Exchange Release: Shyft Auto


This article was written for our sponsor, Gig East.

From food delivery to transportation, fast and convenient Amazon-style service is becoming the norm. The next industry to pivot? Car repair.

Marcus Aman has spent years working in the automotive industry, dealing directly with customers and dealing with issues at dealerships. Now he has used his experience to make the industry more convenient than ever.

“I realized that there was a need for software to resolve some issues between consumer engagement and the processes in the repair shop. We started making software in 2018, and in March 2020, after having had a model of our product and testing it for a while, I asked other resellers to call me to use the solution. – I thought it was a good time to become an entrepreneur, ”said Aman.

Aman started Shyft Auto with the help of a previous client after posting his idea on Facebook. They applied to Wilson-based RIoT Accelerator program and offered to the Gig East Exchange and quit their previous jobs to pursue Shyft Auto full time.

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While Aman and his team already had a model of the product in use, the RAP Wilson program helped him step back and refine the platform while looking for the best avenues for future growth.

“It taught me a lot – it’s almost like a master’s program for entrepreneurs. That skips a lot of that stuffed animal and it comes down to the details, ”Aman said. “Since then, we have been able to connect with other companies that have participated in this program and listen to their stories, their challenges, their successes – it helps to be surrounded by like-minded people.

In the short time since joining the first RAP Wilson cohort, Shyft Auto has gone from zero paying customers to “something like 5,000% growth,” according to Aman. The company won an NC IDEA SEED grant and $ 50,000 in May 2020 and was recently named one of NC TECH’s Top 10 Startups to Watch.

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The Shyft Auto platform currently includes a consumer-oriented mobile app engagement platform that enables text messaging, images and videos of recommended repairs, as well as online payment, car loan management. and planning.

“If your car had to do an oil change and they noticed the brakes needed replacing, the store would take a picture or video and send you a message for you to approve or give you the option to pick up the phone. . and talk to someone, ”Aman said. “We have car loan management on the dealership or store side, consumers can also see which cars are available based on the services they are getting. Maybe the dealership says, “If a customer is planning more than 300 hours with us, I want to show them that they have the option of loaning a car then. “

While vehicle maintenance isn’t always the most exciting experience, Aman hopes Shyft Auto will make the whole process more user-friendly and efficient.

“It’s not supposed to be fun in a way, but it’s like going to the dentist. This is one of those things that you must do, even if you dread doing it, and you will need to do it at least twice a year. The pains for the consumer are either having to sit there and wait indefinitely, or being told they need a lot more than they are getting themselves into, ”said Aman. “When you use the technology to do it, it smooths the whole process. This way, the repair shop can retain the customer instead of having them go elsewhere next time out of frustration.

As Shyft Auto grows, the team’s commitment to Wilson remains. The company received special funding through an Opportunity Zone Grant, on the condition that its business was located in a rural opportunity zone.

Fortunately, they already had roots in Wilson with a base on the Exchange. They were able to locate a new building in the historic city center and are currently renovating the space into their new headquarters.

In the future, Aman hopes to see Shyft Auto increase the number of locations it serves. To achieve this goal, Wilson is the ideal base.

“It’s midway between Greenville and Raleigh, and as Raleigh continues to grow people are starting to move outside of Raleigh. Wilson has the fastest broadband in North Carolina, a strong entrepreneurial network and a real drive for revitalization, ”said Aman. “Every day I walk outside and can go to a local restaurant or store, which puts money back into the community. There’s just a lot going on, and I’m excited for it all. “

This article was written for our sponsor, Gig East.

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