MORRISVILLE – Startups often look to investors for more than money.
Knowledge. Mentorship. Introduction to customers and business partners. Intellectual capital.
But in the case of Spiffy’s investment in an India-based startup the deal is a two-way street.
So says Scot Wingo, the serial entrepreneur and investor who backs Triangle car maintenance startup Spiffy. As CEO of Spiffy, he has met with the leadership of Refreshed. Based in Mumbai, the startup offers knowledge from which Spiffy can benefit, he explains.
“Even though we are announcing the investment [Tuesday], we have learned a ton from Refreshed already and have shared a lot of the best practices we have discovered,” Wingo says. “For example, the Indian market is a daily wash market. While car ownership is more rare than the U.S., the folks that do have cars tend to wash them daily because it’s a very dusty, muddy, rainy environment.”
Having met the Refreshed team, Wingo says the firms sought way to work together.
“We first came across Refreshed from some press they garnered in India in January,” he says. “We attend a big annual car wash convention in Las Vegas every Feb and they happened to be there too so that was the first time we met. We’ve been working on a way to work together since then and this is the culmination of those discussions.”
A deal too good to pass up
Wingo declined to disclose how much Spiffy invested in the deal but did acknowledge the funds came from the $7.5 million Series A round that Spiffy raised earlier this year.
“I’d describe it as a minority investment and Refreshed is earlier stage than we are,” he says.
Asked why invest some of its capital in another company, Wingo says the Spiffy board saw the deal as too good to ignore.
“We spend a lot of time at the board level discussing all of the areas we can invest,” he points out. “We felt like this was a rare opportunity to invest in a company that 100 percent shares our view of the world in what we believe will be one of the top five markets for on-demand car washing. So we didn’t want to let that pass us by.”