COLDSKY.CN – Smart car wash service provider 1KMXC.COM (驿公里智能) has raised $30 million in C round funding from private equity firm ClearVue Partners(锴明资本) to boost R&D, business development and for a branding campaign.
Established in December 2013 in Shanghai, the start-up completed five financing rounds totalling 800 million yuan in 2019, including investment from Alibaba in January, Regent Capital (酉金资本) in April, and later PICC Capital Equity Investment (人保股权) and Centurium Capital (大钲资本).
The company said it has 1,400 outlets in 21 cities and provinces offering services to 2.5 million users and 1 million monthly orders. Data shows that 92% of its outlets have achieved profitability, according to 36kr.com (https://36kr.com/p/712586572339712).
What makes the company favored by the capital market is its self-developed equipment, original technologies and strong supply chain, allowing it better ready to manage production, control costs and upgrade facilities on its own instead of relying on other suppliers.
1KMXC said on its website that the car wash service is designed for automatic operation and is assisted with patented technologies such as the blackout emergency response, top brush safety control, efficient drying, car wash and wax liquid monitoring, and a water recycling system.
The EMO interaction system guides a driver to park the car precisely and have doors, mirrors and lights all prepared for cleaning. The ECO wash control system, powered by machine learning, collects and analyzes rich data of car specialties to constantly improve solutions in vehicle cleaning.
The company offers three kinds of services – express wash in 3 minutes for 10 yuan ($1.40), standard wash in 5 minutes for 12 yuan and premium wash and wax in 7 minutes for 15 yuan.
A glance at the start-up’s website shows most news reports about its service are by china.com, certainly not a wise choice for promotion publicity.
A number of O2O car wash service providers have closed in the past several years. Guagua Car Wash, launched in January 2015, went bankrupt in 2018 although it was backed by 58 Daojia (58 Home), a multi-category local services platform.
Data from itjuzi.com also showed decreasing capital flows into the automobile service sector after 2018.
One surprise for me is that another car wash service provider, Fast Car Wash(河南车洗捷智能科技有限公司) based in Zhengzhou City of Henan Province, had an almost identical company website design. Fast Car Wash said it was launched in June 2016 and supported by “a team led by elderly professor from Tsinghua University”. https://www.chexijie.com/index/product/cwjcarer.html#eco-system
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