CIE » Newsroom » Auto-repair start-up My Auto Shop turbocharged with support of Trade Me

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Auto-repair start-up My Auto Shop turbocharged with support of Trade Me

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10 August 2021

The last year has been particularly hard for start-ups with even more uncertainties than normal to work around. The perseverance of the founders of auto-repair booking platform My Auto Shop has been rewarded with a new partnership with New Zealand’s largest auction and classifieds site Trade Me.

My Auto Shop was founded in early 2020 by the former New Zealand GM of Uber Eats Andy Bowie, alongside University of Auckland Finance, Mechatronics and Mechanical Engineering students Sasha Mates, Paul Rassie and Vincent Wong. All three are past participants of Velocity, the student entrepreneurship development programme supported by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Growth and Operations Manager Sasha says “Like many Kiwi businesses, My Auto Shop had a pretty bumpy year in 2020. After founding the business in January, we promptly had to turn it off during the nationwide lockdown. It really felt like we were just starting to find our feet and then had to hit the brakes pretty quickly. 

“COVID definitely threw a spanner in the works, as it did for us all across New Zealand. The business model of My Auto Shop changed a lot through the pains of lockdowns. We went from primarily an ‘Uber-style’ model for car maintenance, with a team of drivers who used scooters to pick up and drop off people’s cars, to transitioning into more of a booking platform for car maintenance. We learned heaps in the first few months then put these learnings into practice throughout lockdown. We decided to double down on what our customers were valuing, upfront pricing and trustworthiness, and removed some of the features that were less important.”

In order to reach their ambitions, the team at My Auto Shop knew they needed more resources to work with, so began the process of capital raising. Sasha says “It’s no secret that entrepreneurship is a tough journey, that while often glorified, it’s full of hard days behind a computer, questioning if what you’re working on is the right thing, if there is a better way, and trying to find the secret sauce. A capital raise is that same thing, except intelligent investors are throwing those questions directly at you, and are statistically more likely to say no than yes to investing. You have to keep your chin up.”

Trade Me has come on board to take a 15 per cent stake in My Auto Shop. They bring with them tech start-up knowledge and networks that will be helpful in growing My Auto Shop. Sasha says “In our business, we always put the customer at the heart of what we do. Customer aroha is incredibly important to Trade Me too, so it was easy to find alignment in our values. We’re really fortunate to have an iconic Kiwi tech company backing us and are looking forward to getting back to focusing on business growth.”

Sasha is also glad to have an experienced leader as their CEO, especially while the team has been juggling working with studying. “Andy spends his days trying to make all the different, exciting things that are being built line up as smoothly as possible, meeting with partners, suppliers, and investors, and ultimately trying to keep up with the team and provide guidance and direction for the business. For the rest of the team who’ve been here from the start, everyone’s roles have changed a lot, from originally signing up drivers and moving cars, to writing code, building infrastructure and integrations. We’ve all had to wear many hats.” 

Vincent and Sasha are completing their final semester of their Engineering degrees, and they have their eyes firmly on the road ahead. Sasha says “We have grown a network of over 250 independent mechanics, auto-electricians, tyre, glass and other automotive professionals around the country that can be booked online. From Cape Reinga to Bluff, we’ve pretty much got you covered everywhere with a mechanic that can help.

“While 2020 was about testing, learning, and finding product/market fit, 2021 is about putting the foot down and kick-starting a big growth curve for us. We are looking to grow the team, foot print, and offering. Should be fun.”

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education
University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

social media

10 August 2021

The last year has been particularly hard for start-ups with even more uncertainties than normal to work around. The perseverance of the founders of auto-repair booking platform My Auto Shop has been rewarded with a new partnership with New Zealand’s largest auction and classifieds site Trade Me.

My Auto Shop was founded in early 2020 by the former New Zealand GM of Uber Eats Andy Bowie, alongside University of Auckland Finance, Mechatronics and Mechanical Engineering students Sasha Mates, Paul Rassie and Vincent Wong. All three are past participants of Velocity, the student entrepreneurship development programme supported by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Growth and Operations Manager Sasha says “Like many Kiwi businesses, My Auto Shop had a pretty bumpy year in 2020. After founding the business in January, we promptly had to turn it off during the nationwide lockdown. It really felt like we were just starting to find our feet and then had to hit the brakes pretty quickly. 

“COVID definitely threw a spanner in the works, as it did for us all across New Zealand. The business model of My Auto Shop changed a lot through the pains of lockdowns. We went from primarily an ‘Uber-style’ model for car maintenance, with a team of drivers who used scooters to pick up and drop off people’s cars, to transitioning into more of a booking platform for car maintenance. We learned heaps in the first few months then put these learnings into practice throughout lockdown. We decided to double down on what our customers were valuing, upfront pricing and trustworthiness, and removed some of the features that were less important.”

In order to reach their ambitions, the team at My Auto Shop knew they needed more resources to work with, so began the process of capital raising. Sasha says “It’s no secret that entrepreneurship is a tough journey, that while often glorified, it’s full of hard days behind a computer, questioning if what you’re working on is the right thing, if there is a better way, and trying to find the secret sauce. A capital raise is that same thing, except intelligent investors are throwing those questions directly at you, and are statistically more likely to say no than yes to investing. You have to keep your chin up.”

Trade Me has come on board to take a 15 per cent stake in My Auto Shop. They bring with them tech start-up knowledge and networks that will be helpful in growing My Auto Shop. Sasha says “In our business, we always put the customer at the heart of what we do. Customer aroha is incredibly important to Trade Me too, so it was easy to find alignment in our values. We’re really fortunate to have an iconic Kiwi tech company backing us and are looking forward to getting back to focusing on business growth.”

Sasha is also glad to have an experienced leader as their CEO, especially while the team has been juggling working with studying. “Andy spends his days trying to make all the different, exciting things that are being built line up as smoothly as possible, meeting with partners, suppliers, and investors, and ultimately trying to keep up with the team and provide guidance and direction for the business. For the rest of the team who’ve been here from the start, everyone’s roles have changed a lot, from originally signing up drivers and moving cars, to writing code, building infrastructure and integrations. We’ve all had to wear many hats.” 

Vincent and Sasha are completing their final semester of their Engineering degrees, and they have their eyes firmly on the road ahead. Sasha says “We have grown a network of over 250 independent mechanics, auto-electricians, tyre, glass and other automotive professionals around the country that can be booked online. From Cape Reinga to Bluff, we’ve pretty much got you covered everywhere with a mechanic that can help.

“While 2020 was about testing, learning, and finding product/market fit, 2021 is about putting the foot down and kick-starting a big growth curve for us. We are looking to grow the team, foot print, and offering. Should be fun.”


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