Entrepreneur Andrew Jervis is bringing the car repair industry into the 21st century with the launch of ClickMechanic, ‘the Uber for mechanics.
Likened to the ‘Uber of the car repair industry’, ClickMechanic was founded in 2012 in a bid to bring the industry into the 21st century.
The website provides a platform for car owners to search for quotes for car repairs and book an appointment either at home or at garages across the UK.
While running a previous car parts aggregator business, entrepreneur Andrew Jervis found there was a problem with many customers not trusting their mechanics.
After further investigation and a chat with his mechanic brother he realised there was just no easy way to book a trusted mechanic.
Andrew decided to study a research masters in Manchester where he devoted himself to understanding these problems better.
After writing an 85,000-word thesis on the space he moved to London to join accelerator Entrepreneur First where he met Felix who had identified the same problems.
The pair decided to team up and develop ClickMechanic. Andrew told BQ: “ClickMechanic is an online marketplace for car repair.
“We’re bringing transparency, trust and convenience to the automotive repair industry through our industry standard quote system.
“I think our core USP is our ability to get an online industry standard quote online in just two minutes and then quickly book in with one of our vetted mechanics.
“A bonus is that most of our mechanics are mobile so they’ll come to people’s homes for no extra charge, saving the customer time and money.”
Andrew and Felix went on to graduate from the popular pre-accelerator in London, Entrepreneur First and recently raised £330,000 from leading investors led by the former CEO of Just Eat.
Since its launch in 2013, the company has gone from strength-to-strength employing 15 members of staff and undertaking millions of pounds worth of repairs each year.
And Andrew has ambitious plans for the company. He added: “We launched in 2013 and in our first 18 months we grew rapidly averaging over 20% month-on-month growth.
“The last couple of years we have been doubling in size and we shall be maintaining this target going forward.
“We are now aiming to aggressively push and grow the business by hiring more staff and executing some really exciting strategies we have lined up.”
First published through our media partner Business Quarter on 03/11/2016 here and ClickMechanic.com is part of the Empact Ventures Growth Studio.
ClickMechanic was first conceived after Andrew Jervis identified a lack of trust in the relationships between mechanics and their customers, with no easy way of booking a car service online.
Using his background in the automotive parts industry, Jervis set his sights on creating an online marketplace where people could book a car mechanic in the easiest and most transparent way.
Through its innovative quoting functionality, ClickMechanic now matches up thousands of customers each month with professional local mechanics. The platform offers an simple booking system with an online diagnostics inspection that has yet to be rivalled in the tech space.
Business Advice caught up with Jervis to find out more about how ClickMechanic became a market leader in car services, his business inspirations, and his hopes for the future.
(1) Who are you and what’s your business?
I am Andrew Jervis, co-founder and CEO of ClickMechanic. We’re bringing trust, transparency and convenience to auto-repairs through our online marketplace.
(2) How long have you been around for?
We were officially founded in 2012, coming out of a McKinsey & Company startup accelerator called Entrepreneur First.
(3) How do you make money?
We take a percentage from every booking we receive as commission.
(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?
Getting a repair with ClickMechanic is so easy and gives instant peace of mind – you’re getting an honest deal and a great mechanic.
We allow customers to get an instant online industry-standard quote in just one minute, using our state of the art quote engine that uses millions of data points – the first of its kind in Europe.
Once receiving a quote, the user can quickly book-in online and have one of our vetted 900 mechanics come and take care of their vehicle.
(5) What was key in terms of getting started?
Prior to starting ClickMechanic I previously had an online automotive parts business, which I sold.
This led me onto undertaking a research masters at the University of Manchester, where I investigated a lot of the issues that existed in the automotive repair space, and looked at a number of models that could help alleviate these.
I then moved down to London, where I met my co-founder and our chief technology officer, and we kicked things off from there.
(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Delivering a real game-changing product that is honestly changing peoples lives when it comes to automotive repairs.
We’ve also built an awesome team, and these things combined together have helped us grow at a very healthy rate.
(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?
There a numerous set-backs when building a company, from having cash flow issues, to seeing particular deals not quite come-off, to huge product deployments getting delayed by months – you just have to keep fighting through them.
The key is to stay focused and work hard to overcome these set-backs.
(8) In five years’ time, I will be…
That’s a tricky question. We have a very clear two-year plan of where we want to take the business, then we’ll review the next three years from there.
(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out?
When starting out you have to have the mindset that you could be working on this business for five to ten years before really turning it into a success.
Successful businesses are not built overnight and require a lot of hard work and determination to turn into a reality.
(10) Who are your business heroes and why?
All those people out there who are grafting hard every day trying to make their dream a reality.
It’s not easy, and anyone who works hard and has the will power to keep going through various set-backs deserves a lot of credit.
Tech City Insider: In a second report for TCi, StartUp Britain explore the work of technology startups in nine more UK cities, as the national enterprise campaign takes stock of its 2015 tour. First published in Tech City Insider on 14/09/2016 here written by Kosta Mavroulakis and Josh Neicho.
This summer’s 28-city UK tour by StartUp Britain provided free advice to thousands of aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs – but it also offered real insight into the technology startup scene in these cities.
In our first TCi report, we reported from seven of these key tech cities. Here we bring you our dispatches from the ground in nine more.
Cardiff is HQ for a digital business whose niche is the ingenious application of technology –Hello and…, set up by ex-barrister Jenny Yeo as the Interflora of baking, dispatching personalised cupcake orders to bakeries around the country. Yeo is now re-launching the company as an online sales platform for every variety of independent food shop.
Hello and… is one of a roster of tech and creative companies supported by Cardiff Start. Its co-founder, Ramp Commerce CEO Neil Cocker, hails Cardiff as Europe’s fastest-growing capital, projected to grow 42%over the next two decades, with low overheads, great quality of life and “buzzing co-working centres” such as Indycube and Welsh ICE.
Tech City UK’’s Tech Nation report picked out South Wales as a tech “force to be reckoned with”. But there are challenges – fewer opportunities to speak to relevant investors than in a larger city, meaning the Ramp team has to spend “huge amounts of time travelling,” says Cocker. Exciting startups in the city include Blurrt, Noddlepod, Nudjed, Schoop and Landmax.pro.
Bristol took our tour temporarily away from the high street for a visit to the brand new Filwood Green business park: 40,000 square foot of office space aimed particularly at green and digital enterprises in a building with a green roof and an array of photovoltaic panels.
People we met there included Justin Ricks of the Knowle West Media Centre, which helps communities engage with digital technologies. Filwood Green is consciously seeking to reproduce the success of collaborative innovation hub Engine Shed next to Bristol’s Temple Meads station, in which sits the SETsquared incubator.
Nick Sturge, Engine Shed and SETsquared centre director, says Bristol’s appeal to tech entrepreneurs lies in the mixture of companies in various fields and third-sector organisations headquartered there and a “really diverse” talent pool. “We’re one of the stickiest cities for graduates coming and staying,” he told us. “We’re the only cool city in the UK with a decreasing average age”.
There’s been plenty of publicity for Bournemouth’s vibrant startup scene – the UK’s fastest-growing digital economy, according to Tech Nation, claiming more than 400 creative and digital businesses in south-east Dorset – that’s one for every 1,000 people.
Notable agencies include Redweb and Thinking Juice, there are developers such asAmuzo, 3 Sided Cube, Base and Nourish, and among initiatives supporting tech areMeetdraw and She Says Bournemouth. Silicon Beach, a two-day conference staged in Bournemouth for the last five years, brings together leading strategic thinkers, digital innovators and brand experts.
Organiser Matt Desmier headed a 21-strong delegation to the equivalent gathering in Santa Monica and there’s a mission to Australia later this year. George Beverley, who is launching an innovation consultancy with Desmier and Giles Vincent that will take over the reins of local jobs website Think Create Do, told us “we have two great universities, a relatively small but ambitious creative community, and good access to London – so the talent pool is transient. This almost forced the collaboration between academia, local government and industry which has been a critical factor in the area’s success.”
2014 StartUp Britain figures found Brighton punched far above its weight for business incorporations, trailing only cities with much larger populations. Some 84% of Brighton tech businesses polled for Tech Nation said they felt part of a cluster, a sense of community that Tech City UK suggests is reinforced by the number of tech conferences held in the area and the wealth of co-working spaces.
Ian Elwick and Martin Bouette, CEO and chief creative officer of one of the latter, The Werks Group, are building a basement suite of editing and sound studios. They have grown to five sites in Brighton & Hove, containing firms across the tech and creative spectrum.
The tech-oriented startups they house include a project to measure colour using mobile phone technology, and Buzz Tech, which has developed a next-generation 3D printer to include assembly after printing.
Sarah James, of design and brand agency 05creative Ltd, based at The Werks, said: “Brighton is a great place to live, and more and more people are finding it’s also an excellent place to run their business”.
Among those we met on our visit were two ex-colleagues from American Express’s European HQ in Brighton selected to join the city’s new Entrepreneurial Spark hatchery – Charlie Newman of collaborative organisational change platform Pinipa, and Ryk Waters of TeamPro, which makes professional-looking online team-sheets for amateur football teams.
Along with an explosion of high-growth companies such as Red Gate Software and Raspberry Pi, 14 $1 billion+ tech businesses and two $10 billion+ ones, and the accolade of “Britain’s most successful city” from The Economist, Cambridge has a strong investment community, including Cambridge Angels and Cambridge Capital Group, and many experienced, highly connected individuals in and around its universities who mentor entrepreneurs.
These include Alan Barrell at Judge Business School’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning,Stewart McTavish at ideaSpace, Tim Minshall, senior lecturer at Cambridge University’sInstitute for Manufacturing, David Gill at St John’s Innovation Centre and Lester-Lloyd Reason at Anglia Ruskin.
Further support for Cambridge tech entrepreneurship comes from the likes of Future Business Centre, Cambridge Network, Cambridge Enterprise, student enterprise societies (CUE, CUTEC, Beyond Profit & VCPEC) and Silicon Valley Comes to Cambridge.
“The Cambridge area makes it very easy to take your idea and start to explore it,” said Steve Hales, founder and MD of Sapien Innovations, which helps startups build up from initial concept to commercialisation. “There’s some great entities around like ideaSpace and great networking groups: if you are part of the university there’s Enterprise Tuesdays, if you’re part of the wider scene there’s Cambridge Pitch & Mix on Thursday mornings”.
Reading is the site of the UK HQs of Oracle, Microsoft, Huawei and more than 54,500 jobs in digital industries – but the environment for disruptive tech startups is relatively undeveloped.Connect TVT’s co-founders Louize Clarke and Adam Clark have set up GROW@GreenParkas a co-working and collaborative space, “building a mini-eco system” and meeting the challenge that the area is so close to London it can be overlooked as a distinct cluster.
Reading startups include Workabode, PollPic, Gooseberry Planet and Around Then. Startups from across the Thames Valley who visited us included Wokingham-registered Enswarm and Windsor-based creative marketing agency Salamandra.
Piers Rudgard-Redsell of Airbyte, a Reading University graduate, has developed trvlRDG app providing public transport data for the city. “The Reading tech sector needs more centralised, “cool” places to work” he told us. “Reading definitely isn’t seen as cool yet, but if London gets any more expensive then with time and the right investment in keeping entrepreneurial grads around, Reading will be just as strong as Oxford”.
Earlier this year, The Scotsman revealed research that found Scotland was not far behind London for tech startup growth since 2009. Edinburgh tech firms are strengthened by incubators such as TechCube andCodeBase; angel syndicates including Archangel, Par Equity,Equity Gap, TRI Cap and Kelvin Capital; Edinburgh University’s success with commercialisation and spin-outs; the EIE annual investor showcase; collaborative business spaces such as The Creative Exchange; accelerator UP; and the Entrepreneurial Spark hatchery.
Jim Duffy, ESpark’s founder and CEO, heralds the £2.5m funding secured by fashion appMallzee and the hatchery’s move to a “truly world-class, purpose-built facility” in RBS’s HQ at Gogarburn next year.
Oliver Littlejohn from CodeBase which incubated billion-dollar startup FanDuel and has 60 companies under its roof, suggests we “keep eyes out for Administrate, RelayMed,TVSquared” for the next great Edinburgh success stories.
In Glasgow this year, RookieOven meet-up opened a co-working space in Fairfield Shipyard Offices, Govan and the city has just hosted the first CodeCraft software craftsmanship conference. Tracey Eker is seeking to transform the online jobs listings sector with the next stage of development of flexible working site Flexiworkforce. On starting up a business in the city, she told us: “It’s the first place to try anything new. It’s not like London or Edinburgh – there’s no talking people down”.
It’s a similar story in Dundee, according to James Buchan of web designers Zudu – “a lot of businesses even in the same sector have offered us advice on strategy”.
In the city we met Louise Hood and Ashley Blake from web design company Delle Digital, who double up as digital educators, and Alistair Neil, whose Scottish product ecommerce siteiluvscotland.co.uk accepts bitcoin.
Important Dundee tech players include accelerator IDEAScotland – a collaboration between two universities, publishers DC Thomson and data centre/cloud hosting provider brightsolid – and local app developers Waracle who have generated their own spin-off, Kumulos.
StartUp Britain toured the UK this summer. TechCityinsider’s own tour, profiling 200 businesses in 21 cities UK-wide, continues.