The automotive aftermarket is a huge industry generating crazy money. According to a report by Grand View Research, the global automotive aftermarket was valued at USD 369.2 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.9% from 2019 to 2025. The Indian automotive aftermarket follows the same trend and is likely to be valued at Rs 75000 crore by 2020. The stakeholders in this segment are many: exporters, importers, manufacturers, wholesalers, replacement parts distributors, suppliers, retailers, and automobile repair/maintenance franchises.
Despite being a fast-growing sector, the Indian automotive aftermarket still remains unorganized. Many automobile repair facilities are far away from using technology to handle their day to day business. Seeing this, RAMP was founded with the mission to bridge the gap between car maintenance facilities and data driven decision-making.
StartupTalky interviewed RAMP co-founder Amit Kumar to learn more about the startup.
|Founders||Amit Kumar, Praveen Yalla, and Rakesh Biswal|
|Parent Organization||Shanrohi Technologies Private Limited|
RAMP is an integrated service center management software that helps the auto repair shop owners and managers to manage administrative tasks with ease. RAMP has numerous features useful for day to day auto service management process.In RAMP's platform, the garages act as an interface for all the stakeholders involved.
“We are creating an integrated online community of stakeholders from the highly unorganized automotive aftermarket industry and facilitating seamless business transactions between them by digitizing their business processes and linking each other through one platform called RAMP,” says Amit while explaining the idea behind his startup.
The company aims to be a global leader in Automotive post-sales life cycle management through an integrated digital ecosystem.
The Automotive Aftermarket
Several studies from McKinsey, Frost and Sullivan and the GOI, indicates that automotive aftermarket in India alone accounted for approximately USD 9 billion in 2017. The aftermarket industry is likely to expand at a CAGR of 7.6% over the forecast period i.e. 2017-2025.
Explaining the condition of the automotive aftermarket in India Amit says, “ Our primary focus concentrates on vehicle service and maintenance outside dealer network workshops. Our team has personally visited almost 10000 multi-brand workshops across the country today. Considering it as a good sample size there is a clear understanding that at least 15% of the market size is easily addressable. With over 7 lakhs workshops in the unorganized space in India, the sailing opportunity is huge and we believe the timing for us has just been right!”
The businesses in the automotive aftermarket segment traditionally have remained independent, unorganized and owner-driven which lacks proper systems and processes and hence increasing the scope of wastage of capital, time, manpower and other resources. With growing competition and recent changes in automobile technologies, there is an immediate need for these owners to get organized and gain more control over the business to stay relevant. RAMP aims to digitize this segment and bring in more revenue-generating opportunities for their customers apart from optimizing their existing business management processes and help improve profitability.
Besides the inherent challenges, the good thing is that the market is virgin and the early signs of adoption primarily driven by the growing awareness of digitization is extremely promising!
Founders of RAMP and Team
RAMP was founded in 2016 by Amit Kumar, Praveen Yalla and Rakesh Biswal, three engineers from Hyderabad.
Prior to starting RAMP, Amit had started up a couple of more companies which helped him learn from the small and big successes and failures and build a strong experience in execution, business development and finance & strategy. He also supported several startups in environment, infrastructure & e-commerce with fundraising, business strategies and execution.
Praveen and Rakesh had held key management positions in product development with multiple MNCs. Praveen also has startup experiences in product development and e-commerce. In their stints, they had opportunities to formulate, design and develop fairly large enterprise applications being used by Fortune 100 companies today for their day to day operations. The wide array of experience that the founders have, has enabled them to develop RAMP as a flexible, accommodating and robust product with high-performance delivery.
Currently, Amit takes care of things like execution, strategy, business development, investor relations, fundraise, etc. Praveen takes care of the most important part of the show, the product! While Rakesh, is the backbone taking care of operations, Human Resources, processes & systems.
The company has a team size of 50. There are senior personnel as directors who take care of operations and sales alongside carrying the most important responsibility of building a team and work culture which can not only support the growth objectives of the company but also of the people
At the epicenter of our ideology of creating a work culture to cherish, lies our efforts to create enough growth and learning opportunities for all the people who join our journey of creating tremendous value for this industry. The objective is to build leaders from within the team and make them ready to take up bigger responsibilities during our growth and expansion. Being a startup, we have been able to create a good work-life balance apart from having great learning and great relationships among our people. The team members have their say in almost everything we do and are provided ample opportunities to add value to the system.
How was RAMP Started
‘In our continuous efforts of identifying an unaddressed problem statement in the market we had by then burnt our hands with a couple of failures before RAMP,’ Amit recalls.
Amit, Praveen and Rakesh wanted to create something that could add some real value to the market. But, they were quite unsure about which is the sector they should concentrate on, and kept on creating software for solving various issues of startups. It was one afternoon of January 2016 when Amit received a phone call from a friend who owned vehicle workshops. He needed assistance in designing a solution which could help him manage his business. In order to understand the business and the problems, Amit visited a couple of workshops on the same day to take some real-time feedback from them. And this helped Amit discover a whole unorganized sector which seriously needed solutions to make their business manageable and profitable.
As Amit adds, “Surprisingly when I told them about my intentions to build a garage management software, they immediately responded stating that they too need a similar product to manage their business and there is where I had the initial few cheques in my hand on that very same day. These cheques to us were enough of validation about the need for a solution which could help organize this industry”
The co-founders picked up the idea from there and then spent a lot of time with the workshops understanding their problem statements and finding out solutions from them. The team then translated the solutions into software modules and got it validated with the customers continuously by keeping into consideration the smallest of nuances of this industry.
For example, the employees in the workshops generally have thick, worn out and greasy fingers. Hence, RAMP is designed in accordance with this so that it can be easily used by the workshop workers.
RAMP - Name and Logo
RAMP stands for “Reliable Automobile Maintenance Partners”.
However, this was not the case when the product was named so. The initial intention was to have a name which can be easily remembered and related to the industry. It was accordingly named RAMP conveying that this is one tool with which the automotive aftermarket can RAMP UP their business with.
The icon was chosen based upon one of the most commonly used parts and the color conventions were chosen based upon the most prominent colors used in the aftermarket industry. Out of the colors green represents positivity and grey & black because proudly represent the color of the hands of the employees in this industry and is an evident testimony of the hard work that they put in every single day of their life.
What is RAMP
RAMP is one of the first movers to bring together all the stakeholders of the automotive aftermarket on one platform. The stakeholders are many including the vehicle owners, the workshop owners, their employees, their spare part suppliers, the insurance agencies, etc., In this platform, the garages will be the nucleus and will act as an interfacing point with all the stakeholders.
The product essentially takes care and automates most of the complex manual activities which happen in the automotive business. Right from customer registration, job card preparation, billing & invoicing, inventory management, communication and CRM, purchase management, reporting and decision making, RAMP takes care of all! With a highly digitized way of working, RAMP captures data in structured formats and make available relevant information for relevant stakeholders for effective decision making at all times. The business intelligence and the artificial intelligence being built into it shall support effortless business management.
Apart from the garages, the other stakeholders are also a part of the system who can seamlessly transact with any other stakeholder while maintaining their business processes on RAMP.
The industry definitely lacks skilled professionals who can use complex software solutions. The attrition level in this industry is also very high which limits the patience of the business owners to train employees as training becomes a never-ending process. For example, they have new computer operators coming in every other month and it is a tedious task to train the new operators each time the old one leaves.Hence, there was a need for a solution which is extremely easy to use. The idea is to be able to train anyone in a couple of minutes to use a solution. And this is what the USP of RAMP is. Apart from having features covering every business case, RAMP is one of the most appreciated product among its users as far as the ease of use is concerned. The company also has 24x7 support for the users.
The support team handholds the users for everything that’s required until they are proficient with the product. The whole focus of RAMP is towards organizing the businesses, helping them do more with less and hence increasing business and overall profitability.
“We are proud that our existing customers identify the contribution of RAMP as partners and not a service provider only,” says Amit.
When we started off, none of us in the team was from an automotive background. Hence, the only way we could have created a product which creates very high value for the customers was by listening to the customers, and continuously! After a successful MVP, it was our customers who started giving us inputs on how the product should function to create maximum value for them. Our strong technology team headed by two of the co-founders with a robust feedback loop process continued to enhance the product with a primary focus on must-have needs of the market while making sure that the USP of the product, i.e, ease of use, remains intact.
RAMP - Startup Launch
RAMP started from Hyderabad with a team of 4 people including the founders. In the initial stage, it was Amit who solely was responsible for sales, while the other team members were into product development. Eventually, the company ventured into other cities by identifying clients online
RAMP - Revenue Model
One of the revenue models is an annual subscription which is charged to the users. A lot of cross-sale and up-sale opportunities have been enabled which supports the majority of the revenues currently.
RAMP - Startup Challenges
Most of the products in the market for this industry were designed as per the understanding of the developers/ designers of the respective companies and not necessarily as per the market feedback. This approach produced very complex to use products and resulted in the existence of a general perception amongst the users that software is a very complex thing to use and is not meant for the semi-literate or illiterate users which form to be the majority of users in this industry.
In addition to this, the inclination was towards generally available accounting packages in the market which essentially addressed nothing more than billing and inventory management. It was no less than a challenge for the RAMP team to create the awareness that such packages did not address the business process management where the actual loss happens due to improper management.
On top of that, the team had to maintain speed and agility as the requirements of the market were unending and the time to market had to be fast as the customers were very short of patience. Again, the company had to multiply its productivity while the resources it had was very limited.
"To increase productivity, the team started working around the clock! On a lighter note, our army of people were owls at night and spartans during the day !. I feel blessed to have a team like this!" Amit says recounting the initial challenges the company faced.
RAMP - Competitors
Being an early mover, there is no major competition for RAMP.
As Amit puts in, “The market we are operating has a huge potential and the pie is very big. Assuming that there would be only one player who can capture the complete market will not be wise. Today RAMP is one of the most prominent players in the market apart from being one of the earliest movers in this space. Apart from some industry majors who are trying to work in the same space, we have seen some startups coming up in a couple of other locations with products being in very nascent stages. This space offers many opportunities along with the problems and it would be very interesting to see how all these players get along and address the problem of this industry as a whole”
This probably is a business which cannot be executed from an air-conditioned board room! You have to be out there in the scorching sun, looking out for customers, understanding their problems and offering solutions. Getting your hands dirty is the only way to do justice to the opportunity!
RAMP - Advisors and Mentors
Mr.Viiveck Verma has been one of the advisor and mentor since the early days of the startup. He brings with him a vast experience of corporate management along with experience of nurturing, guiding and advising startups. Apart from serving at the CXO positions of many MNCs, he has also been a member of Hyderabad Angels and other startup communities.
Mr. Ravi Sadh who joined Shanrohi Technologies’ advisory board in 2018 has been in this industry from the past 35 years. Starting his career as a mechanic, he today serves as a Director of several companies into automotive aftermarket and services. He also serves as an Executive Member of the All India Automobile Workshops of India(AIAWA) and has been an active part in making the RAMP team aware of the ground realities of this industry.
RAMP - Growth
“The company has been doing good but there is a lot that has to be achieved!”
The company has grown 200% each year and has customers in over 100 cities globally and its team established in 8 of them. Shanrohi Technologies is working to onboard another 3000 customers this financial year.
With each passing day, the company’s sales team is getting stronger. Shanrohi Technologies’ mission is to have RAMP partnered garages in every 3 km on an average.
“The future is very promising as we work on some of the path-breaking ideas currently getting ready for roll out in the coming quarters. The moment these ideas comes to fruition, only for good, I am sure we shall be on our way to completely change the way this industry has been working for ages!”
RAMP is FOR the customer, BY the customer & FROM the customer. We have listened to our customers and have tried to come up with solutions that work for them. We are only a medium for them to find solutions for their problems. And I believe this approach is the thing that has always worked for us.