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Exclusive: TVS Group Acquires CarCrew To Expand After-Sales Service Network

Exclusive: TVS Group Acquires CarCrew To Expand After-Sales Service Network

CarCrew offers aftermarket sales and services for automobiles in 20 Indian cities

To date, the startup has raised $3 Mn in funding and counts TVS among its backers

CarCrew will continue to run independently, as TVS invests further to help it expand

Chennai-headquartered conglomerate TVS Group’s automobile solutions division has acquired Mumbai-based automobile after-sales services startup CarCrew for an undisclosed amount. People familiar with the development told Inc42 that the deal would help TVS expand its footprint across India.

CarCrew was founded by Vikul Goyal and Vikram Sharma in 2016. With a presence in 20 cities and more than 2,000 workshops in India, the startup offers a technology platform for aftermarket sales and services of automobiles. It is engaged in the business of sale of automobile spare parts, accessories, repair and maintenance services. Its range of services includes car cleaning and detailing to regular maintenance, from running repairs to breakdown services, as well as replacements for genuine spare parts and accessories.

TVS Automobile Solutions had invested $500K in the company in 2016 and later the startup had secured Pre Series A round to the tune of $2 Mn.

Sources told us that TVS is looking to expand its presence across India and CarCrew’s presence in 20 cities would support its plans. TVS will be investing further in the startup over the time for business growth, the sources added.

Talking to Inc42, Vikul Goyal, CEO, CarCrew declined to comment on the acquisition. An email query sent to TVS Automobile solutions team didn’t elicit any response till the time of publication.

While India’s auto industry has been grappling with tough times in terms of slowdown in sales, the automotive after-service market was expected to reach $10.4 Bn (INR 75 K Cr) by 2020. The cost of automobile parts contributes 70-80% of the repair cost and parts sourcing is one of the biggest challenges for workshops in India. CarCrew solved this problem with its supply-side intervention creating a B2B marketplace for spare parts.

It is to be noted that large publicly listed spare parts businesses in the US like Genuine Parts Company (GPC), LKQ, O’Reilly Auto Parts are large parts wholesalers, with a market cap above $10 Bn. So the segment offers big potential upside for the player which cracks the formula.

Through trial and error in the industry, we have seen that the aggregation/franchise model doesn’t work. It is mostly a cash burn business model, where startups like Carnation have tried to make inroads.

In comparison, a full-stack service model works well due to the economies of scale and improved profitability potential. Notably, TVS Automobile Solutions is one of the only successful companies solving the problem at a large scale in India. CarCrew differentiated itself from other startups by focusing on the supply chain, thereby creating a B2B marketplace, solving the garage owners biggest problem of sourcing genuine spare parts.

The partnership is expected to help generate synergies between CarCrew parts supply and technology expertise and TVS full-stack service model including infrastructure, distribution etc to create a pan-India scale.

The deal with TVS will help enhance CarCrew’s direct-to-garage (D2G) technology by integrating with its robust supply chain including logistics, the source said.

With an employee count of over 90, CarCrew reported a revenue of INR 8.17 Cr in FY19. The company filings showed that CarCrew spent INR 12.34 Cr, leading to a loss of INR 4.16 Cr. In February 2018, CarCrew acquired Delhi-based ClickGarage in a stock-and-cash deal to foray into doorstep services.

Indian auto tech servicing startups are bringing distinct business models to introduce new-age features like app-based tracking, live updates, personalised communication, and vehicle photos/videos are adding value to customer experience and creating a huge market opportunity in itself. The startups competing against CarCrew in this category include Bumper, Pitstop, GoMechanic among others.