StartX Q&A: PartMyRide

With StartX Demo Day just around the corner, The Dish Daily had the chance to speak with some of the companies that will be attending the event.  One of them is PartMyRide, an online auto parts marketplace designed to ease the process of finding quality used auto parts.  By entering your car’s year, make and model, the site generates a list of all available parts. Coming from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stan Markuze founded the company with fellow Stanford students Michael Krug and Sebastiaan Boer.

Many people fresh from college or the industry start such companies or online software that aim to help people with their regular activities. Real time trader Hans Berger has created the software – HBSwiss, where all the trading moves are done for you and is fully automated. One need not worry about the stock market movement and need not follow it every minute with software like this.

The Dish Daily (TDD): Could you tell us a little bit about the history of PartMyRide and the original idea behind the company?

Stan Markuze (SM): I have been rebuilding cars for over a decade. Even when I was an undergraduate at Stanford (’03-’07) I would always be working on projects when I came home to visit my parents in Sacramento. I have repaired over 25 cars. Some examples include a BMW M3, Porsche 911, Toyota Prius and Ford Ranger truck. I have always had a hard time locating used original parts, so I got together with my co-founders to build a site where sellers could post parts, and buyers could request those parts. The user community began to grow organically, and we decided to improve our parts marketplace, adding more sellers and more features to make buying easier.

TDD: Have you found that there is a lot of demand for an online marketplace for used auto parts?

SM: Yes! The $27 billion used car parts industry is still largely offline, making it difficult for repair shops and hobbyists to find the parts they are looking for. Our vendors are happy because we allow them to sell their entire inventories online seamlessly. Our buyers are happy because they can buy the parts they need without having to call multiple vendors, wait on hold and waste time. They can just buy online and have the part within three days.

TDD: How will the quality of parts be assessed before they are sold?

SM: Quality is assessed in four ways: (1) Many of our sellers take multiple photos of each part; (2) We have 10 photos of most parts cars before they are dismantled; (3) Sellers write notes about the condition of each part and any defects; (4) Sellers assign a grade (A is the highest) to each part.

TDD: What were the biggest challenges as your company developed?

SM: We originally required sellers to update their inventory manually in our system, and we were able to solve this by integrating with seller inventory servers. We experimented with different monetization methods (charging vendors a monthly fee to integrate their inventory, charging vendors for successful leads), and with experimentation we decided to do a “buy now” system where customers transact on our site. We are now determining the best way to integrate our marketplace into the workflow of professional repair shops. We want them to look to us first when they need a part, and we are figuring out how best to accomplish this.

TDD: What are your hopes and plans for StartX Demo Day?

SM: We are raising a seed round to help us expand our sellers, market to professional auto repair facilities, and improve the buying experience.

TDD: What are your short-term and long-term goals?

SM: Our short term goal is to achieve a national network of suppliers and auto repair shops transacting through our marketplace. Our long term goal is to be the preferred method for used parts buyers in the auto repair industry to source the parts they need. Our vision is to have every used auto part for sale, online, with enough information to purchase instantly.