The three-day competition involving 30 start-ups crowned a new "disruptor" Wednesday in San Francisco.
A tense, three-day start-up competition in San Francisco that started with 30 companies and was whittled down to seven finalists, ended Wednesday night with a new champion: YourMechanic.
YourMechanic and the six other finalists pitched their start-up ideas at the 2012 TechCrunch Disrupt competition in front of a number of high-profile judges including TechCrunch editors, venture capitalists, and Yahoo's Marissa Mayer.
In the final round, the judges had a diverse set of ideas to pick from: an all-electric, self-balancing motorcycle, a mobile gift card platform, and an iPad app that can analyze conversations, among others.
But the winning idea was rather simple. YourMechanic founder Art Agrawal describes the company as an online marketplace for car maintenance. The site offers a selection of contracted, certified mechanics and transparent pricing. As a result, the start-up, Agrawal told the judges, is beneficial for both parties. In fact, mechanics are currently selling their services independently on Craigslist. YourMechanic promises to make the connection easier and also works with parts companies to get those delivered and installed quickly. With a click of a button, YourMechanic can send a mechanic to fix your car at work, at home, and even on the side of the road.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based start-up was a product of Y Combinator’s Winter 2012 class.
Besides a cup, which the previous Disrupt winner Uber Conference relinquished, and some serious bragging rights, the company received a check for $50,000. At the start of the week, YourMechanic reported $1.8 million in funding--with investments from big name backers like Y Combinator, Ashton Kutcher, and, incidentally two of the final judges, including the founder of TechCrunch and VC firm CrunchFund Mike Arrington.
MAEGHAN OUIMET is a business and culture reporter whose work has appeared in Boston Magazine and Rolling Stone. She covers technology start-ups and innovations from the San Francisco bureau for Inc.com. @MaeghanO