June 25, 2018—Openbay plans to triple its headcount after closing an $8 million strategic investment round led by the venture arm of oil and gas giant Shell, according to Boston Business Journal.
Openbay announced today it had closed the Series A round of financing. Shell Ventures LLC led the round with participation from existing investor Stage 1 ventures. The new round will be used, as Openbay states, “to bring to market artificial intelligence (AI) enabled solutions for businesses that provide automotive repair services and to grow existing and new markets across all its offerings.”
Openbay, a startup that was launched in 2013, runs an online marketplace that allows customers to book appointments with repair shops nationwide and compare quotes.
In December, Openbay joined in the e-commerce parts aftermarket, as it announced a partnership with eBay Motors to provide the availability of millions of searchable online parts and accessories. Through this service, which Openbay CEO Rob Infantino previously discussed with Ratchet+Wrench, businesses can research, source and acquire automotive parts directly through Openbay. The selection includes genuine OEM automotive parts, white label parts, national brand aftermarket parts, remanufactured and used parts, as well as parts that are no longer manufactured.
With the new investment from Shell, Infantino told Boston Business Journal that Openbay plans to boost its headcount from 10 employees to 30 with the new financing.
“Openbay’s vision has not changed since its inception; fundamentally improve the experience for automotive repair and services for consumers, and the way that automotive care businesses acquire and service customers. Consumers expect their interactions across websites, social platforms, mobile and messaging apps to be engaging and interactive. This requires natural-language processing, machine learning and predictive analytics,” said Infantino in a press release. “With fresh capital and depth of the resources our strategic and global investors bring to Openbay, the company is now well positioned to grow and expand its offering globally.”
“Digital and services partnerships provide exciting prospects and new revenues for Shell’s Marketing businesses,” said Huibert Vigeveno, executive vice president for Global Commercial, Shell. ”Understanding customer needs and reducing customer friction is at the heart of our thinking. We scan the market for emerging technology trends and look for disruptive or transformational technologies, and investing in promising technologies such as Openbay is very much part of our future growth strategy.”