MIH-acquired automobile site Gaadi.com's co-founder Vivek Pahwa has launched a new automobile site called 99Cars.com. The site has been launched under Gurgaon-based Accentium Web Pvt Ltd, the same company that had started Gaadi Web Pvt Ltd back in 2007.
"The online market in the car segment is starting to grow and I want to be a part of the growth curve. So we decided to launch 99cars.com with much better UI and design," said Pahwa.
According to him, the reason he started another automobile site is because he felt that the team sold off the previous startup too early. Umang Kumar, another co-founder at Gaadi had taken over as CEO of Gaadi post its acquisition, while Vivek Pahwa transitioned to a strategic role.
Accentium also runs SecondShaadi.com and StudyNation.com. The company had earlier sold its social networking site DesiMartini to HT Media's Firefly eVentures.
According to Pahwa, 'specification score' is an innovation introduced by his company in the space. "Based on their price and specification score, each car model and version is given a unique value for money rating, which is derived from a specialised algorithm developed by the company. While comparing two cars, rather than just showing the specifications side by side, 99Cars explains in plain language, what the advantages are of one car over the other," he said.
Additionally, it's 'recommend me a car option' asks the users a few questions about their car preferences to suggest the perfect car for them from its database.
There are many players operating in this space that include Times Internet's Zigwheels, CarDekho, Carwale, Autoindia.com, Carazoo.com and MotorExchange, among others. CarDekho, an online marketplace for users to buy and sell used as well as new cars, had raised $15 million in funding from Sequoia Capital in November last year. Carwale is backed by Sierra Ventures.
Among these, ZigWheels.com has a presence across multiple touch points including a 'Live Chat' session on the website, and WhatsApp messenger on 08010888888- for price, comparison, expert review and even booking a test drive. It also has a ZigLine (08010888888) to get instant information.
Elaborating on the market, Akshay Chaturvedi, business head, ZigWheels.com said, "As per a recent study on car buying behaviour in India, 48 per cent customers start their research online before discussing with friends and family or visiting a showroom. It also reflects that online research builds better understanding about the product in a short span of time."
The auto classifieds space has seen significant action in the recent past with European multimedia company Axel Springer AG acquiring 52.1 per cent stake in Automotive Exchange Pvt Ltd, the owner of automotive classified ads portal Carwale.com. Besides, online auction portal and classifieds portal MotorExchange raised its second round of funding from Epiphany Ventures and Canaan Partners.