Building Credibility & Convenience in Used Automobile sector

Sumit Chhazed – CredR

A disastrous experience with a used bike purchase led Sumit Chhazed and his co-founders to create CredR, an entrepreneurial venture with business philosophies based on the cornerstones of TRUST, CONVENIENCE and TRANSPARENCY.

Sumit graduated from IIT Bombay in 2012 with a B.Tech in Chemical Engineering. He has been the core group member of Educell, an inititative by IITians aimed at providing mentoring to JEE aspirants where he headed Business Development and Human Resource Management.

With two successful ventures to his credit earlier, one of which was acquired by a Silicon Valley Company, Sumit and his team are targeting to reach 1000 transactions a day for CredR. In this article, the confident entrepreneur talks passionately about his venture.

What is CredR? What is the issue that the venture is trying to address and what makes you confident that it is a winning proposition.

“CredR is an online marketplace for Used Automobiles. CredR is built on the foundation of making pre owned vehicles buying process as convenient and delightful as a new vehicle purchase. There are innumerable issues and unprecedented aspects that the customer needs to tackle while buying a second hand bike, making the whole experience very stressful. We realized this challenge among consumers and wanted to bring in an easier, convenient and more trustworthy process to mitigate the perils of buying pre-owned vehicles, and hence launched CredR.    

All vehicles on our site are verified and quality checked by the team of Auto Experts and then rated as per our systematic rating algorithm, thus there is no room for any ambiguous pricing. The rating algorithm considers over 80 parameters before being listed on the portal. We also share a detailed inspection report for each bike, on the site allowing the consumer to read through and make an informed decision. We provide end-to-end assistance to our customers starting from selecting a bike to paper transfer assistance to post sale services. Some of the other unique features we offer, include free test ride, online bike reservation and easy loan facility. Our after sales services include free 6 months warranty; free 1 year roadside assistance and easy buy back policy.”

What was the key factor/s that led you to take the plunge?

“The idea was born out of our personal experience. My friend and I were hunting for a used bike after our college days. We thought it would be a smart and economical decision to buy a second hand bike. We explored every means possible to find the bike we needed – local dealers, online listings, friends, family, neighbors, but nothing worked out for long. The whole process was very hectic and troublesome; we kept running from one dealer to another to find a used bike that fits our requirement criteria. Finally we found one, after a lot of searching and seeking.

Unfortunately we faced another set of problems with the vehicle post its purchase. The bike started creating problems every now and then. Every few days, the bike would stop and it became a liability to us. Eventually, the engine also had to be replaced after coughing up another 7000 rupees. Despite spending more than fifty percent of its purchase value on repairs, one fine day, the bike turned redundant and today rests in a garage, unused.

We realized how painstaking the process of buying a used two wheeler is and the need to create a credible platform. That’s when CredR was born, an answer to the problem of used two-wheelers purchase. CredR is an online platform based on the foundation of trust, transparency and convenience.”

Where (if) did you meet your other co-founders / business partners? Please describe each one briefly.

“My co-founders, Nikhil, Nittin and I are from IIT-Bombay and that is where we met and bonded over our love for innovation and enterprise.

Nikhil and I co-founded Enelek Power in 2011. It is an Energy Saving Solutions Company. It addressed the huge challenge of renewable energy in India. During our tenure there, we increased revenues to more than US $300,000 in 3 years. Enelek Power was strategically acquired and merged with a Solar Power Company, setting up 1000 MW by FY’17.

My second venture with Nikhil and Nittin was Coursewave, which is an online resource sharing and learning platform. It was successfully implemented at Stanford and the company was acquired by a Silicon Valley company.”

How did you manage the initial capital?

“We had started with the initial capital of INR 20 lakhs and we had put up our own money. All the partners had contributed.”

What were the first 90 days like?

“It was exceptionally fulfilling. We have created numerous jobs for talented resources. We get an opportunity to work with the best minds and interact with the most sought after names in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Have you managed to raise any funding — angel / seed, etc?

“CredR recently received a funding of $15Million in Series A from Fidelity’s Proprietary Investment Arm. The funding is directed towards accelerating growth and to expand company’s geographic and product presence. Prior to this we had raised an undisclosed sum from Growthstory, the family office of K. Ganesh and his wife Meena Ganesh with a promising Series A investment from Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal of Snapdeal & Amit Agarwal of Amazon.”

What is the revenue stream & profitability?

“Our business is based on a transaction led model, earning depends on each and every transaction that takes place through our portal. In the future, we would be extending our arms to the post sales service which will further extend our revenue streams.

What is your guiding philosophy when it comes to doing business?

“I would advise to take up something that you truly believe in. Solve an issue or treat something that comes across as a pain through your ventures. It’s always advisable to consider oneself as a learner and strive to get better each day. Other advices that follow are:

  • Make an effort to build a good and effective team
  • Look out for some good mentors, especially when you start out
  • Shape things correctly”

Where do you see yourself 3 years from now?

“We started in Mumbai in February last year. We are now in five cities — Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Hyderabad — and soon we will be expanding to over 40 cities. Our initial focus was on getting our processes right. It’s a complex business. We spent our time in understanding the business and behaviour of people. Now that our processes are well set, we are good to go, and with investment also in place, we are targeting to reach 1000 transactions a day. We are optimistic in creating a strong brand image for CredR and ensure more traction from consumers willing to transact online. By year end we are targeting to achieve a GMV of $20 million. We also plan to enter the pre-owned 4-wheeler category with introduction of better technology and aim to eventually capture the overall pre-owned automobile market in India.”