RepairSmith, a startup that delivers mobile automotive service to a customer’s location, says it has raised a new round of $42 million in funding from investors.
The agenda is to greatly expand its territory, and possibly sign up automakers who would designate RepairSmith as a preferred vendor, for dealerships to provide customers with off-dealership service using co-branded versions of RepairSmith’s vans and RepairSmith’s technicians, says Joel Milne, co-founder and CEO.
“We are beta-testing this, with multiple OEMs,” Milne says in an Aug. 17 phone interview. “Our intention is to provide this as kind of an official, OEM-sanctioned service.”
RepairSmith, based in Los Angeles, was founded in 2018 and launched its services in August 2019. It’s the product of a start-up “incubator” backed by Daimler Technology & Venture, an offshoot of Daimler AG, parent company of Mercedes-Benz. (https://www.daimler.com/innovation/venture/techinvest-en.html)
Besides Mercedes-Benz, RepairSmith says its investors include Porsche Ventures, TI Capital, Spring Mountain Capital and others.
Even though corporate entities of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are among its investors, that does not necessarily imply those automotive brands would make RepairSmith part of any OEM-backed plan to have dealers offer mobile service.
“You can’t infer that, no. We’re open to working with all the OEMs,” Milne says. “Daimler decided it was better to invest in us as a start-up for multiple brands across all stores, not just Mercedes-Benz.”
Besides established manufacturers, electric-vehicle start-ups with no existing service network are another potential source of business, he says.
“We started with consumers in order to get our operating platform and system working well. Then B2B, business-to-business – fleets, rental-car fleets, we have some of the largest delivery fleets, and local contractors, like exterminators, construction,” Milne says. “Most recently – which was always our plan – we started working with OEMs.”
RepairSmith is already operating in Arizona, California, Georgia, Nevada, Oregon and Texas, the company says. Customers include individual consumers as well as fleet operators, car-rental agencies and some dealerships.
Services are available in 650 cities, and the company says it has completed over 100,000 service appointments in the six states where it operates. Customers can book their own appointments online and get an instant price quote, Milne says.
All services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile (19,320-km) warranty. The work is performed by ASE-certified technicians who are employees of RepairSmith. ASE is the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
For its mobile repair vans, RepairSmith uses Mercedes-Benz Metris and Sprinter vans, Milne says.
Based on its experience so far, Milne estimates 90% of the time RepairSmith gets the job done the same day, in the customer’s chosen location, usually their driveway. Another 10% of the time, he says, the vehicle has to be moved somewhere else for heavier or more labor-intensive repairs.
“A clutch replacement that takes 16 hours? We could do it at the customer’s location, but I’m not going to have my guy there three days, in somebody’s driveway,” he says.
Next on the agenda, RepairSmith is expanding in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, Milne says.