Beepbeep.ph chief Anton Ojeda
AS automobile owners already know, owning a vehicle does not end with driving it out of the dealership. There is the need to maintain and repair them, and these demand not only a lot of cash and effort, but more important, time.
Enter Anton Ojeda’s beepbeep.ph platform, which is designed to make car ownership more convenient. First among its features is a database of service providers in the Greater Metro Manila area. These range from auto dealer casas to midsized mechanic shops like Rapide to small talyer and vulcanizing shops.
“We did not crowdsource our list; we found them ourselves by going to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), business centers and car establishments,” Ojeda said.
“Initially, we thought there would be about 2,000 to 3,000, and we were surprised that there were 7,000 of them, and those are the ones with business permits. We did not include those…not registered on our list…to protect our users,” he added.
That directory, in itself, already answered a need, and people were already logging on to find what shop was near them, what it specialized in and, if possible, the estimated cost of the service they needed, according to the beepbeep.ph chief.
“Simply going on Google will not give you that information,” he said.
Ojeda did not stop there, of course. The platform also offers a specialized concierge service, in which users can have their designated drivers pick up their car from a house and bring it to and from the repair shop.
“It is not only a question of finding a reliable service station, but the matter of physically bringing the car in to the casa or talyer. Everybody is busy during the week, so there are long lines at the repair shops on Fridays and weekends. This takes up so much time away from doing other things you want to do on those days. Then, if you have to leave your car, it is a matter of picking it up, especially if it is scheduled on a weekday,” he said.
With beepbeep.ph, car owners can book a driver to come over to safely drive off to the shop.
“We take safety and security seriously,” Ojeda said. The drivers have body cams, and the company installed a dashcam on the car that can also be tracked via GPS. It also has a checklist of items, and owner and driver have to look over the car before it leaves. This is to ensure that nothing will go missing and the car will not come back with new dings.”
Beepbeep drivers are carefully screened and not outsourced. They are professional license holders, and have to pass a course and driving tests “to weed out the crazy drivers,” he added.
A third offering is towing, roadside service, and in the case of its mobile carwash, even home service.
“If your car is immobile, we can send a flatbed to pick it up. If you get stuck on the road, our partners can go to you too, 24/7. This is also especially important for those who are scared to get out of their cars, especially at night,” Oheda said.
“One other important thing is that we fixed towing rates, because sometimes the rate depends on how much an unscrupulous tow operator thinks you can pay. Our rates are fixed and you can even pay online,” he added.
Ojeda is no stranger to marketing and in technology-based startups. His previous work experiences involved online game publishing (“We don’t make the games, we just told people what was out there”); TV shopping for a network; and more recently, Zomato, a platform for people to review restaurants and view their menu.
“I’ve always been into technology, into innovation and startups. It doesn’t matter what industry it is in. I could be doing this for shoes — and I think there’s a need for it,” he said, laughing. “I am a gadget guy and if I were not doing this, I would be making reviews. If there was something called Unboxing Anonymous, I would need to sign up for it!”
Beepbeep.ph emerged from his own experience. “I was due to bring my car to a friend’s repair shop, and my driver quit that week. I told my friend about my predicament, and he told me that he could have his trusted mechanic pick up my car at home. I enjoyed the convenience, and asked him why he does not offer that service to others. He told me that he did not have the capability for it. Then that got me to thinking about building the platform. Fortunately, I found people to believe in it and invest — friends and people I have worked with before. We are an all-Filipino group,” Ojeda said proudly.
When beepbeep.ph started out, people gave it three months before folding up. One year later, Ojeda and his team are expanding to offer the platform nationwide by mid-2019, and it has garnered enough interest to consider bringing the service to other Southeast Asian countries.
“In the tech startup community here and now, it is always ‘investment, investment, investment.’ We took a different approach with ‘business, business, business.’ We will see if it is a good one. So far, so good,” he said, grinning.
Their revenue comes from advertisers that are not necessarily repair shops and car dealerships. “We have insurance companies and banks,” Ojeda explained. “They reach out to our audience with their products, to show what insurance options are out there.”
He is also branching out into offline engagement. The company is set to mount the Manila Autocon at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City from January 31 to February 3. Its special guest is Filipino-American former wrestler-turned-actor Dave Batista, who plays Drax the Destroyer in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
“Most expos around the world are an overall show, not just on a specific thing. That is what we want to do here. We want to make it world-class. How do we do that? We have to have some world-class things happening,” Ojeda said.
Their car show would be something that everyone can enjoy, he added, to differentiate it from the usual ones that draw only men by showcasing car models — not the ones on wheels, but female ones.
“It’s not just guys who buy cars; women buy cars, too. It’s not just the husbands who decide; their wives decide, too. Their kids should also be able to go. It should be a family experience.”
The first day will be a convention featuring industry entrepreneurs, thought leaders, game changers and innovators scheduled to speak on a variety of topics before an estimated 500 attendees.
“We have lined up a formidable selection of resource persons to share their insights about digitalization, business expansion, new technology, consumer trends and public relations in the automotive realm. It’s all about getting the industry up to speed on best practices and cutting-edge technology that will help shape and assure our future in mobility,” Ojeda said.
Aside from the talks and entertainment numbers, there will also be two exhibits: one on cars and the other on accessories, including for maintenance and mechanical repair, body repair, paints and wraps, wheels and tires, and other services and products. Other highlights include a die-cast car display, a drift-box course and even a car auction.
Ojeda views the latest tech developments with excitement, especially those that rethink the way things are usually done.
“What I look forward to as tech and our accessibility to it gets better is that it serves as a medium to offer better quality and convenience. With a review platform, for example, people can share their good or bad experiences with a hotel or restaurant, and it pushes the big and small industry to do better,” he said.
“It allows us at beepbeep.ph to offer convenience in vehicle maintenance. Shopping apps takes out the need to go out of the home and contend with traffic. So many things are possible, and I believe that there’s so much more that can be developed.”
For more information on beepbeep.ph’s services and updates on the Manila Autocon, visit www.beepbeep.ph or their official Facebook page.