GirnarSoft CEO Jain has big plans for next three years

19 Oct 2016

Last month, India’s GirnarSoft, which owns CarDekho (new autos), Gaadi (used autos), Zigwheels and BikeDekho entered into a joint venture with Indonesian media company Emtek to launch a new auto classifieds called Oto.com (See AIM Group report here).

The deal was done through CarBay, a subsidiary of Girnarsoft, and Kreatif Media Karya (KMK), the digital arm of Emtek. CarBay will own 70 percent of the venture, and KMK 30 percent, it was agreed.

Employing about 2,500 people, CarBay is currently present in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia.

_d5a8943GirnarSoft was valued at $300 million U.S. when it raised series B funding this January for expansion outside India. The company is backed by investors, such as Sequoia Capital, Hong Kong-based Hillhouse Capital, and Tybourne Capital.

CarDekho, GirnarSoft’s No. 1 auto site in India, attracts around three million monthly visits, against Carmudi’s 300,000 and iCarAsia’s (Mobil123) around 740,000 monthly visits (source: SimilarWeb).

Its main strength lies in its tech-competence. The start-up acquired six companies in six years, including Volob Technologies, a 3-D visualisation platform, SaaS start-up Connecto, and Drishya360s (See AIM Group report here).

We want to manage the entire ownership experience of auto buyers in Asia through CarBay. – Amit Jain, co-founder and CEO of GirnarSoft.

For an auto site based in a small town (Jaipur), that’s been growing at a scorching pace in India, the big question now is: Will it be able to steal a march on Rocket Internet and iCarAsia?  

Amit Jain (photo), co-founder and CEO of GirnarSoft, who dreams of building a $10 billion U.S. company, answered a few questions of AIM Group’s Radhika Sachdev.

AIM: What’s your strategy for growth in Southeast Asia?

Jain: For starters, we want to structure the fragmented automobile classifieds industry in Indonesia by empowering consumers and dealers there with new-age tools and technology. We aim to be No. 1 in not just helping auto buyers find the best vehicles, but also in providing tech tools to dealers and OEMs for better profitability and higher efficiency. 

Why chose Indonesia as launchpad for your global expansion plans?

We’ve studied this market closely. A combination of aspirational demographics, good economic indicators, increasing internet penetration and Indonesia’s key position in Asia makes it an attractive and important market for GirnarSoft.

Who is your main competition in the region?

iCarAsia and Carmudi. 

What factors have contributed to your growth in India, and now, other emerging markets?

Our customer-centric approach and innovation in tech. Over the years, we have managed to simplify the consumer’s experience of the vehicle-buying process, by supplying all information at one place in the right amount of depth and richness.

Among the unique tools we’ve built, are: 

+ Feel the car

A consumer gets 360-degree holistic view of the auto interior and exterior at the touch of a button. Acute details with hotspots and helpful expert content provide a powerful visual experience. Car sounds (ignition, engine revving, horn) are recorded with high precision, giving the consumer an immersive experience of the auto model he’s considering – even before he visits a showroom.

+ Virtual reality showroom

With a smart navigation tool, users can move around the showroom and check out autos from all angles. The app is aided with a voice-over, to explain various features to users, who can manipulate various car components. In future, this feature will encompass virtual test drives of the auto in a pre-fabricated 3-D environment. The experience could be enhanced by integrating this with H/W simulators for a more realistic experience of the vehicle.

+ Transparent pricing, offers and promotions

Our platform aggregates all offers on autos for all brands and models from all cities, to negotiate with dealers.

+ Trustmark warranty for used autos

Our Trustmark Warranties are sold through our used-auto dealer network, so buyers are assured of quality autos.

+ Virtual auto expo

CarDekho gave its users a full virtual experience of Auto Expo 2016. Every manufacturer’s pavilion was mapped with thousands of 360-degree pictures, and the virtual experience delivered online to millions of car enthusiasts from all parts of the country. This was a first-time ever innovation for the Auto Expo.

What’s your growth plan for Girnar for the next three years?

Our vision is to build a complete ecosystem for consumers and car manufacturers, dealers and related businesses, in a manner that consumers have easy and complete access to. Not just in the buying and selling process. But, also when managing their ownership experience Asia-wide – regardless whether it has to do with accessories, tyres, batteries, insurance, or roadside assistance.

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Radhika Sachdev

Radhika Sachdev is a journalist who has held senior editorial positions with major Indian newspaper banners. She has over 20 years of experience in the profession, covering Advertising, Marketing, Media, Education, HR, Real Estate and Environment beats. She is also a partner and chief content developer for Write Solutions, a boutique content house she founded eight years ago, signifying her diversification from journalism to copywriting and media consultancy.