Sramana: When did you start Car Part Kings?
Michael Dash: We started it in late 2011. We incorporated and had the idea. We approached some different people about products that we were interested in. We launched in September of 2011.
Sramana: What were you going to sell?
Michael Dash: We talked to a number of different people and concluded that we wanted to get into a space that was not as easy as fashion or electronics so we chose auto parts. That is one of the most difficult items to sell online and has a huge barrier to entry for a number of different reasons.
First, getting the data for auto parts is extremely difficult. Second, getting that data and parsing through it so that it displays properly is also extremely difficult. An auto part is different than any other type of product that you are selling online. Let’s say you are trying to buy a break rotor. You can’t just go online and buy a break rotor. It has to fit your specific vehicle. If you have a 2008 Honda Accord then you have to make sure that the break rotor matches your vehicle perfectly otherwise you will return it and nobody will be happy.
There was a huge barrier to entry there, which we saw. We both have a technological background. My partner was the youngest senior network engineer ever at eBay when he was 16. He went on to build ToysRUs.com from the ground up and then went on to build several other startups. I come from the business side although I do have technology training as I did graduate with a degree in computer science and information technology.
Sramana: Where is this company based?
Michael Dash: Long Island, New York.
Sramana: What did you do once you realized that car parts was difficult to sell online. How did you proceed?
Michael Dash: We studied a number of different products and this type of product seemed like a great fit. We then went out and talked to a number of distributors because we knew that we did not want to inventory any products. We needed to find somebody who would lend us the data, let us process it, and then fulfill orders for us. We were essentially looking for a drop shipper and our plan was to act as the middleman to get the sale which we would transfer to them electronically. They could fulfill the order and write us backtracking.