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Elevator Pitch: Can Carvoyant Raise $1.5 Million

Carvoyant helps car owners spot problems before they happen. Will investors give the start-up a green light for $1.5 million?
On a Roll Carvoyant co-founders, from left: Bret Tobey, Matt Galvin, and Renz Kuipers at a Tampa Bay-area auto-repair shop

Company: Carvoyant

Co-Founders: Matt Galvin, Renz Kuipers, and Bret Tobey

Location: Tampa

Employees: 1

Launched: November 2011 (private beta)

2012 Projected Revenue: $900,000

Cost for Drivers: $29.99 for system hardware

Commission from Repair Shops: 2 percent

Number of Users: 300

Number of Registered Repair Shops: 24

Previous Funding: $87,000 from angel investors and seed fund Gazelle Lab

Funding Sought: $1.5 million


The Pitch: "Carvoyant is a health record for your car. Unlike other car-repair apps, our platform detects car-performance issues and connects car owners to mechanics. Owners plug a small translator device into their vehicle; the device sends diagnostic data to our system. If there's a problem, we alert local repair shops, which can then pitch their services. With our app, users can select the shop that's most convenient. If they choose a repair shop that's registered with us, we take a commission of the repair fee from the shop. We also plan to sell the aggregate data on our users' auto diagnostics to repair shops and insurance companies to provide better insights about their customers."

The Experts Weigh In

Partner with Carmakers

I like the market Carvoyant is going after. It's greater than $1 billion, and it's growing pretty rapidly. But the standards are loose for the technology that Carvoyant's system uses—some translators don't work with older vehicles. Perhaps the founders should think about working with auto manufacturers as strategic partners, rather than selling the translator as an aftermarket part. This pitch would get them a foot in the door, but I think they're asking for too much money right now. It would be better to raise $500,000 first to gain some customer traction.
—Dennis Pape, Managing Director, Central Florida Technology Ventures, Orlando

Data is Critical

This is an interesting concept. What Carvoyant is really after is getting information on car owners. For investors, the collection of customer data is the Holy Grail, so the company may be onto something. But so far, all the founders have is the assumption that insurance companies and auto dealers want this data and will be willing to pay for it. There's no indication here of how they will get people to install the device or sign up repair shops. The founders will have to prove that they can expand rapidly enough so that they can gather the data they're promising on a meaningful scale.
John May, Managing Partner, New Vantage Group, Vienna, Virginia

Focus on Diagnostics

Carvoyant offers a proactive monitor on a car's health, which I think has appeal. I think that diagnostic tool is more interesting than the idea of creating a network of qualified mechanics. Most car owners already have a trusted mechanic, and probably few of them are in the market to switch. Plus, the network feature creates an avenue for auto shops to bombard customers with marketing offers. I think Carvoyant should be able to charge more than just a one-time fee for its diagnostic tool. A monthly fee seems quite reasonable, so that the company can continue to improve it and keep customers engaged.
—Rhys Williams, President, New World Angels, Boca Raton, Florida

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