Holding an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, Openbay is an online marketplace aimed at “transforming the experience for automotive repair and services for consumers and the way that automotive care businesses acquire and service customers,” according to founder and CEO Rob Infantino.
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The privately held company is based in Cambridge, Mass., and backed by an array of investors that include Stage 1 Ventures, Boston Seed Capital and GV (formerly Google Ventures).
Although currently centered on American shops and drivers, Openbay aspires to eventually broaden its reach into other nations, especially Canada, Infantino said.
“Probably sometime this year we’ll make a move into that area,” he reports. “There are still some things that we need to do with the platform. Our focus is more on the product for repair providers and consumers rather than more expansion.”
In December Openbay announced that it is partnering with eBay Motors to make available millions of searchable parts and accessories. Through this collaboration with eBay, “businesses can research, source and acquire automotive parts directly through the Openbay dashboard,” says Infantino, who recently responded to a series of questions posed by Aftermarket Business World.
Q: What is the history of Openbay? When was it established?
A: The genesis behind Openbay came through a personal experience I had with getting my car serviced. I felt I had been unfairly treated, and that there had to be a better way. That night I went home and searched online for one site where I could find local, trustworthy mechanics that would provide high quality service at a fair price. But I couldn’t find anything. That was the genesis of Openbay – an online marketplace that allowed customers to compare quotes, read customer reviews and book service with repair shops that provide high-quality service in their neighborhoods. I launched Openbay in October of 2013 and I lined up some investors. That was the initial vision and it hasn’t changed since the company’s inception.
Q: What services does Openbay provide?
A: We have two customers on our platform. One customer is the consumer and the other customer is the shop. For the shop owner we’re introducing new online customers to them – we convert them from a visitor online (to Openbay) to a customer, especially millennials.