Open Talk @DSIM
An Interview with Co- Founder of Truebil.com, Mr. Shubh Bansal
Truebil is Mumbai based virtual marketplace for pre-owned cars. It provides a one stop solution for buying and selling of used automobiles by offering free inspection and valuation, quick sell guarantee, free vehicle buying consulting, smooth paper transfer, loan assistance and insurance support. Truebil was started in March 2015 by a team of seven entrepreneurs Suraj Kalwani (CEO), Ravi Chirania, Shubh Bansal, Rakesh Raman, Ritesh Pandey, Shanu Vivek and Himanshu Singhal.
Q1. Hi Shubh, thank you for taking out time to interact with us. Let us know about your business?
Ans . It all started when I was planning to buy my first car, a second hand one. I was working with Housing.com and it took me a month to shortlist a car. I used to get links from the existing online platforms and I would hire a mechanic every weekend and take him for inspection of the car and drive around the city.In the end, when I was about to buy the car, the negotiation part was a big challenge, as there was no existing price-marking mechanism, which would benchmark the price of the car and later on the multiple touch-points for ‘ownership transfer’, loan and insurance made me realize the inefficiency in this market.
This asymmetric information and the lack of authenticity got me thinking that even though technology has advanced so much and people having access to it, there was still a huge lacuna of a curated, hassle-free platform for people looking to buy a used-car online.
So, we (the team of 7 co-founders) did our brainstorming and realized that there is great potential in this segment. We wanted to address the gaps existing in this segment from the consumer’s point of view. We aimed to facilitate a unique car buying experience for the youth and the young families who are eyeing to buy a value-for-money car. That was the idea behind Truebil.
Q2. Let our readers know about your business model and marketing strategy?
Ans. We are a transactional managed marketplace for pre-owned cars. Every car listed is inspected by our in-house engineers. The listing is highly curated and authentic. It is we who provide first time in India an option to book car online and once the buyer close the deal with seller; we take care of every hassle including but not limited to paper transfer, loan, insurance etc.We provide post sales service like service warranty and buy back guarantee in case something goes wrong. We charge a commission of 7% of the transactional value.
Q3. What hurdles did you faced or are still facing in your business?
Ans.It’s always challenging for a startup to inject innovation because of inherent nature of eco-system. The system is always at low entropy, impervious to change. A startup challenges this status-quo and brings a paradigm shift. What we are doing is innovative. Our philosophy revolves around creating credibility in used cars segment and we want consumers to have an awesome buying experience.
Q4. How you are using content marketing, affiliate marketing and social media marketing to promote your business?
Ans.Being in a very lean and agile stage we are thriving on just digital marketing and word of mouth promotion. I believe content marketing is the next big thing. Consumers are getting immune to outbound marketing and content marketing is the only means for inbound marketing. We are not pushing any discounts/sales using digital marketing. Buying a car is big ticket purchase and thus we are educating our consumers about our value propositions.
Q5. How important is digital marketing to your overall marketing strategy?
Ans. Because we are disrupting the way people buy used cars, it is very important for us to reach to the early adopters who can become our evangelists. To reach this niche group of people the best medium is digital platform and media.Consumers are already available online who are searching for cars, we just need to be present online to tap them.
Q6. Shubh, we are keen to know, who are your major competitors? How do you deal with competition?
Ans. We have carwale.com, cardekho.com and cartrade.com in B2C space, Mahindra First Choice and Maruti True Value in offline brick and mortar space and OLX and Quikr in online C2C horizontal space. Truebil is only player creating a vertical player in C2C space.
Q7. What’s next for Truebil? Where is your company heading? What is the vision?
Ans. With Truebil’s unique model, we are confident of bringing about a revolution in the used car market in the country and making the buying process a gratifying experience for the consumers. We recently launched two new features called ‘BookNow’ and ‘QuickSell’, thus making us the pioneers of online car booking in India. We have received encouraging response from the users since the website’s launch in Mumbai. Our investors have shown great faith in us and we plan to use the current funding for upgradation of technology, talent sourcing and building up a robust platform to give the consumers a seamless experience. We are also aiming to expand to 8 metros by the end of this year.
Q8. Often with an expensive purchase, a customer wants to have a personal experience with a product before making a final decision. How are you overcoming this potential obstacle?
Ans. We are not stopping consumers from taking test drives. We are just curating the worthy of buying cars and making them available online for consumers to buy at just click of a button. Once a buyer books a car online he can visit the seller and have a test drive.
Q9. Finally, at the end of the interesting conversation, what advice would you give to young emerging entrepreneurs?
Ans. My definition of a startup- It’s not a conventional business where you earn profits and revenues but it’s an innovation striving to disrupt the status quo. Once a new consumer experience is created the business/revenues/profits are built around the innovation and the key here is to think ahead of curve and foresee the future.
“It was great talking to you. Thank you so much for your time and providing us valuable information”. Team DSIM wishes you for your successful journey.