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Driving Transparency: How One Startup is Making Your Used-Car Purchase Safer

There tends to be a collective feeling of suspicion and distrust when it comes to purchasing a used car. Questions about the vehicle’s functionality, mechanics, and needed repairs have to be asked. A solution to this uncomfortable experience? Kiwiz.

Adélaïde Favé and Edouard Schaeffer founded Kiwiz, a startup that’s working to build transparency in the automotive industry by providing a third-party inspector to visit and view the vehicle before you write the cheque. 

Notable Life recently sat down with Adélaïde, the CMO and Co-Founder of Kiwiz to chat about the services the company provides, how the industry is evolving, and her experiences as an entrepreneur. 

Ali: For us that don’’t know, can you share what Kiwiz is? 

Adélaïde: Kiwiz is a pre-purchase car inspection service for people who want to buy a used car with peace of mind. We have built a network of mechanics that travel to customers who are looking to have a car inspection performed. Our inspections cover everything from mechanics, functionality, and aesthetics, to road tests, photos, and an estimated cost of repairs to be made.

We launched the service in January in Montreal with only one inspector in our network. Today, we’re present in 4 metropolitan areas (GTA, Ottawa/Gatineau, Quebec City, and Montreal) and have 20 inspectors in the network.

What challenges were you seeing in the automotive industry that made you want to create Kiwiz? 

The first challenge is the lack of transparency in the car industry. Two years ago I set out to buy my first used car. At the time, my co-founder and Kiwiz CEO, Edouard, worked in the automotive industry and he warned me about the lack of transparency of some sellers. I actually ended up abandoning the purchase because I was terrified of the financial implications of unknowingly buying a lemon. 

The second challenge is that, when you are not an expert, it’s hard to know if it’s a good deal. For example, many people think that a car with low mileage will result in less trouble than a car with high mileage. And that’s false. It depends on many things, such as how the past owner maintained it. You can also be blurred with the warranty or the “7-day money back guarantee”, which is cool to test the model and functionality, but not the mechanical and functional points. Mechanical and functional faults won’t magically appear in under 7 days!

Who is Kiwiz for? What target market are you going after? 

Kiwiz is for people who want to buy a used car from a private buyer or a professional one and have it checked by a neutral, third-party expert to be sure that you’re making a good investment in your vehicle. 

More specifically, we target Millennials who are used to new technology and online buying. Typically, they live in urban areas and are looking for a hassle-free way to buy a used car with confidence. We’re also popular among immigrants since they’re unaware of the buying process in Canada for vehicles, which often leaves them more anxious. Kiwiz allows them to buy with peace of mind!

What’s unique about the Kiwiz approach to customer-centricity that you think differs from competitors? 

Kiwiz is not there to simply sell an inspection report like many competitors, instead, we’re a partner in the decision-making process for your car purchase. We don’t leave customers with a simple report, but with a real, expert recommendation on buying the car or not, depending on the car’s condition and its future use. 

In cases where the vehicle is not recommended, the inspector will take a moment with the customer on the phone to redefine their criteria – if needed. The same goes if the customer has some questions about their purchase or is feeling lost in the process. Our mechanics do this by calling the customer right after the inspection to talk them through their findings. 

You’re working in a very male-dominated industry, have you noticed any shifts to become more inclusive towards women? 

Yes, more and more! One month ago we were at Canada’s Used Car Week in Toronto which is a 3-day annual event that gathers professionals working in the automotive industry within North America. It was the first time that they organized a full day dedicated to women in the automotive industry. 

It was great to see effort and progress to make the industry more inclusive for women. With that being said, there’s still a ways to go. 

What lessons have you learned since becoming an entrepreneur? 

So many! I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is to be focused. We tried many times to do too many things at the same time, like creating a service to help people buy a car at every step of the process: from choosing the model and the budget to the administrative tasks. It was too much and honestly, we failed. 

It’s better to develop and focus on one thing at a time. Our mentors always tell us, “make it simple” and we really try to live that. 

Another thing is not to be discouraged when things go wrong. Being an entrepreneur is a roller coaster, sometimes when you’re at the bottom of the roller coaster, you have to push through to be able to get back to the top.  

What’s next for Kiwiz? Where do you see the company in 5 years? 

In the next five years, we’re looking to expand our services to be available in all major cities across Canada and potentially tap into the U.S market. We also have a plan to launch a B2B side of Kiwiz. 

Overall, we want to achieve one thing: for Kiwiz to become the go-to resource when it comes to buying a car with confidence in North America.

How can someone get in touch with you and use Kiwiz for their next car purchase? 

Simply visit our website here. You’ll find tons of information on the inspection process, and you can contact us by chat or phone if you may have questions. All booking is done online as well!

Alison Osborne

Alison is an experienced marketer passionate about podcasting, content marketing, wellness and travel.