Wrench was born out of a culture of convenience.
Modern tech lets us order takeout, get a ride or stream a movie with just a few taps on a screen. But the effects of this on-demand movement has yet to be felt by a handful of industries.
Auto service and repair is one of them.
Taking your car into the shop is almost always an inconvenience. It can be an expensive and opaque process that often means temporarily losing your main method of transportation.
So instead of making you take your car to a mechanic to get serviced, Wrench sends the mechanic to you. And the company’s on-demand mechanic business is about to get a lot more traction, thanks to a $20 million Series C funding round announced on Thursday.
People can get their car serviced by going onto the Wrench app, entering their car’s information and selecting the type of work they want done. Wrench will then ask when and where to schedule the appointment, and send a mechanic during the scheduled time slot.
Unlike other on-demand apps, these mechanics are classified as Wrench employees, not independent contractors. That’s because being a mechanic is a highly specialized job, and the company wants to hire and retain the best talent it can get.
“We’re not connecting you to a random person to fix your car, the Wrench system is end-to-end,” Ed Petersen, CEO of Wrench, told Built In. “Think of it like a Mac computer. We built our operating system specifically for our hardware. In this case, our operating system is our software and our hardware is our mechanics. Because we do things end-to-end, we control the quality, and that’s reflected in our customer satisfaction and repeat customer rates.”
Wrench also services businesses that use vehicle fleets — this includes businesses like armored car companies or local electric companies. Petersen told Built In that it takes auto shops an average of two days to work on these vehicles, which means those vehicles are out of commission for that time. Wrench is able to get these jobs done in an average of two hours, which saves these fleet companies time and money.
Wrench is based in Seattle and operates in 20 markets across the country, but Wrench sees the demand for its services as even bigger than that. The company plans to use this Series C funding to expand into more markets, and grow its presence in the markets it already operates in.
Petersen is also excited about the tech platform the company uses to help its mechanics diagnose car troubles.
“We’re really focused on using conversational AI, so we can walk someone through a handful of questions and then narrow down what’s wrong with the car and why,” he told Built In. “Something we want to do with our technology is to allow customers to diagnose what’s wrong with their car without ever having to talk to somebody.”
That vision sounds a lot more convenient than dealing with an auto shop.