Niraj Singh, CEO, Spinny

Cars are not just a dream or excitement anymore; people have got a lifelong lesson that they must have a personal source of mobility to attend any on-demand need. Currently, more than 70% of used cars are being bought by Indians under the age of 40. Only 4% of people are satisfied with their experience of buying a used car. Working towards solving the problem of trust, transparency, and simplicity in this process. “Our clear motive is that the buyer should be able to purchase the car with the same confidence as he or she does in the case of a new car. Being a full-stack retail platform that owns the complete process from car inventory to retail experience, we are more prepared to cater to the needs of this new normal, keeping all the safety measures in check. The customers appreciate this forward-thinking to buy a car,” says Niraj Singh, CEO, Spinny.

Founded in 2015, Spinny was born out of Niraj’s desire to deal with the core area that directly addresses the consumers’ pain points, i.e., Car Ownership for Young Indians. “I noticed the absence of a platform that offered a trustworthy and premium experience to people purchasing second-hand cars, even though they were spending a significant amount of money. I was determined to solve this problem by addressing the distrust and making the process simple and straightforward for the customer,” quips Niraj.

Auction platforms and classifieds focus on the availability and the number of cars. In a franchise model, it’s difficult to maintain strict control over quality. And, for manufacturers, focus on new cars has to be their priority. With a full-stack retail platform for used vehicles, Spinny can ensure top quality cars and curate an end-to-end customer experience. This provides the agility to keep evolving the process, based on consumer and market expectations.

Building a Customer-first Car Purchasing Experience

An IIT alumnus, Niraj always had the acumen for entrepreneurship and engineering with the finest brains harnessed as an objective approach to problem-solving. “I, with my batch mates, started off the first business in 3rd year – online Physics classes to students preparing for competitive exams. The clear intent to solve a problem leads to the means to a solution. That’s still our approach and how Spinny was conceived. 96% of used car buyers are not satisfied with their experience,” recalls Niraj.

With the logo inspired by the road-sign of ‘S-curve ahead’, the name Spinny encapsulates the sentiment of the driving in that tricky road. Still, in the right car, it’s the most exciting. “It has a facet for car enthusiasts, the kids in us where one is spinning and sliding the car. We were clear to cater to young Indians, and it had that right ring,” adds Niraj.

Raising fresh capital for Rs. 315 crores from Nandan Nilekani’s Fundamentum Partnership in March 2020, Spinny had started-off with initial funding from Blume Ventures, Smile Ventures, Accel, SAIF Partners, and Alteria Capital, totalling close to Rs. 103 Crores. “We are targeting corporate-level profitability by the end of next year. However, we continue to raise more funds to diversify into ‘new segments’ related to solving customer problems, evident in why the brand has nowhere the word ‘car’ mentioned in it”, adds Niraj.

Facilitating an environment where every employee is inspired to do their best work. “We maintain a flat hierarchy, where each member has the complete authority to express views or discomfort if it’s affecting work or customer experience. At heart, we are a few car nuts, and the cars we would drive are the only cars we sell,” says Niraj.

Adapting to the ‘New Normal’

During the COVID19 Outbreak, Spinny was the first to adapt to an utterly contactless car buying and selling experience with their initiative ‘#WithExtraCare, facilitating home test drives and home delivery. “Also, we have come up with a new industry-first marketing pricing model, where the company sells each pre-owned car at a price quoted on the website, and there are no hidden charges or negotiations. There is no salesman margin or a dealer commission, the organisation owns the inventory, and it passes on the cost-benefit to the customer without compromising on the quality of the cars. It came with a risk of customer acceptance, but we are seeing customers recognising the effort. This is a very unique feature that no other competitor is offering,” says Niraj.

Young India is gearing up against the odds to fuel the economy. During these uncertain times, owning a car is considered as the safest way of personal mobility. Also, the liquidity crunch is shifting the demand towards pre-owned cars. Spinny is working through this opportunity. Being a full-stack retail platform, they are taking it as their responsibility to set industry standards in zero contact processes with extra care. The customers recognise it, and the company has seen a sharp increase in enquiries for Home Test Drives.

“Expansions to new cities have been pushed to a lower priority to focus on going deeper and perfecting the initiatives that are required to deliver a safe experience,” says Niraj.

The overall units’ demand has bounced back to more or less similar to the pre-COVID days. Despite the lockdown, we managed to sell over 2700+ cars since the 3rd week of May’20, 50% of which are from Banglore followed by Delhi NCR (35%) and Hyderabad. We’ve observed a 19% increase in demand since May for cars in the Rs. 3 lakh – Rs. 5 lakh price range that contributes to about 50% of the overall demand. Interestingly, cars in Rs. 5 lakh – Rs. 7 lakh range is now contributing 28% of the overall demand – an increase of 30% since May.

With the safety of the customers as well as employees as the top priority, Spinny is using focusing on home test drives and home deliveries. The pandemic is going to change consumer behaviour for the better. Spinny is going to keep the operations and execution lean, i.e., to cater to any new developments that are desired from the market.

The sole effort would be to keep raising standards in safety, hygiene and contactless buying experiences while offering the expected ‘Spinny delight’ to our customers. “As the situation of the county returns to normal, we would evaluate venturing to newer cities as per the existing plans – however, our retail experience could see developments owing to the positive customer response on Home Test drives and deliveries,” concludes Niraj.

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