Spotawheel knows a lot about high speeds. Although it was founded relatively recently, in 2016, it is today the fastest growing startup in Greece and, according to the Financial Times, one of the fastest growing companies in Europe. The turnover of the company, which with the use of technology transforms the process of selling and buying used-cars, has risen in five years from 446,796 euros to over 10€ millions. What does Spotawheel have to offer to the huge used-cars market? The answer is that it offers exactly what the customers look for: reliability and transparency.
Charis Arvanitis, the CEO and cofounder of the company, talked to Outliers, Endeavor Greece’s podcast series, whose media partner is MoneyReview, about how the idea of the startup was born and what contributed to its fastest growth.
Mr. Arvanitis studied Economics at the University of Piraeus, completed his MBA in USA, and when he returned to Greece he was fortunate enough to join McKinsey, where he worked for 6 years. His three-year tenure in Cosmote, just after McKinsey, was a very important “school”. At that point, having acquired important experience and a practical problem to resolve, he felt it was the right time to perform the “long-jump” and establish his own company.
“All great ideas arise from problem-solving. In our case, the issue was that from one kid we went to three, and we were in need of a bigger car,” he says. “For three long months I had been trying to find a reliable safe used car,” he adds. This is how Spotmechanic was born, which provided people who wanted to buy or sell a used a car with a reliable and quick inspection at the place where the car was located.
“At first, we thought that our custommers would be of two different types: owners (who wanted to justify their selling price) and buyers. In the end, our customers were primarily buyers, as transparency was to their advantage,” he adds.
At some point, the founders of the company realized that Spotmechanic brought the problem to light, but it did not actually solve it; after the customer was aware that
they were not satisfied with the car they had brought in for inspection, they wanted to know where they could find a reliable car. “So we came up with Spotawheel, and our primary goal is to evolve into the Amazon of the used-cars market,” he points out.
The startup is based on a very strong online model with a lot of analytics, but it offers a large number of services too. At first, it operated as a broker. “As we had neither the funds nor the know-how to buy cars ourselves, we acted as intermediaries. The customer would meet Spotawheel, and not the previous owners. So, the owners would not go through all the selling process and meet with the buyers,” the CEO says.
As the company kept growing rapidly, they were soon capable of buying cars and selling them to the end-customer. “This is an extremely heavy model that requires funding and asset management,” he says.
The company has established a strong presence in Poland. How did it succeed? “We had a very good idea of what would work and what would not. We have changed our model quite a few times, so that the customer feels comfortable. Other companies did not prove to be so flexible,” Mr. Arvanitis says.
He has a piece of advice to offer to all those who aspire to become outliers: “Be open to new ideas and be ready to acknowledge your mistakes. An Outlier is a person who changes things dramatically. If you want to succeed, you have to know when you are mistaken.”
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