On-demand car services startup Spiffy has been in tune with the rapid changes occurring in the auto industry. The startup has quickly expanded in the past couple of years from only offering car washes, to so much more.
“We think there’s going to be more changes to car ownership in the next 10 years than there’s been in the prior 110 years-plus,” CEO Scot Wingo tells Hypepotamus.
Wingo says the first piece of the evolving puzzle is their new connected car initiative.
Through partnerships with major car manufacturers, the connected car initiative grants limited access to Spiffy to unlock/lock customers’ cars, thereby avoiding the handing off of keys. The 13 launch partners include Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, GMC, Jeep, Lexus, RAM, Tesla and Volkswagen.
“We’re touching 300-400 cars a day; about 10 percent of them are connected. It’s not all of them, but over time, as cars age on and everyone gets a new connecting car, that’ll trend towards more like 90 percent,” says Wingo.
This is part of a bigger vision for the company to adapt to the evolution of the automotive industry: what Wingo calls the the Vehicle 2.0 model. It all began following Spiffy’s $9 million Series B funding round announcement earlier this year, when they unveiled their new digital car maintenance product, Spiffy Blue, to keep track of customers’ car health.
Wingo describes this new model as adapting to four major waves of innovation: electrification, connectivity, ownership and autonomy. “Each of those is interesting on their own, but we’re thinking about how do they intersect, what does it mean to us, and how can we help,” says Wingo. “As things change, we want to make sure we’re staying on top of that innovation and providing our service for folks along the way.”
He’s also focused on working in tandem with new shared economy startups like Turo or HyreCar, which allow users to rent out their cars to others while they’re not in use. He’s seen cases where users have such success in renting out their primary vehicle that they’re purchasing a second or third vehicle just to gain profit.
“Once they turned it into a microbusiness, they don’t want to park it at their house. Those users are using long-term parking lots for the renter to grab the vehicle. Since they don’t have their eyes on the car all the time, they’re using Spiffy to keep the car clean. That’s an example of the changing ownership model,” says Wingo.
The new connected car feature allows Spiffy to locate the car through GPS and leave the car keys safely locked inside. It also connects to Spiffy Blue to keep track of mileage and maintenance.
“It’s an area that is changing rapidly and we think we can add a lot of value for autonomy and electrification. Those are ones that we have ideas, but they’re probably a couple years out,” says Wingo.
But how does Wingo think ahead without neglecting the present? He attributes a pie chart mentality to his productivity.
“At the end of the day, we need to wash up to 400 cars a day with five-star service, so we can’t take the our eye off that ball. A lot of people think of it as very black and white — is this stuff tactical or strategic? I think about it more like an allocation kind of a thing,” says Wingo.
“I think 90 percent of our energy should be put towards making today’s customer happy. However, we’re in a fast-moving world and if you put 100 percent of the day you can lose tomorrow very quickly. Right now we spend about 10 percent of our time thinking about future trends going on. It prevents us from having too many balls in the air and remain focused.”
He explains that while an autonomous car future is a discussion, he believes consumers will be looking at mixed roadways for a while.
“When we look at these vehicle trends, we think about how we are getting more efficient as a society, which means cars are idle less, which means more miles, higher usage and in the end, more services needed,” says Wingo. “Ultimately we want to be the go-to company for servicing these vehicles.”