Newcastle-based business WhoCanFixMyCar.com made the list of the top 50 most disruptive businesses in the UK in the Everline Future 50 awards, held in conjunction with Real Business.
The annual list, which this year included financial service firms and electric bicycle manufacturers, through to digital advertising companies and energy providers high-profile crowdfunding firm CrowdCube – was unveiled at a packed event held at LSO St Luke’s in London and hosted by comedian Chris Turner. It is dedicated to celebrating disruptive, early-stage companies that are triggering change in their respective markets, previous Everline Future 50 winners include Secret Escapes, JustPark and Made.com.
WhoCanFixMyCar.com was founded in 2011 by Ian Griffiths and Alistair Preston. The company helps to connect Britain's 32 million car owners with local garages, mobile mechanics and dealerships by sourcing car servicing and repair quotes from relevant businesses nationwide.
WhoCanFixMyCar.com was originally founded by two car enthusiasts who, despite their love for all things four-wheeled, admitted not only ignorance but also trepidation when it came to getting their cars serviced or repaired.
Griffiths and Preston knew that dealers were expensive for certain repairs, but professional, and that local alternatives were probably cheaper – but how could they really assess the best garage for their chosen repair?
WhoCanFixMyCar.com allows drivers to simply describe what they drive, where they live and what's wrong. Local garages will then provide a quotation. Critically, previous users review the garages. As such, new users can choose based on the feedback of their near-neighbours. The business takes a small commission from whichever garage wins the work.
To date, over 70,000 drivers have used the company to repair their car, with WhoCanFixMyCar working in collaboration with over 5,600 garages in the process.
“But we've only scratched the surface,” Griffiths said. “We're growing exponentially, with over 8,000 jobs set to be posted this month alone – compared to 1,300 a month a year ago – except that there are 32 million cars on the UK's roads.
“We also have some exciting investment news in the pipeline, as well as some game-changing technology that will transform the repair experience for drivers and mechanics alike, so watch this space! Our long-term ambition is that 'whocan' will become as much of a household name as lastminute.com or confused.com – and not just in the vehicle repair market. But we realise we’ve plenty of growing to do in the car market first.”
Judging was done by a panel led by Everline chief executive Russell Gould. Amy Carroll, group editor at Real Business, chaired the panel of judges which included Richard Gibson, chief financial officer at SwiftKey, Parveen Dhanda, city innovation incubator manager at City University, Trevor Hope, chief investment officer at Berinegea LLP and Clive Rich, chief executive of LawBite.
Gould said: “The calibre of businesses on this year’s list is testament to the wealth of innovation and creativity in the UK at the moment. SMEs are the bedrock of the economy, so it is great to see so many celebrated and recognised for being disruptive in their designated fields. I hope this year’s winners inspire a new wave of businesses and I look forward to watching their developments in the months and years ahead.”