Shady mechanics beware. RepairPal, a company dedicated to helping drivers find reliable auto shops, has closed its $13 million Series B round, led by two automotive industry big shots: Cars.com and Castrol‘s innoVentures investment and innovation firm. The funding will help it introduce new services and extend its network of trusted mechanic shops.
RepairPal was founded in 2007 and is billed as a one-stop place for US car owners seeking a quality and reliable service experience from auto shops. Essentially, it is about taking the uncertainty out of car repair jobs. Many of us worry that a trip to the mechanic will be an expensive rip off, and the startup is looking to replace those feelings of uncertainty with trust and expectation of good value.
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Visitors to the site simply provide their car make and zip code, and the service fetches a range of nearby garages. Each result includes links to Google Maps, images, and a profile page that features detailed ratings, reviews and feedback from other RepairPal users. There are also iOS and Android apps to provide the experience on the go.
RepairPal has raised $7 million in funding to date, which includes its $4 million Series A round which was led by Tugboat Ventures in December 2009. The company says that the new funding will help expedite the introduction of new services — such as its ‘RepairPrice Estimator’ to help anticipate repair costs — and grow its ‘Top Shop’ network, which is a selection of 200 plus auto shops across 35 states that have gained its seal of approval.
The network, which was launched last year, is aimed at giving car owners a greater level of trust from their visits to an auto shop, and Top Shop certified outlets feature more prominently in searches and the rest of the site. Top Shops must pay to be listed but today’s announcement reiterates that they must also hit RepairPal’s standards to be certified.
“The Top Shop network includes only shops that meet extremely stringent standards for quality, price and customer satisfaction,” the startup explains. “Shops must pass a rigorous screening by certified master mechanics, provide great service as measured through in-depth surveys with verified customers, guarantee their parts and service for a minimum of 12 months or 12,000 miles, and charge fair prices within the range of the RepairPrice Estimator.”
Investment from two big names in the automotive industry is significant for RepairPal CEO Art Shaw, who says: “Having two leaders in the industry fund the growth of our network of auto repair shops is a tremendous validation of the role RepairPal will play in the lifecycle of car ownership and maintenance.”
The deal is the first technology-related investment from Castrol innoVentures — the BP-owned oil-maker’s recently formed investment arm –while Cars.com’s Greg McGivney sees similarities between the startup’s growth and the car buying portal’s early rise.
“RepairPal is doing for auto repair what Cars.com did for car purchasing,” McGivney, who is general manager and VP of strategy and business development said. “When transparency, expert advice and high standards reign, the customer wins. RepairPal has its priorities in the right place and we believe they will transform the auto repair industry.”
Companies like Uber and Hailo — which recently landed $30 million — are innovating how we travel, but startups like RepairPal and Yourmechanic — a mechanic rating service that raised $1.8 million last year — are helping those that already have cars keep them roadworthy, without being ripped off.
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