AUTOGURU SECURES $6 MILLION FROM OUTSURANCE
AND WELCOMES GUD HOLDINGS AS A SHAREHOLDER
Founder and CEO of AutoGuru, Eden Shirley will be speaking at AutoCare 2018
Australia’s leading booking site for car servicing and repairs, AutoGuru.com.au, has secured $6 million in fresh funding from international insurance provider OUTsurance, who owns Youi Insurance in Australia and New Zealand. GUD Holdings has also jumped on board acquiring an interest from exiting seed investors.
Founder and CEO Eden Shirley confirmed that talks between AutoGuru and Youi began early last year.
“We had an instant connection and quickly identified synergies we’d like to explore,” Eden said.
“And GUD’s industry experience has already started to influence positive changes in our business to benefit aftermarket workshops.”
Hugo Schreuder, Group CMO of Youi Insurance, commented: “AutoGuru is a unique and innovative business that solves a real problem for vehicle owners and workshops alike.”
Australian consumers spend $16bn on servicing and repairs with little knowledge of what’s involved and how much things cost and aftermarket workshops are grossly underrepresented with limited technical capabilities to market themselves and transact with consumers online.
“When we started we set out to make booking a car service as easy as booking a hotel or flight,” Eden said.
“But this proved challenging with 30,000-plus model variants and over one million logbook service schedules and common repairs to price. No workshop in their right mind could quote this many jobs upfront!”
To solve this problem, AutoGuru uses factory service and repair time data to calculate quotes in real time, based on individual workshops preferred labour rate and markup on parts.
“This is the magic of our model,” Eden explained.
“Workshops don’t have to manually quote the majority of jobs we post, which saves a huge amount of time and enables customers to book online when it suits them.”
AutoGuru has experienced significant growth over the past three years and was ranked fourth in the 2017 Deloitte Tech Fast 50 rising stars.
“Just a few years ago we had less than 400 workshops and averaged 18,000 visitors per month,” Eden said.
“In January this year, AutoGuru attracted over 150,000 users who quoted over $10 million in services and repairs online.”
So what will AutoGuru do with the new funding?
The company has been successful in attracting significant investment because so many workshops have come together, and now it can use these funds to promote them.
“It’s a huge win for the little guys, who can’t afford to pay for TV and radio advertising themselves, and it proves that strength in numbers can level the playing field for independent workshops,” Eden said.
Plans are already underway to launch media campaigns in South East Queensland.
“We’ve been national from day one, but we’re planning to double down on top performing markets to scale supply and demand region by region,” Eden said.
AutoGuru says it is also very focused on the quality of its workshops, which is why it has recruited a dedicated success team to help members maximise this opportunity, and it uses professional photographers to provide free photoshoots for all Preferred Partner workshops.
“We are just scratching the surface of our potential, and we are confident that investing in training and support for workshops and launching media campaigns will help us accelerate growth,” Eden said.
The investment will also fund technological advancements in machine learning to ‘better match’ consumers with workshops. AutoGuru has captured over 18 million customer quotes through its website since launching and can see trends that indicate ‘the car you drive’ effects the ‘service centre you book’. It makes sense that the owner of a 2014 Touareg is going to be more concerned about quality and trust than the owner of a ‘98 Corolla who is more price conscious.
“Our goal is to present customers with fewer quotes but from workshops they are more likely to book,” Eden said.
“This will reduce competition based on price and enable premium workshops to maintain service rates for owners of higher quality vehicles.
“AutoGuru has also begun to expand into specialist mechanical services such as brakes, clutch, air-conditioning and vehicle inspections, and have plans to roll out windscreens, batteries, tyres and scratch and dent repairs in the future.”
AutoGuru is calling on industry suppliers and product manufacturers across all categories to reach out and start talking partnerships. Consumers these days turn to the web first to research and buy everything, and websites like AutoGuru provide a richer customer experience than traditional directories like the Yellow Pages.
“Our fingers don’t walk, they click, and AutoGuru has quickly become an influential consumer marketing channel for brands and service providers alike,” Eden said.
“An estimated 50,000 service businesses are operating in the Australian Automotive Aftermarket, and our goal is to develop a platform to help them all thrive in the digital age,” Eden said.
What do you think the future holds?
In reality, AutoGuru believes it will be some time before we see electric and autonomous vehicles ruling the roads in Australia. There is a more important trend that could shake things up for small businesses within the next five years.
Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple are in a ‘billion dollar’ race to change the way we search, purchase and book everything. The business world predicts that Voice Assistants like Google Home and Amazons’ Alexa will be in 90 percent of homes and offices by 2020 and they are expected to change the way we do things.
You can already book flights, call an Uber and order a pizza, and this technology suits big corporates and marketplaces that have the scale and can deliver nationally. Car manufacturers and big brands like Target and Officeworks are already jumping on board, and things are moving quickly.
AutoGuru’s mission is to ensure that aftermarket workshops have a strong and united voice far into the digital future and it is committed to leading the way by integrating with Google Home and Alexa voice technologies now.
“We’re excited about the future, and we encourage aftermarket workshops and corporate executives to reach out and have a conversation at AutoCare 2018,” Eden said.
“We must work together if we are going to be successful in the face of growing competition from manufacturers and dealers. They are investing billions in the digital transformation of the automotive sector, and the aftermarket must adapt and collaborate to stay relevant in the world of disruption.”
Eden will be speaking about the role digital intermediaries play in a range of industries at AutoCare 2018 and will be available to chat on stand A18 during the conference. Please drop in to say hello and find out more about AutoGuru’s plans post-funding at the conference if you get the chance.
For more information visit www.AutoGuru.com.au