The fear of being deserted in the middle of nowhere after a vehicle breakdown is the worst for car and bike owners. Reliable roadside assistance can help, but the vehicle service or repair segment is still highly unorganised in our country.
According to Acumen Research and Consulting, the global market size of roadside assistance is expected to reach $29 billion by 2026 and is growing at a CAGR of 3.8 percent.
Tapping the opportunity are a few roadside assistance startups that promise to arrive within 20-30 minutes and provide 24×7 vehicle breakdown assistance.
YourStory lists four roadside assistance startups to look out for while you are planning your next long drive.
Founded in December 2018 by Vimal Singh, ReadyAssist is a 24×7 on-demand emergency vehicle breakdown app that offers general repair service for both bikes and cars through its fleet of mechanics and tow trucks.
The startup serves business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) segments.
Recently, it started offering roadside assistance service to electric vehicles in Bengaluru. The startup also offers free vehicle emergency assistance to doctors and frontline workers.
The Bengaluru-based startup is present in eight cities, with Bengaluru having its largest customer base, followed by Hyderabad. It has also expanded to other non-metros in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh like Shivamogga, Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad, Manipal, and Vijayawada.
Vimal says, “COVID and the lockdown were a shocker. Like every business, we also saw an impact on our business by volume and revenue. However, it helped us to realign our business strategies and divert our investments into real impact-making verticals.
“The good thing is we are seeing an exponential surge in demand from both B2B and B2C segments, much more than pre-COVID times. We are likely to record a 10x growth by this fiscal end irrespective of the impact due to COVID. We would also be hiring around 5,000 mechanics in the next five to six months as part of our expansion plans.”
Launched in August 2015 by IIT-Kanpur graduate Mihir Mohan, Pitstop is India’s premier car service, repair, and maintenance provider. The startup has a wide network of over 300 garages, and 80+ vans in nine cities including Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad, Noida, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, and Faridabad. Pitstop also has an app to provide car repair and services at the customers’ doorstep.
With its doorstep service vans, Bluetooth-enabled car health monitoring technology, and trained mechanics, Pitstop said it was disrupting the $6 billion car service and repair industry in India with its omnichannel strategy to make car care a convenient and transparent process.
Amidst the COVID crisis, Pitstop said it had been delivering a zero-contact doorstep service to users – from general service and disinfection to deep sanitisation and roadside assistance.
“We have seen an upsurge in demand for roadside assistance services like jump start and battery checkup, with users not having used their vehicles for months. Throughout the lockdown, we worked closely in tandem with government authorities and the police to help all essential service provides, frontline workers, and health officials as they go about serving us all,” Mihir says.
AUTO i CARE
Founded by Sagar Joshi, AUTO i CARE provides roadside assistance for common issues like tyre replacement, jump-start, low fuel, unlocking the vehicle, and other major repairs along with towing services to a local garage.
When requested for support, the app will provide real-time tracking of the inbound support vehicle – similar to popular ride-hailing apps – with an estimated time of arrival, automated SMS status updates, and tow driver contact information.
The startup provides services at a reasonable cost, within a time frame of 20 to 30 minutes.
Conceptualised in 2015, it took Sagar three years for R&D and collaborations to launch AUTO i CARE in 2018. The bootstrapped startup was initially launched with tie-ups with 18,000 garages and mechanics across national and state highways. Today, it has a presence in 998 cities across India and covers nearly 2,28,000 kms of national and state highways and rural roads.
Sagar shares, “Around 48,000 garages are registered on The AUTO i CARE app to provide assistance at short notice. During this lockdown, team AUTO i CARE has successfully repaired over 8,000 vehicles across the country, which includes essential services, private vehicles, and heavy vehicles.”
He says, some of the latest features in the app include information about the nearest petrol pump, nearest charging station for electric vehicles, and the nearest pay-and-park facility.
GoMechanic is a branded network of car service workshops with a presence in 12 cities across India. Users can book services through its website, app, or via a central customer care number.
It was founded in 2016 by IIM-Ahmedabad graduates Kushal Karwa and Amit Bhasin to offer a seamless car service experience at the vehicle owners’ convenience.
Amidst the nationwide lockdown, the Gurugram-based automotive service startup started an initiative #OpenForHeroes on March 25, 2020, to support emergency and essential vehicles such as ambulances, police vehicles, etc., across top metro cities.
In an earlier conversation with YourStory, Kushal said: “Emergency and essential services cannot afford to stop even more so when India is under lockdown. Ensuring they get access to the best service and their vehicles keep running is the need of the hour, and we felt it is our duty to offer the same. At the same time, we wanted to show our appreciation for these real-life heroes in whatever way possible.”
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