The cost of car ownership, for numerous reasons, has risen.
Supply pressures, among other things, are forcing consumers to seek affordability in parking, insurance and beyond.
Founded in 2016, Way.com, a fintech super app for car ownership, gives consumers the tools to save money.
Benzinga spoke with founder and CEO Binu Girija to learn more about the company’s $10 million fundraising via a SAFE note led by Agnus Capital, as well as visions for the future.
Benzinga: Nice to meet you Binu. Care to start off with an introduction?
Binu Girija: I’m one of the co-founders of Way.com. We started in 2015 and, prior to that, I had a couple of startups.
Some of them failed while others I exited. It was, overall, a great experience and I’m starting to see some lights at the end of the tunnel with this fourth venture.
That said, we’re making cars affordable for everyone.
I think most people don’t know that they spend nearly $9,000 on car expenditures every year. If you look at the U.S. national average, salaries come in at around $32,000.
When it comes to car expenses, you’re pretty much spending almost 30% of your salary.
What we’re doing is we are trying to cut down the expenses on cars. We’re making mobility affordable, rewarding and fully digital.
How are you approaching this venture differently?
At my previous organizations, I was more focused on the technology side. However, at this new organization, which is Way.com, I’m focused more on the business side.
Because of that, we’ve been able to grow our revenue by over 100% year-over-year making us very financially healthy.
Just in the last five years, we’ve reached nearly $200 million in gross sales and we’re looking forward to the end of this year with $300 million in gross sales.
We only started 14 months ago and so with $100 million in revenues, we’re probably one of the most capital-efficient companies in the Silicon Valley.
When the app is downloaded, what pops out?
When you download the app, you’re able to find a couple of services like parking, car insurance, auto financing, as well as savings on gas and car washes.
All of these are intended to save at least 10%-to-20% in terms of your average monthly car spend.
We’ve partnered with over 150 insurance companies and we’re one of the fastest-growing insurtechs in the United States.
I saw the news that Way.com raised $10 million in funds led by Agnus Capital with participation by Gokul Rajaram, Manik Gupta, and L+R Ventures. That has to be something you’re pretty proud of. Tell me more about this event.
We have board members from Pinterest Inc PINS and an ex-Uber Technologies Inc UBER head of product participating in this round.
We’re going to put some of the money toward acquisitions and maintaining our first-mover advantages.
Six months or so down the line. Where do you want to be?
We’re excited about growth.
Gas prices are rising and that’s going to push people toward EV purchases which will benefit Way.com as we also will help people make payments for EVs in our system.
We’re also going to help bring certainty to longer-distance EV travel.
Right now, if I wanted to take a Tesla Inc TSLA vehicle to Los Angeles from Silicon Valley, I wouldn’t. I may not have the certainty of finding EV charging stations in the middle.
How does regulatory innovation affect your business?
It doesn’t, really. We’re purely a marketplace.
Do you think you’re an acquisition target?
We have a lot more things to do.
From a product roadmap standpoint, we only have months filled up and we do have an easy pathway to get half a billion in revenue in the next three years.
Why the name Way.com?
I am a believer in building brands when it comes to forming companies.
We literally paid $350,000 for Way.com and got a $10 million offer from one of the popular internet companies in Silicon Valley.
If I were to establish a brand, in the future I don’t need to spend much more money on Alphabet Inc-owned GOOGL GOOG Google advertisements, for example.
I would rather invest in a brand and then monetize.
Advice for new entrepreneurs?
Tell your close ones that you’re going to do a venture and, for the next three years, ask them to not bother you.
It’s a journey and you need to decide whether you want to take it or not. Three years. Put your head down. Keep going.
As soon as you start the idea, ask yourself if you’re providing value. If people find it interesting, keep pushing. If it needs decent work, you need to get out of it immediately.
The money will come.
Anything else you want us to know before we conclude, today?
Recently I read an article on increasing loan payments and gas prices. We’re actually going to launch in June another program where for every gallon we’re going to give consumers 60-cents back.
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