More than two months ago, Zirx pivoted away from being an on-demand valet service to focus exclusively on the enterprise. Today, the company announced its launch mobility service, a platform targeting automotive companies to not only manage vehicle transportation logistics, but also provide a better experience to their customers.
Since its founding in 2014, Zirx has focused on helping you park cars, whether you were a private user or a business customer. But the company didn’t see profitability with its valet service so it went all in on the enterprise. With Zirx Mobility Services, it’s providing a full stack logistics offering to auto makers, dealerships, and fleet owners. Services include delivering cars from a customer to be repaired or from one dealership to another. Essentially, Zirx has white-labeled its valet service specifically for auto companies.
“The automotive industry is in a period of big change, more change than it’s ever had,” Zirx CEO Sean Behr told VentureBeat. “The industry as a whole is worried that people are going to buy fewer cars and that this company called Uber is posing a threat to their bread and butter business. It makes them move in the space to deliver a better customer experience and address this gap in the changing market.”
He described Zirx Mobility Services as a full-service platform, one that gives companies a dashboard to manage requests and an API to integrate into their own apps. In addition to the six cities where Zirx previously offered its consumer service, it has added Boston and Chicago. Behr explained that with his company’s pivot, market expansion is now dictated by demands from companies in those cities.
Zirx Mobility Services is purely business-focused, meaning that consumers can’t use it to have their cars parked — in fact, Zirx has eliminated its parking garages. However, if BMW wanted to offer a service where it would pick up a customer’s vehicle when it needed servicing, gas, or washing, that would be among the capabilities of Zirx’s platform.
Zirx’s Mobility Services can manage logistics for multiple vehicles, and its algorithm optimizes the process so agents are used more efficiently. Zirx has moved away from its one-size flat-fee model, saying that a usage-based pricing plan is needed — companies are charged based on time and distance.
Behr offered this scenario: “Imagine if you rent a car, but find that you need a larger vehicle? They can have a Chevy Tahoe show up at your front door on Friday at 5 p.m., they tell you what it costs, you sign the paperwork, and there you go. Then you get home on Sunday night, the last thing you want to do is bring the car back to the rental car center and fill it up with gas. The company can come pick it up from you for a surcharge…”
Businesses can use Zirx’s web-based console to request pickup or delivery of a vehicle, or they can integrate Zirx’s mobility service directly into their own platforms through the open API. “Most companies run this stuff with paper and pen,” Behr explained. “It’s a replacement of paper and pen spreadsheets, emails, and printouts.”
Although he wouldn’t disclose specific names, Behr acknowledged that “a couple dozen” companies have already signed up for Zirx’s service. He also stated that because of Zirx’s pivot, it expects to turn a profit in all of the eight markets where it operates by May. While the whole company won’t turn a profit by then, Behr said it could sometime this year.
Zirx also announced today that it has partnered with Openbay and BAMA Commercial Leasing on the launch of its mobility services. Openbay specializes in helping you get auto repairs and maintenance done on your vehicles, something that Zirx believes its service can facilitate — you find a place to take your car, and it’ll have an agent come pick it up and return it to you. With BAMA Commercial Leasing, Zirx helps move the company’s fleet of vehicles from one place to another.
This isn’t the first time that Behr’s team has had an offering for businesses. In September, Zirx rolled out a subscription program for companies that alleviated the stress employees had finding parking near their office. Zirx Enterprise, as it was known, primarily benefited drivers, rather than the company. Behr said that the service is still available, but it’s available on a time and usage pricing model, no longer as a fixed fee.
There aren’t any upfront costs to using Zirx’s mobility services, and they are available as of today.
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