Sramana: What kind of expertise do you have on your team and how is that split out?
Michael Dash: I have two full time people working in customer service. I have a database engineer and a full time catalogue person. I have a marketing analyst. Myself and my partner are the President and CTO. I have a full time designer and the rest of my team consists of developers. We primarily have Magento developers. They help our own site, our distribution outlets, and the tie-ins there.
Sramana: How much of your business is generated from your own site as opposed to the marketplaces like eBay?
Michael Dash: Our breakout is about 50/50 right now.
Sramana: Do you sell outside of the United States?
Michael Dash: Yes, we sell worldwide. About 80% of our business is worldwide.
Sramana: Where does the remaining 20% come from? Is there a dominant demographic?
Michael Dash: We sell to over 140 different countries. Out of those countries the top 5 countries are Canada, Russia, Australia, France, and Brazil.
Sramana: Have you raised any money?
Michael Dash: We have not raised outside money. We have bootstrapped the business.
Sramana: Do you want to raise money and give up equity?
Michael Dash: If there was an amazing opportunity from a strategic investor who could help us grow tremendously in a very short amount of time and we only had to give up a small piece of the company, then we would consider it. For now, our year over year growth is around 100% and we are expanding.
Sramana: It doesn’t sound like you need money.
Michael Dash: No, we don’t. If we were to raise money, it would be for strategic investments that give us access to different marketplaces, strategies, or vendors. Our brand, www.CarPartKings.com, is starting to gain recognition so perhaps if someone wanted to help us expand to TV.
Sramana: It seems like TV would be a very inefficient way to market car parts.
Michael Dash: I thought the same thing, however, it is a huge industry. When we first started the team, David and I were the customer service team and we were the people answering the phones. We learned a lot about our customers by answering the phones. We found that a lot of our customers are just an average person who does not know a lot about cars. They take their car to the mechanic who tells them what their car needs and then they buy the part and ship that part to the mechanic.
They do that because our parts are 80% to 90% cheaper than buying from a mechanic or an auto part store. A break rotor will often cost around $100. You can buy that exact same brake rotor from us for about $25. We have a lot of mechanics who order from us direct, we have a lot of people who order from us and take the part to their mechanics, and then we have a lot of people who repair their own cars. This is a very large industry that keeps expanding and the longer people’s cars stay on the road the more they need to repair them.
Sramana: Who is your top competitor?
Michael Dash: RockAuto. They have been around a lot longer and are probably going to do over $12 million this year.
Sramana: Great. I look forward to following your story.