What would you do if your car stopped in the middle of nowhere? Would you find a mechanic or call a local service station, never knowing who will come and whether they are trustworthy? Seeing an opportunity in this dilemma that most motorists at one time or another face, Nandha Kumar, Karthik Venkateswaran and Sundar Natesan have created an app, called GoBumpr, that helps vehicle owners find, book and pay for such automobile services.
The trio claim that the help provided is sourced from trusted and quality service stations located in the area in which they find themselves stuck. The idea came about when Karthik’s car had a puncture when he was returning from office one night and the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) on-road assistance was not able to help despite charging him Rs 700. “I had to locate a mechanic which took me nearly an hour. That’s when I thought of this app that would assist people at times of breakdowns and tyre punctures,” he says.
Nandha Kumar compared the rates that various service centres charged. “We realised that the OEM authorised rates varied from centre to centre,” says Karthik, who along with Nandha Kumar studied at Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Shillong.
During the ideation stage Sundar Natesan joined the team. Launched on Oct 24, 2015 for android users in Play Store, the trio has over 1200 car and bike owners registered. They have over 60 car service centres, over 130 two-wheeler centres and over 110 exclusive tyre puncture shops currently rendering service via the platform.
Users can seamlessly book a service in three steps and get real-time status of their booking from the service mechanic. Sundar explains that if there is a non-standard repair job to be done, GoBumpr fetches insta-quotes from quality service stations, based on the customer’s text, image and/or audio description of the problem through its real-time chat platform.
Vehicle owners also get automated service reminders and personalised offers. “This is an ideal technology platform for automobile service centres and local neighbourhood garages/mechanics too as it can market and manage their services online,” he points out. The recent floods had GoBumpr launch a special helpline number to attend to flood-affected vehicles.
The app can be very useful for women drivers in particular. “They can use GoBumpr to find a known mechanic close by, who’ll come to their location within 15 minutes. If it’s a regular servicing they need done, they needn’t visit a service centre at all; they can simply book through the app and we send a reliable mechanic to pick up the vehicle, service it and deliver it back. They can also pay through the app,” says Sundar, enumerating its advantages.