This start-up wants to change the way second hand cars are sold in India!

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The used car market is a booming business in India. A sluggish economy has only propelled the growth of the second hand car market that had recorded a sale of 3 million units in FY14.

Market estimates that organized segment of used cars comprises of a meager 15% to 20% of the overall used car market. And because the market is largely disorganized, buying a used car becomes a tricky affair as well. However, there is a new entrant that wants to change the dynamics of the market. Truebil, a Mumbai based start-up which was founded by five ex Housing.com employees along with former employees of Fab.com and Rio Tinto in 2014, focuses on providing one-stop solutions, for used car buyers. The company recently raised $500,000 funding from Kae Capital and angel investor Anupam Mittal.

“It all started when I was planning to buy my first car, a second hand car. I was working with Housing.com and it took me a month to shortlist a car. What I used to do is that I would get links from the existing platforms like CarDekho, OLX and others and I would hire a mechanic every weekend and take him for inspection of the car and drive around the city,” said Shubh Bansal, co-founder and chief of marketing and growth, Truebil.

He added, “In the end, when I was about to buy the car, the negotiation part was a big challenge, as there was no existing price-marking mechanism, which would benchmark the price of the car. This made me thinking that when technology has advanced so much and everyone has access to technology then why anyone hasn’t done anything about it. So, we did our brainstorming and realized that there is a huge potential in this segment.”

The former Housing.com employees noted that on their platform, a seller cannot directly upload pictures of his vehicle. Instead, the seller will first have to take an appointment with one of the in-house auto inspectors and only when the auto inspection thoroughly inspects the car and is satisfied with the condition of the car, can the seller list his car. “The inspector is required to click several pictures of the car which includes those of the scratches and dents and then we post it on the platform. This gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of curating and verifying the content that is being uploaded,” Bansal noted.

He explained that the company does not list cars that have been involved in accidents or that have had a load of over 1 lakh kilometers or more on it. So how does the company plan to break the clutter in the market.

“Currently, we do not charge anything for our verification services but we are planning to charge a minimal fee for the after sale services such as paperwork among others. The quantum of the fees will be decided basis the nature of the work involved,” he averred.

So why isn’t the company charging anything? Bansal elucidated that at the moment, they just want to popularize the model among the consumers and do not want to charge for a service that customers are not accustomed to pay for. “Once they do, we can start generating revenues,” he said.

The company has sold over 150 cars, which is over 3 crore of GMV. We have been recording 90,000 per month unique visitors, of which 45% are returning users. The company also plans to use the funds raised for upgradation of technology, talent sourcing and building up a robust platform, followed by expansion in other markets.

“We are present in Mumbai but are looking at two more cities, which we have zeroed in on at present,” Bansal noted.

While Truebil certainly seems to streamline the processes involved in buying a used car, what remains to be seen is whether company successfully carves out a niche like its former employer Housing.com or does it end up being just another player in the space.
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