Paris-headquartered Europ Assistance Holding has picked up a significant minority stake in Singapore-based vehicle servicing start up ONB Technologies, which operates under the brand name 21North in India and caters to automakers in 1o cities in the country.
The acquisition is aimed to cater to multi billion dollars global vehicle servicing market and India is a key focused market for Europ Assistance.
The 21North platform offers a mobile application and an online platform that delivers a car or bike service experience at the tap of a button, giving information on pickup and drop, live tracking, online billing and constant notifications on status of vehicle service including digital payment. Besides, it manages more than 30,000 pickups and drops for vehicle servicing.
“We have made a serious investment in the company, which is associated with the who’s who of Indian OEM (original equipment manufacturers),” Europ Assistance Holding’s India CEO Ram Seethepalli told ET.
“They have done a good job so far. We will be investing Rs 50 crore in their expansion this year, which will help it grow multifold in the coming years,” he said, without disclosing how much stake the company had picked up.
He said that Europ Assistance Holding did not pick up majority stake in ONB Technologies because it wanted the entrepreneur to drive the show in both India and overseas markets.
The platform allows users to keep track of their vehicle history, enabling them to get a better resale value for their vehicles.
With more than 30 million cars and 120 million bikes plying in the country, and with these vehicles going in for service about twice a year, the market size in India is estimated to be in excess of Rs 50,000 crore per annum.
ONB Technology focusses not only in offering a seamless vehicle service experience, but it also work towards improving efficiency at the workshops of a dealer network in order to add to the bottomline of a dealer principle, claims the company.
Praveen Surendiran, managing director, ONB Technologies India said that 21North platform had helped service centres improve their business more than 30% and clock double-digit growth in profits.
“That is why OEMs chose our service. We are not only solving consumers’ problem but also the revenue problem of the dealer,” he said.
At present 21North offers a pickup and drop service to more than 30,000 users a month, a number which it wants to increase fourfold to 1.2 lakh by the end of the year. Similarly, it plans to expand its services to 40 cities by the end of 2020 from 10 at present.
The Indian subsidiary, which generated a revenue of Rs 80 crore in 2017-18, is growing over 100% a year.
For Europ Assistance Holding, which has been in India for more than a decade and a half, the automotive sector accounts for 70% of its total revenue, with travel assistance and concierge service accounting for the rest. CEO Seethepalli said that with 21North coming on board he would want the company to be known as a vehicle ownership lifestyle assistance company.
Europ Assistance handles 300 million individuals around the world annually and provide services to 16 million people. In India it offered assistance to 450000 people - pick up drop, travel assistance, concierge services.
Europ Assistance aims to have 1 lakh transactions per month from 30000 as of last month from insurance, road side assistance and other services.