Insights from founder Alexis, Romain from Via ID and Nacho from Distribution
Via ID’s vision
Romain Lafitte s interview – Investment Leader at Via ID.
How did the adventure with Vroomly start?
Vroomly was born in the corridors of Via ID in 2017, following a joint awareness by Driver Services and Via ID teams. Hotels (booking.com) and healthcare (Doctolib) have undergone a major revolution in recent years. What if the automotive maintenance and repair professions were the next to go digital?
Armed with this conviction, we first drew up the outlines of a business model for an online reservation site, then recruited an entrepreneur and a team to benefit from Mobivia’s power and the agility of a startup. This is what we call a “startup studio” business creation.
2018 and 2019 were two years of structuring the online appointment booking business (Vroomly Booking). We quickly realized that Vroomly needed to be a benchmark partner for workshops, and as such, the brand needed to extend its range of services to make itself indispensable to its customers.
That’s why Vroomly Parts was created, to provide garages with the auto parts they need for their operations. Having all the information about the customer’s needs at the time of booking, it seemed only natural to offer the garage the parts it would need. In addition, Vroomly’s proximity to Mobivia gave it direct access to the offering and logistics of Europe’s leading car repair and maintenance company.
Very quickly, Vroomly’s professionalism combined with Mobivia’s power convinced many workshops, and the spare parts business, Vroomly Parts, became an increasingly important part of the company’s sales.
More recently, Vroomly decided to meet all its customers’ needs by developing Vroomly Saas: a software package that manages all the day-to-day tasks of a garage owner. All he has to do is select a service and a vehicle. The estimate is calculated automatically, including labor rates and the parts required for the operation. Spare parts are ordered directly from the estimate, which is then transformed into a repair order and invoice.
Why does it make sense for Vroomly to join Mobivia’s Distribution activity?
Creating a new business, especially in startup mode, within a major corporation is always a complex exercise. The timelines between a startup and a major corporation are very different. Via ID’s role was to :
- Put the startup in the ideal conditions to achieve hypergrowth.
- Ensure a healthy collaboration between Mobivia and Vroomly
- Support the company in its transition from a young startup to an SME that “makes industry” and continues to grow strongly.
Today, Vroomly has reached critical mass, and the period of hypergrowth is coming to an end. The challenge is also to consolidate synergies with Mobivia, since Vroomly Parts accounts for over 70% of Vroomly’s business volume, and integration within the Distribution division is both natural and appropriate.
It’s a success story for Via ID, which led to the gradual integration of Vroomly into the Distribution division. However, we will continue to support Alexis and his team on the strategic committee over the next few years, to ensure the long-term viability of the strategy we have put in place.
We are proud to have contributed to the creation of a major player in the digitalization of the automotive maintenance and repair sector, and to be able to bring a new key skill to Mobivia
Nacho Fornes‘ interview – Distribution Leader – who has been supporting Vroomly for 3 years.
Why did Vroomly join Mobivia’s Distribution business?
A few years ago, we set up a small in-house company called Origine Auto. Its vocation was to sell parts to garages via a website, relying on various platforms and wholesalers on the market. We wanted to have a short value chain, and offer repairers a very wide range of products at very attractive prices. It was created in-house by aftermarket experts. At the same time, Vroomly developed and grew 10X, 100X faster.
We needed a player who could position itself with consumers and who was capable of acting as an intermediary, directing the offer along the lines of Booking.com or Doctoblib, which have been able to do this in other sectors. Today, Vroomly joins Mobivia’s Distribution activity, and it makes a lot of sense because it ticks several boxes:
- It’s a digital company
- It targets BtoC customers as a garage comparator, enabling motorists to make the right choice and facilitating the booking of appointments.
- But it also caters to BtoB customers, as a platform dedicated to garages, through the sale of spare car parts at attractive prices.
What’s interesting is that Vroomly has been able to quickly evolve and improve its offer. The team realized that garages were interested in selling/buying car parts. Vroomly therefore completed its offer, which was based on booking an appointment with a garage owner. A relationship with garages and mechanics was developed: first we sent customers, now we’re able to sell auto parts and offer a very wide range.
Today, Vroomly is even becoming a software company, continuing to develop its unique offering for car repairers through Vroomly SaaS.
What are the challenges ahead?
Today, Vroomly’s challenge is to combine growth and profitability. Their model has been validated, their customers are numerous, and Vroomly is doubling its sales every year. The growth is there, the objective is to control this growth so that it becomes profitable.
The idea is to move away from the startup environment, where you’re looking to validate your business model and raise cash, to a company that needs to generate results to ensure ongoing development.
Vroomly is now an integral part of the Distribution activity, and is becoming more integrated into the ecosystem, in the same way as the other Mobivia Business Units. Vroomly will be able to benefit even more from the experience of these companies, as well as from its managers.
In its 7 years of existence, Vroomly has acquired a level of maturity and size that justifies its full integration into Mobivia’s core business. It’s a natural and obvious step.
Alexis Frerejean‘s interview, CEO and Co-founder of Vroomly.
Why were you linked to Via ID before joining Mobivia’s Distribution activity?
Via ID is one of the few Corporate Venture Capital firms in France to combine the role of an investment fund with a real business approach. It’s the best of both worlds between a Venture Capital and a family-owned entrepreneurial group.
This enabled us to be supported by investment professionals with a real understanding of startups, as well as know-how in the development process of a hyper-growth company.
Right from the start, there was respect and a perfect closeness. We benefited from good listening skills, quality support and an excellent understanding of the startup’s vision. Via ID also managed the link and transition with Mobivia. Because Via ID is a CVC (Corporate Venture Capital) and not a VC (Venture Capital), we were able to benefit from the group’s support and access to various resources, including business knowledge, but also proprietary or sector databases that we wouldn’t normally have been able to access.
You joined Mobivia’s distribution activity, what does this mean for you?
To begin with, we’re proud to have integrated the Distribution activity, which is a major step forward as we move from startup to Business Unit, illustrating the validation of our business model.
We’re in an environment that’s pulling us up, with many great entrepreneurial successes, with a strong focus on digital and the development of online parts sales. Examples include Carter-Cash, Bythjul and Skruvat.
Until then, we wanted to demonstrate the relevance of our business model, the proof of concept. The stakes change in 2024: the focus is on profitability. We’re moving from demonstrating our business model to operating it on a long-term basis, so joining the Distribution activity is a logical next step for us.
What are Vroomly’s challenges beyond the business model operation?
Vroomly started out as an appointment scheduling platform, and 2 years ago we launched the sale of parts to garages. It’s the combination of these two business models and the fact that we handle 100% of a garage’s needs that fuels our daily growth. This year, our focus is on achieving profitability to finalize the demonstration of our business model in France, before tackling the rest of Europe in the coming years.
We’re delighted to be joining the Distribution division and the Mobivia ecosystem. This transition from startup to Business Unit is a real source of pride for us. It not only proves that our business model has been validated, but also that the 7 years we’ve spent developing Vroomly have paid off and are leading to the sustainability of our business.