The golden rule of life is the fact that problems never end. They become better. Imagine walking under the sun and and wishing having a car with its soothing air-conditioner directed towards your skin while listening to your favourite song. Yes, buying a car solves the problem of not walking and sweating under the sun in favour of cool air, music and faster commute time, but leads to a host of newer and better problems.
Like, the time lost in waiting to refuel, the time lost in traffic, the time lost in taking the car to the service centre for the most mundane of problems, the time lost in searching for a parking space and other problems depending upon multiple circumstances. Hence, problems never end, they simply change to become better.
The automobile is one of humankind’s most marvellous creations. It is a system of many sub-systems – the cooling system, the engine system, the powertrain and the exhaust system to name a few, each working in sync with each other. Timely upkeep is necessary in order to extend the machine’s lifespan, much like preventive healthcare for human beings. Car owners are short on time and want the best for their machines. The car maintenance market in India, unorganised and fragmented, has seen several upstarts who want to solve the problem of automotive maintenance in efficient ways.
Enter Dr. Wheelz.
Give a brief info about your startup?
DrWheelz started in 2015 with a very small team of 3 and a service van. We are a doorstep car service centre when we say doorstep we cater almost up to 80% of a cars needs at doorstep be simple periodic maintenance or complex engine failure. The remaining 20% could be denting & painting, wheel balancing which can not be done at the doorstep. We typically move the workshop on four wheels with all sophisticated and customised tools which enable our Engineers to complete the task at a remote environment smoothly. Today we are a team of 26 with a strong network of dealers and vendors across the globe for spares and other requirements.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
As a PetroHead I have always been unhappy about my daily use car being serviced or repaired and i have experienced the automobile service industry always being so unorganized. For a user it is always difficult to find the right service centre, be it authorised or a multi brand service centre. Even if they find one they always are unsure about the quality of service as the car service procedure happens behind the walls and is maintained like a black box. To top this all a user will have to part with the car for at least a day or two while the car is at service centre, however, the fact is that it takes hardly 90 minutes for car to get serviced. After all these issues the user gets a hefty bill at the end not even knowing if the spares are being changed legitimately. These issues in the market paved a way for a new business opportunity and I took advantage of it at the right time. Our team gets to the users doorstep at their desired time and complete the work in less than 2 hours, maintaining complete transparency over the course of service or repair by comparing the faulty spare with the new one.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
A national-level car racer who eat, sleep & breath cars since childhood forced to work in corporate companies like Google, Support.com for financially keeping up the expensive passion. Having worked in a corporate environment for almost 6 years straight out of college, I gave up the job against the will of my family and friends to make my passion a full-time business.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are based out of Bangalore, we are also expanding to the other cities soon as we are closing our Series A soon.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
The biggest fear I have as a founder is losing the power to make decisions. As we are scaling up it is but natural to have new investors on board which eventually depletes the power to make a decision as a leader.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
Over the past 4 years there have been many competitors who mushroomed and faded at the same pace, what matters is who sustains all the pressure and endures the journey. As of now, we have 3 others who are sharing the grid with us Carista, Cartisan & Pitstop. We are a complete doorstep service centre when we say doorstep we mean it!! We do everything at doorstep, in-fact we do not have a physical workshop at all unlike the others making us the country’s one and only 100% doorstep car service centre!!
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Honestly speaking it’s not hard at all if you really love what you do and make it a part of your life while keeping life priorities in mind. I have learnt to “switch off” at the right time and go on a drive which always keeps me relaxed. At times I have gone on a never ending drives which has lasted for weeks together!!
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We have raised an initial seed round of 25L and now are looking to raise our Series A.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
Our country has never seen a 100% doorstep service centre so far, when we say that we do not have a workshop users take time to understand our concept. And moreover the authorized dealerships have monopolized the market by infusing the fear of loosing warranty if the car is serviced outside their network which is not the fact. Warranty will still be valid of the car has been serviced with proper OEM spec spares which we follow religiously.
What gets you excited about this company?
every small things that happens in our day to day activity. It excites me when know that once an uneducated mechanic is now able to seamlessly chat in the whats app group after joining us. It excites me when an Engineer is able to afford a bike for himself. It excites me to know that my Engineer is able to provide basic needs to his family which once was a fortune for him. It really excites me to know that the Engineers who work with us are socially uplifted and now are a part of the tech based ecosystem.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My day starts early by 5:30 am with a morning Jog at the park. I reach office by 9:30 and start off with my daily pact of action. My first half of the day is spent on marketing and second half goes on with meetings and operations related issues. I also play a couple of indoor games like TT & Foosball in between which I have recently started practicing. Late evening post-dinner I plan my next day schedule and hit the bed at around 11:30. Along side this twice a week I take a long drive which I can not stay without and also practice my rifle shooting during the weekends.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
I met my co-founder Prasoon Agarwal in my previous organization for which I used to write reviews on new cars. Prasoon comes with a strong startup background, he has previously worked with companies like Indiamart, Redbus, FirstRide and has made successful exit. It took me a year and a half to convince him and make him believe in my concept of doorstep car servicing. After Prasoon joined us the team took a new shape and things started working in the technology front.
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