South African startup My Car Guide has launched an online platform that allows car parts and accessories manufacturers and wholesalers to list their products to be purchased by consumers and small business owners.
Launched in September 2020, the Johannesburg-based My Car Guide aims to help cut out middlemen, therefore reducing costs and saving time, and is split into B2C and B2B sections.
“We also aim to become a full digital service value chain where we provide digital repair guides, location-based services, online finance, road assistance services, insurance and a social platform for the car community to share their experiences,” founder Innocent Matlala told Disrupt Africa.
Matlala said he launched My Car Guide, which is available on web and mobile app, because he saw that small business owners found it difficult to access manufacturers and wholesalers, making it difficult for them to start or grow their auto businesses.
“Consumers on the other hand are always comparing prices; they can’t find certain products because they have been discontinued by retail shops; they can’t afford to fix their cars so they look for finance,” he said.
“My Car Guide will provide a platform to solve all these problems where consumers and small business owners meet manufacturers and wholesalers.”
Matlala said he is self-funded at the moment, and that lack of investment is the biggest obstacle in taking his business to the next level. Nonetheless, he believes My Car Guide is the only automotive digital marketplace in South Africa, and says it has so far had about 500 app downloads and a similar number of product enquiries.
“We also managed to land one wholesaler partnership, and we are in talks with more,” said Matlala.
“We plan to expand into trucks, motorbikes and mining machinery. We also plan to work with service workshops, mobile car washes, and online financing to enable consumers to book services online or book a carwash or apply for finance in just a few minutes.”
Pre-revenue for now, My Car Guide plans to add a markup percentage of around 15-20 per cent on product prices based on the wholesaler’s competition. Matlala said he also plans to introduce subscriptions, in-app purchases and in-app advertising when the business gains more traction.