Backing the Two-Wheeler Resurgence: Why we Invested in BeepKart

Abhijit S GUPTA | 31 Oct 2022

Being the lifeline of millions of Indian households, two-wheelers in India are everywhere, with over 240 million on the roads in India today. On one hand, new two-wheeler sales alone contribute to 7% of India’s manufacturing GDP. On the other, vehicle penetration in India is still significantly lower than in developed economies. With just over 200 motor vehicles for every 1000 people in India (versus 800 motor vehicles per 1000 people in the US), there is significant headroom as the Indian economy grows.

Two-wheeler sales would arguably be one of the largest e-commerce categories if taken online. This seems plausible borrowing the observed trend from the used car market: with 2021 being the hallmark year for used car companies globally. In India, we saw an IPO, an IPO filing, and two unicorns emerging from this space. Moreover, there are typically more units of used vehicles sold than new vehicles. To illustrate, in most developed economies, there are 3+ used cars sold per new car sold – the number in India has hovered around 2 used cars/new car. Hence, we believe similar trends would be observed in the two-wheeler market too.

We’re pleased to announce our partnership with BeepKart, leading their US $9m Series A investment with participation from existing investors, Stellaris Venture Partners and Chiratae Ventures. With core customer needs becoming more prominent in such a large category, the following prompted us to back BeepKart’s journey. Let’s dive in.

A Large, Ubiquitous Market: A Lemonade-from-Lemons opportunity?

Source: Leveraging India's two-wheeler population to solve its traffic woes, Times of India

Two-wheelers in India needs no further introduction as a market; the packed roads say it all. However, used two-wheeler sales have many unique traits as a category, making this ripe for disruption.

For starters, unlike a new mass-produced two-wheeler, every single used two-wheeler is different. Counterintuitively, this is as un-commoditized a market as they come by. Year of make, model, manufacturer, colour, mileage, accident history, defects - the list of additional parameters that considerably vary goes on. On top of that, a two-wheeler is fairly fast-moving, not overly priced, and occupies less area, making it a viable option for offline merchants. Hence, a significant chunk of the market is unorganized with hundreds of small local dealers operating in any city. This leads to a lack of price visibility, leaving the customer confused about how much to pay for a used two-wheeler.****

In a market as offline and fragmented as this, there is a lack of trust. The vehicles could look fine but not function properly, the components could be tampered with, the documentation could be a hassle, and offline merchants usually do not take responsibility for quality and a reliable post-purchase experience.****

A typical offline retailer - usually with limited assortment, no price visibility, and a risk of lemons

This leaves two sub-optimal options for the customer - either find potential sellers in their social circles or check online on listing platforms, Facebook groups etc, both of which are cumbersome and unreliable.

In a broken market where there is no trust or convenience, BeepKart’s product offerings dramatically transform the buying experience. Over 250 parameters of a bike are evaluated before listing, and the customer can go through a detailed list and images.

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BeepKart also specifies a selling price to the customer upfront, determined by their proprietary algorithm in the backend which takes into account several data points and benchmarks.

The purchase experience is also much more seamless than ever before. Customers can get a good idea of the catalogue online, visit a centre offline, and even order a home test ride and try the vehicle at their doorstep. Post-purchase, BeepKart manages the documentation transfer and offers warranty and financing that aren’t typically offered today in an organized, end-to-end manner. ****

BeepKart offers trust at every touchpoint during the purchase journey. Consumers can now be more assured of their two-wheeler purchase, which is after all a sizeable spend of a typical Indian family’s income.

An increasingly sophisticated, digitally driven customer

A preference for personal mobility is on the rise, driven by tailwinds from the COVID pandemic as well as shared transport options not offering a reliable experience. As with most categories, the increasingly savvy Indian customer is motivated to research online before buying a two-wheeler. Interestingly, this observed behaviour is stronger across Tier 2 India. According to a survey by Google, 50% of buyers would consider buying a two-wheeler online if given an option, a number which goes up to 67% in Tier 2 cities.

Almost 3 out of 4 buyers watch online videos to decide on a vehicle, with 90% taking an action after watching an online video. 50% of the buyers also find their dealers online via Google search.****

From Google’s Auto Gear Shift India 2020 Report on Two-Wheeler purchase behaviour

An intent to sell two-wheelers online exists too. At any point in time, OLX’s marketplace alone has over 150,000 to 200,000 live listings of two-wheelers for sale. Usually, the number of listings in a non-metro city is comparable to (if not better than) that of a metro when viewed on a per-capita basis. That said, the purchase and the post-purchase journeys are still just as broken, and the quoted price for the exact vehicle with similar parameters varies considerably on listing platforms (and is open to the hassle of negotiation and vehicle transfer).

Another broadly unmet need today is financing. Most new cars are financed today, but only 20-30% of used cars are purchased with a loan. For used two-wheelers, the number is far lower, just given how unorganized the market is. BeepKart bridges this gap with financing already available on its platform, in addition to its efforts to organize the market while objectively assessing the two-wheelers.

Along with these tailwinds, recent structural changes in the two-wheeler market open up more avenues. Newly-launched BS6 emissions standards have led to a quantum jump in new two-wheeler prices. Moreover, the existing offline market has limited experience with EV two-wheelers which are rapidly growing as a new category.

BeepKart’s digital shopping experience eliminates several hassles in purchasing a used two-wheeler, by removing fragmented intermediaries and information asymmetry. This experience is supported by a scalable, technology-led operations backbone. With Hemir and Abhishek leveraging their experiences of operating sizeable businesses earlier, we’re excited to support them in this journey!

We at Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India are excited about the resurgence of the mobility sector post-pandemic and are actively looking at investment opportunities in the domain. We have published our thoughts on the Indian mobility landscape here. Do drop us a note if you’re building in the space in India and Southeast Asia.

Read the original article on our medium here.

Image Credit: YourStory

About BeepKart

BeepKart is building a buyer focused brand of used 2-wheelers. It is taking a digital-first approach to provide the trust that buyers seek in this high consideration & involvement category. BeepKart is helping write buyer-friendly rules to make the experience of buying and owning a used 2-wheeler as haggle-and-hassle free as with new 2-wheelers. The team has backgrounds in serial entrepreneurship, building category leaders, tech venture capital, mobility and in fast scaling start-up operations. For more information on BeepKart, visit https://beepkart.com/

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