Spinny is a one-stop pre-owned car buying and selling platform providing deals at best prices, and its easy, reliable services not only inspect and certify used cars, but also helps users avoid hassles of tedious paperwork.
Our team interviewed founder Niraj Singh to know more about Spinny.
1. Tell us about yourself, your background, entrepreneurial journey and inception story of myspinny.com
My entrepreneurial journey began in my final semester at IIT with Locus Education, an online and offline test prep institution for IIT-JEE and AIEEE. This was followed by a venture into the publication sector with the establishment of TechMonkey, the parent company of media portal TopYaps.com with one of the co-founders of Locus Education. Early last year, I moved on from TechMonkey and established Spinny to tackle the pre-owned car market.
The idea for Spinny came about when we noticed that a lot of our friends, all of whom were first time car buyers, were buying used cars. All of them had doubts about whether the price being offered to them for a car was representative of the car’s actual value and condition. Even though used cars provided value for money, the actual experience of buying the cars did not instill much confidence. This presented an opportunity for us.
We found that the consumer had to face innumerable problems when engaging with this segment. These problems extended from discovery to purchase to post-purchase. Consumers looking to sell their cars experienced trouble in appropriately pricing their cars and also finding a genuine buyer for the car while consumers buying used cars faced issues with gauging the condition of the car before making their investment.
We developed Spinny to focus on providing solutions to these pertinent issues by developing a seamless and convenient customer experience that did not sacrifice the value for money proposition that people look for in the pre-owned car market.
2. What is myspinny.com all about? Tell us in detail about the services offered?
Spinny is an end to end platform that provides a seamless used-car transaction experience through technologically driven services for both our buyers and sellers. For customers selling their cars, we offer a free certification of the car and if it fits our criteria, the car is listed for free as well. The certification works in conjunction with our internally developed Price Engine, which takes into account factors such as model history, present market demand and supply and depreciation of the car to provide a true market value of the car. Throughout this process, we ensure that the transaction takes place in a secure manner. We also verify the documents of the buyer in the same manner as we verify the details of the car and the seller, and we also make sure that payment for the car is processed as soon as possible.
For customers looking to buy, we provide a detailed inspection report that highlights every detail of the car, giving a very good representation of the car’s actual condition. To help represent the intricate details of our inspection report better, we have introduced a Rating Engine. The Rating Engine provides a rating based on the price of the car and its condition to make the discovery of great cars easier for our customers. We’ve also made experiencing the cars extremely convenient, with every car available for an obligatory free test drive. At every step, we provide our customers with all the assistance they require when buying a car. This includes helping our customers with the financing for their car as well as the proper transfer of ownership of the car to the new owner.
We are continuously working to give our customers complete peace of mind when they buy or sell their cars. To this end, we also provide a 1 Year comprehensive warranty on every car that can be availed by the buyer at the time of purchase. This warranty covers the repair of critical components if needed. We also take great care to provide all our customers with any and all information they require. We ensure that there is complete transparency at every step, from the pricing of the car to the condition of the car.
3. What is your competition in the market? What is it that sets you apart from your competition?
The natural competition for a company working in the pre-owned car market have to be the established players in the market which includes used car vertical and horizontal platforms. However, we are not directly competing with these platforms as the structure, approach and purpose of our business model is entirely different from these platforms.
Our platform is focused on resolving the deeper issues pertaining to trust and transparency that have so far not been addressed or worked around. We are looking to bring a greater level of standardization in the pre-owned car market that will ensure that factors like pricing and inspection are not arbitrary in nature and are based on factual data and set procedures. This standardization is being achieved through our Price and Rating Engines.
We have positioned Spinny as a transactional platform where buyers and sellers directly interact with each other to sell and purchase a car. With the use of our standardized services and processes, we are working to improve the perception of people towards pre-owned cars and the pre-owned car market in general.
4. What is the business model of Spinny? Can you briefly summarize the growth achieved in both volume and value from the day 1 till now?
We’ve developed Spinny’s business model from the ground up to provide a streamlined experience for all three stakeholders in the pre-owned car market: Buyers, Sellers and Dealers. I’ve already talked about how we are helping the buyers and sellers in their transaction. Pre-owned car dealers have vast experience in the functioning and trends of the pre-owned car market. Through our preferred Dealer network, we are engaging with dealers to leverage their experience and at the same time, to deploy capital for the acquisition of inventory while also securely holding this inventory for future sale. Our partnership with pre-owned car dealers also provides sellers with the option of quickly selling their car, if required.
In terms of revenue, we charge a service fee of 4% of the total transaction, i.e 2% from the buyer and 2% from the seller. Our service fee includes all the services mentioned so there are no additional or hidden charges. Our other avenues for revenue include add-on services such as pre-owned car loan, extended warranty and insurance.
We have achieved a steady growth throughout our initial year of operation. In the first few months we were fulfilling 10-20 orders a month. A year later, we have expanded that volume to 150 orders a month with an estimated monthly sales value of 5 crores. This expansion is still continuing and as we expand our service areas and services, this value will continue to grow steadily.
5. How has been your beginner’s journey? What were the challenges faced in setting up and scaling up your enterprise? Any hurdle that you faced or still facing?
One of the first challenges we faced was in our inspection process. Our qualified inspectors each had a different way of conducting their inspections. To ensure that their inspections translated into a standard inspection report, and by extension of a standard certification, we developed an inspection app. The challenge was to make the app intuitive to use for our inspectors. This meant incorporating their combined experience with the technology. Through training, we were able to not only incorporate their experience but also optimize our app to flesh out every detail of an inspected car. Once we synced the inspection process with the app, we were able to increase the daily inspections and reduce the listing time.
In terms of scaling up our business, we are continually optimizing our operations to achieve greater efficiency in fulfilling the requests of our customers. One key challenge is handling the variety of requests that come in from our customers. No two needs are ever the same and incorporating the right kind of responses that satisfactorily fulfill these requests is a continuous process.
6. Can you tell us about your other founders/core team, their background and rich experience?
Along with me, Spinny has been founded with the vision of 3 other co-founders. Mohit Gupta is an alumnus of IMT-Ghaziabad while Ganesh Pawar is an alumnus of IIM-Ahmedabad. Both Mohit and Ganesh have experience from working in Flipkart, with Mohit serving as Associate Director and Ganesh working as Senior Manager of Business Development. Currently Mohit is heading the sales and operations team in our Delhi-NCR branch while Ganesh does the same in our Bangalore branch. Ramanshu Mahaur is an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and has prior experience in Adobe. He is serving as Spinny’s Chief Technical Officer and handles all technical developments at Spinny.
At Spinny, we have more than 80 people from diverse backgrounds working towards the common goal of delivering the highest levels of satisfaction to our customers. Leading these people, we have 10 core people who have experience from many different industries and are applying their talents to extract the best from our talented team. Our core team members are alumni of reputed institutions such as IIT-Delhi, IIMs, NSIT, Indian School of Business, NITs, among others while we have attracted talented people from other places as well.
7. How you all are funded? Any early stage money/seed stage experience that you would like to share with us?
We have presently gone through two rounds of funding from undisclosed investors in the last year. Our angel investment round took place in May 2015. Once we had our operations functioning efficiently and we had established our Bangalore office, we went for Pre-Series A funding in November 2015.
8. Any other areas or initiatives that you plan to venture in future?
At present, we are focusing on improving the operational efficiency of our Delhi-NCR and Bangalore offices. The learnings from these two varied markets will be used as the foundation for our expansion into other Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. The expansion is planned for late 2016 to early 2017. The pre-owned car market differs from region to region and will require region-specific approaches to effectively serve the consumers’ needs.
9. What will Spinny look like 5 years from now? All perspectives – people, business, revenues, team, size or anything you foresee for the venture.
5 years from now, we envision Spinny as not just a household name synonymous with trust and transparency, but also a driver of innovation in the pre-owned car industry. We are looking to claim market leadership by commanding a 5% market share. Our positioning in the market will allow us to penetrate a wider consumer base and even bring a traditional, offline customer to buy or sell their car through our online medium.
We wish the Spinny team all the very best in their future assignments!