BY TOM JACKSON
Nigerian startup Fixit45 has launched its one-stop-shop platform for car owners, helping to connect them with a variety of necessary services.
Fixit45 was launched in its current iteration in July of last year, but the business and the model has evolved over the course of the last two years or so.
“So, before Fixit45 became a standalone brand with its own set of leaders and shareholders, a semblance of the business was in operation when I led a division within Cars45, called GoMechanic45,” co-founder Bemigho Awala told Disrupt Africa.
“This essentially was premised on the acquisition of my initial startup, Carido, an auto-tech aggregation platform connecting end-users with certified mechanics for the purpose of facilitating vehicle repair and maintenance. The guys at Cars45 loved what we were doing, and since they were looking to expand their play in the automotive space and cater to the post-purchase or aftermarket segment, they approached us for an acquisition. All things considered, the marriage was a good fit.”
At Cars45, Awala entered into a working relationship with GoMechanic of India, which gave birth to GoMechanic45.
“That was an exciting model to work on at that time. But then, with a broader and more holistic look at the market and its pain point, it made sense to spin off a completely different entity which has now been christened as Fixit45,” he said.
Launched alongside Justus Obaoye and Abdulazeez Ogunjobi, Fixit45 enables car owners to connect and interact with multiple aftermarket stakeholders, including a vast network of automobile service providers, specialised technical teams, spare parts suppliers, and end-consumers. Awala said the startup is filling a huge gap.
“Looking at Nigeria’s automotive market space in general, and the aftermarket segment, which is everything that happens once a user takes ownership of a car, the industry has been defined by an absence of normalcy, lack of regulation and trust, fake and counterfeit spare parts, short of saying that the condition of that space is broken,” he said.
“Also, this is a vertical that is highly dependent on technical competencies but for some reason, we haven’t seen infrastructure that helps to churn out quality and competent operators. The sum total of all these points is that automotive ownership, whether for individuals or corporates, has become a frustrating experience.”
He won’t disclose any numbers, but says user uptake has been “fantastic”. Investors have certainly found the startup attractive, with Launch Africa Ventures among Fixit45’s backers at pre-seed stage, and Awala said it is looking to do a further follow-on raise this year. The startup is active across six Nigerian cities, and planning an expansion into a further African market soon, while in November it added to its service offering with the acquisition of Parkit, a network of tech enabled autocare and car wash centres.