Regular vehicle maintenance is not commonplace in Nigeria, despite the fact that around 90% of the over 12 million cars on roads are used vehicles. Even in instances where car owners are open to constant checks, existing service providers, the majority of whom are not formally trained and lack adequate equipment, are often inefficient and provide inconsistent service quality.

“When you consider the sheer number of used cars in Nigeria and the state of our roads, car maintenance isn’t optional,” says Olusegun Owoade, co-founder and CEO of Mecho Autotech, a startup that has set out to develop vehicle maintenance and high-quality repair culture in Nigeria.

The Y Combinator-backed Mecho Autotech on Wednesday said it has secured $2.15 million in a seed funding round which it claims was oversubscribed by over 300%. Investors that participated in the round include Future Africa, Ingressive Capital, Hoaq Capital, Cathexis Ventures, V8 Capital, Silver Squid, and Tekedia Capital.

The startup was launched in April 2021 by Owoade and COO Ayoola Akinkunmi and operates a digital platform that connects B2B and B2C customers with both in-house and third-party mechanics. 

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Mecho’s in-house capacity comprises 3 workshops—known as Mecho Shops—across Lagos, where it services corporate fleets and Mecho Mobile operations.

Its corporate clientele includes some of Nigeria’s popular brands such as Uber’s partner Moove, Tolaram Group, and UAC Group, with several other notable service-level agreements (SLAs) in progress. Mecho also expanded into B2C services with the launch of its app (available on both Android and iOS devices) in January and has a plan to grow that segment via a subscription service model.

On the app, users can enter their vehicle’s unique identification number (VIN) or basic vehicle information. Based on the vehicle’s specifications, the algorithm calculates a routine vehicle maintenance programme and subscription fee which can be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually. 

“Through automation, we want to make it easy, convenient, and affordable for Nigerians to access high-quality vehicle repair and maintenance,” adds Owoade. “We aspire to build a maintenance culture in the country and beyond to keep roads and people safe.”

Mecho also offers mobile service to meet a customer at their own location, if preferred, while customers can visit a workshop or partner garages for service. For business customers, Mecho Autotech can manage fleet-wide needs with flexibility to request repairs on demand. 

With the new funding, which the company claims in a statement is the largest investment to date for a vehicle maintenance startup in sub-Saharan Africa, Mecho Autotech plans to expand its multi-channel service capacity, engineering team, and marketing efforts for B2C acquisition.

“At Future Africa, our thesis is to back founders solving hard problems in large markets,” says Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, founder and General Partner at Future Africa, on the investment in Mecho. “With over 12 million cars on our roads, and more on the way, leveraging technology to bring order to vehicle maintenance and repair is overdue.”

By building out the vehicle repair value chain across Africa, Mecho is creating new skilled auto repair jobs. Since launch, the startup said it has onboarded over 7,000 third-party mechanics to its platform after they passed rigorous assessments.

More so, Mecho says it is developing a spare parts value chain that has already served over 100 third-party mechanics and several large ticket inventory purchases for B2B customers.

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Michael Ajifowoke West Africa Reporter, TechCabal

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