Following a partnership with leasing company Eurolease to offer a new to the market car-as-a-service product, earlier this year, now car maintenance startup Avtoikonom is expanding also geographically. The first stop for the company is Varna where it launched operations on October 20.
Since last weekend drivers of Varna can use the core service of Avtoikonom – contact a professional driver who’d pick up, serve, and return their vehicle. Users can purchase the service via the app, but also via phone call. Carwash, servicing, changing the tires, technical exam, changing the oil, refilling the air conditioner are among the services a user could purchase through the application.
In an earlier conversation, Todor Gigilev, one of the co-founders, told us that the expansion to new cities is through a franchise model. Avtoikonom in Varna will be led by Svetlana Andreeva and is already growing a network of partners.
Saving time for car owners
This is the first city after Sofia, where the three years old software company is expanding. Avtoikonom was founded in 2016 by Emil Stavrev and Todor Gigilev with the idea to improve and simplify the way people and businesses maintain and service their vehicles. The main product of the company is a mobile app that connects a car owner to a professional driver who would pick up the car, service it and return it to the owner. The company doesn’t offer breakdown assistance services but rather regular maintenance of cars.
After several discussions about what’s their role as a tech company – to offer services to users or to offer a technology product to businesses, Gigilev and Stavrev decided to launch a b2c mobile app. The initial idea – the car owner can access a variety of services provided by different companies and to purchase them, then an auto butler picks up the car and returns it after service. Within the first year, they started adding different components, so that Avtoikonom turned into a whole platform – with an app for car owners, an app for butlers, and a CRM system. The platform of Avtoikonom democratizes in a way as the maintenance and services on the market – anyone can offer their services.
“This creates competition and can naturally increase the quality of the services on the market. There’s also a two-way rating system,” explains Stavrev. In the next phase, Avtoikonom aims to offer also digital payments, streaming service, which would allow drivers to directly call their insurance companies in case of an accident.
Not really scalable
Among the clients of Avtoikonom are currently private users, but also small companies with a fleet of up to five vehicles. So far the app has been downloaded 6k times and 3.5k services have been purchased through the platform. Many of the users use the platform to store and manage all the documentation of their vehicle digitally, which is a free service. Avtoikonom charges a fee for pickups (around €15), everything else is paid separately to the respective servicing company. They also offer a subscription model.
Serving the end customer, and employing butlers to do so, however, is not quite a scalable model. This service, in 2018 generated around €70K of revenues, shows the commercial register. And Avtoikonom is a technology company that should be easily capable of scaling the product and bring it on the international market, where a concept called car-as-a-service or car on subscription is an emerging trend. So Avtoikonom started looking around for different models and one of them is offering the platform to corporate clients who’d like to launch a car-as-a-service model.
Their first collaboration is with the leasing company Eurolease, which started offering a car-as-a-service model under the brand Simpl in September. In this scenario, Avtoikonom charges the client a subscription fee based on the number of Simpl’s users. Currently, the startup is also in negotiations with other large car companies in Europe.
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