Eximap drives growth in the car aftermarket
Why waste time trying to find a good repair workshop or spare parts dealer, when the information is already at hand?
It’s a rare breed of person who doesn’t succumb to the Monday morning blues. Pasi Pohjala, it must be said, is one such individual. For him this much-derided day is met much like any other of the week: tinged with excitement.
Pohjala has felt this way ever since getting behind the wheel of emerging startup Eximap a couple of years ago, leaving a seasoned career at Nokia in his dust.
“Every day is different – that’s why Monday mornings are not such a bad thing,” the company’s CEO and partner enthuses down the line from his Tampere office, on a typically chilly start to the Finnish working week. “It’s an exciting future ahead.”
Certainly it is – Eximap is strategically parked in a space that’s set to take off for the automotive industry.
Based in Finland’s third-largest city, Eximap focuses on cloud services and smartphone applications. Targeting those who seek immediate and personal car-related services on their smartphones, its Automopus app enables users to find the nearest service stations, repair workshops and spare parts.
“Digitalisation is now impacting on car aftermarket services, big time,” Pohjala states. “The whole automotive industry is undergoing its biggest change in its 130-year history.”
Pohjala compares this shift to that experienced by the travel industry, with customers now expecting to find the best service provider easily and quickly online.
“It’s a good time business-wise to bring this onto the market,” he says.
Automopus sets out to benefit both drivers and service providers alike, as the driving experience becomes increasingly digitalised.
“We have a lot of data in our cloud about cars that have been registered with Automopus,” Pohjala states. “We know when your car needs a service, and can enable service providers to get in touch with you proactively at the right time with the right offer. This ease is the key thing.”
The flip side of this of course means that service providers also have a personalised targeted marketing channel with which to reach driving consumers. Eximap is also exploring other options for its free service that tap into the app’s potential, including keeping a diary of fuel consumption.
“We have a long list of features that we will test and see how end users react and accept them,” Pohjala says. “That’s the only way how we can make Automopus better.”
Mapping out international roads
Eximap has secured 350 000 euros in funding since firing up the ignition three years ago. Now, the company is staring at the open road, with international growth beckoning on the horizon.
“Markets like Germany are already big; the car is central part of your life there,” Pohjala observes. “We are looking at a new round of investment later this year to enter Germany.”
And how do they hope to stand out in the crowded rush hour that is Central Europe’s business environment?
“Our Nordic flavour should help us,” Pohjala admits. “Also, if you can’t show you aren’t changing things and adding value in your own market, then it is difficult to get German consumers and businesses interested.”
This shouldn’t be a problem, a point that Pohjala is keen to drive home. Eximap’s ranks have now swollen to 11 employees, directly reflecting customer enthusiasm for its ideas.
“We try to be innovative in everything we do.”
Text: James O’Sullivan