHub is working to remove these inefficiencies by using technology-focused solutions,” Tapas says.
SparesHub provides genuine car parts to workshops at 20 percent lower prices than competing retail stores because it buys these parts directly from manufacturers. As of now, it has a registered clientele of about 450 B2B customers across Pune, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.
Tapping auto expertise
In 2019, the startup launched its private label of car parts, Frohlich Parts, with which the company plans to leverage its existing expertise in automobile parts sourcing and share its proprietary parts catalogue to help new entrepreneurs and businessmen setup SparesHub Car Parts Stores using the franchise model.
The startup has 67 team members, a current annual revenue run rate of Rs 8 crore, and is cash-flow positive.
The founders started with a seed capital of Rs 17 lakh from their savings and family support.
SparesHub has raised a total of Rs 10 crore from Indian Angel Network, Hyderabad Angels, Chennai Angels, and other HNIs across two rounds of investment in 2015 and 2019.
“SparesHub is working to build the next level of customer experience for car owners using a digital-first approach, leveraging data, and constantly raising the bar of its solutions,” Tapas says.