Austin-based NuBrakes Sees Opportunity In Southeast Auto Industry & Startup Scene

NuBrakes is betting big on the Southeast. And as the startup expands throughout the region, it is ready to rethink what the future of car care might look like.

The Austin-based startup is the brainchild of Walker Drewett, who started building in the AutoTech space while he was still a student at the University of Texas. 

“Our business has always been predicated on building a better car care experience,” Drewett said. NuBrakes was born after pivoting a previous venture in the mobile car washing space to focus on car maintenance and service. 

Ultimately, NuBrakes is looking to break into the $185 billion per year auto maintenance sector. NuBrakes uses a “direct to consumer at home or on-site service model” to bring certified technicians right to you and your car, thus skipping the stress around going to an auto service provider. NuBrakes’ technicians can provide new brakes, oil changes, a multi-point inspection, and tire rotations on demand.

Technicians come directly to individual cars and also service fleet operators (think home service companies, plumbing companies, or delivery companies that need to keep vehicles in top shape).

Expansion outside of Texas has been concentrated in the Southeast. 

NuBrakes opened up its Atlanta office in September 2020 to hire tech talent before ultimately launching services to car owners in the city the following January. The Atlanta office has pulled in talent from startup Bellhop, Uber, and other high-tech logistics companies. 

It’s no surprise that Atlanta was high on the list when NuBrakes was looking to expand outside of Texas. Drewett told Hypepotamus that the team’s internal model looked at the number of vehicles per household, the average commute time, and pricing around car repairs to select expansion cities. 

NuBrakes is also operating in Nashville, Tampa, and Chattanooga with new plans to open in Knoxville next.

Key to NuBrakes expansion efforts is the workplace culture. Unlike other service-based platforms, NuBrake technicians are W-2 employees with stock options in the startup, something Drewett said has helped attract and retain staff during the “Great Resignation.”

That concentration in the Southeast is intentional, said Drewett. The region also has a growing number of AutoTech startups taking on car ownership pain points. Others to note include Spiffy and Flux Hybrids in North Carolina, Fixd Automotive in Atlanta, and several working to make electric vehicle adoption more ubiquitous. 

New Funding For NuBrakes 

NuBrakes plans to go on a hiring spree following the announcement of a $9 million Series A round led by Bay Area’s Canvas Ventures. 

Existing investors like Atlanta-based Automotive Ventures, Contrary Capital, and Bling Capital also joined the round. 

The Series A brings NuBrakes total funding to $12 million to date. 

While the funding will be used to hire new talent and expand into existing markets, Drewett is focused on NuBrakes’ role in the connected vehicle future.

He imagines a future where vehicular data is captured and can be used to diagnose and predict when brakes will need to be replaced.

“As we look towards the automotive future and the continued trend of connected vehicles  — whether they be EVs, autonomous vehicles, or traditional combustion engine cars — all vehicles are becoming more connected. We want to create a connected service platform that will power all of those vehicles and make the car ownership experience incredibly seamless and accessible,” he added.