In addition to Shell Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Shell, is chairman Sir Trevor Chinn (who previously chaired the boards of AA, Kwik Fit and RAC), Active Partners and Venrex Investment Management.
The startup was launched in 2011 by former investment bankers Al Preston and Ian Griffiths. It claims to be the biggest online marketplace in the UK for matching car owners with repair garages. The company – which has offices in Newcastle upon Tyne, London and Kiev, specifically operates a local garage and mechanic online comparison service, that allows drivers to post jobs and receive quotes from local garages and mechanics.
The platform currently has 11,500 garages registered to the site, and claims that it has processed 1 million repair requests from UK drivers, and receives 60,000 new job requests from drivers every month. This has allegedly seen single site garages obtain around 600 customers per year on average through WhoCanFixMyCar, with top regional garage groups securing 3000-4000 bookings per year.
Shell’s investment in Shell Ventures follows the development of the Shell Helix Service Specialist Network – a recently launched scheme which allows independent workshops on the official WhoCanFixMyCar website. This as a result, marks an overall strategic investment for Shell.
Armed with the recent cash injection, Al Preston, co- founder of WhoCanFixMyCar sais that he planned to keep on scaling the startup’s activities and consolidate its position in the UK. “We are also focusing on new products and solutions that will further benefit our garage network and provide car owners with a better, richer experience when it comes to car maintenance and repairs,” he stated.
WhoCanFixMyCar differs from similar sized competitor like ClickMechanic, by being a two sided marketplace, and letting the user request quotes and compare reviews, with much more emphasis on lead generation from the garage’s point of view.