Rob Infantino, founder and CEO of Openbay, said the company “has pole position in the do-it-for-me (DIFM) auto repair market, and AutoZone is an auto parts leader for professional shops and do-it-yourself (DIY) vehicle repair.
“While the relationship is a logical one, it's thrilling that our startup has earned the attention and trust of AutoZone, a publicly traded Fortune 500 company. Openbay is gaining momentum, thanks to our innovative, hassle-free approach to auto repair.”
Openbay said it has used the Boston area as its test track for new initiatives and will use the region as the pilot market for the new alliance with AutoZone.com. The company noted that annual automotive aftermarket service sales account for more than $2 billion in the Greater Boston region and more than $6 billion statewide.
It also claims that by helping consumers comparison shop for automotive repair and maintenance service, its online marketplace saves them “upward of 50 percent by shops competing for their business.”
In 2015, the company launched OpenbayConnect, which it called a “first-of-its-kind car repair service to remotely determine the cause and cost of automotive repairs.” On its website, Openbay describes Connect — which it calls "Your Personal Mechanic" — as operating like this:
- “Tell us your auto repair needs — or tell us what issues you're having and we'll help diagnosis the problem”;
- “Compare quotes for repair and maintenance service from mechanics near you. Openbay provides quotes from auto repair shops near you. Estimate includes parts, labor and taxes. Compare quotes based on price, distance and ratings”; and
- “Select, book and pay securely through Openbay. Earn Rewards, too. Lock in your appointment with a credit card and select appointment times that work for you. Openbay handles the payment after your service is completed. Your service is added to your maintenance history. And you earned rewards toward future service.”
In April, Openbay also began supporting Apple Pay's availability on Openbay's mobile app. Mr. Infantino said that with Apple Pay, “we continue to innovate and maintain a first-mover advantage for vehicle repair. The perceived nuisance of getting one's car or truck serviced is becoming virtually frictionless.”
Using Apple Pay can be beneficial for both the automotive repair shop and for the consumer, Openbay claims. Consumers can use an easy and secure option to pay for automotive repair and maintenance services with Apple's payment service, while providers benefit by lowering their risk of responsibility for fraudulent charges. Businesses may now accept Apple Pay without having to upgrade their point-of-sale terminals, the firm added.
Openbay is privately held, with its investors including Google Ventures, a16z seed, Boston Seed Capital, Stage 1 Ventures and several individual investors.
As of February, AutoZone operated 5,042 stores in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as well as 411 stores in Mexico, five stores in Brazil and 18 IMC branches for a total count of 5,476.
Openbay's mobile app can be downloaded by clicking here.