자동차 정비 어플 다음 카닥이 올해 전국 매장으로 확대한다. 이준노 대표는 현재까지 수도권, 대전, 대구, 부산까지 확장했으며 “올해 1분기 안에 전남권, 강원도와 제주도를 포함하여 전국으로 확장할 계획”이라고 코리아헤럴드와의 인터뷰에서 말했다.
올해 1월에 분사한 카닥은 바로 이어 다음에서 투자를 받게 된다. 현재 지분을 보유한 4명의 창립 멤버가 경영권을 갖고 있으며, 다음은 관계사 형태가 된다. 투자 문의도 잇따라고 있다.
“카닥의 주요 고객층이 30~40대 수입 차 오너들이다 보니 금융권에서도 투자에 관심을 보인다”는 것이 이대표의 말.
그는 현재 “카닥의 라이벌은 없다”며 자신감을 드러내며 4~5개월 전 네이버나 SK Planet과 같은 동종업체가 수백 억 원을 투자해서 같은 사업에 뛰어들었다면 불안했었을 수도 있었겠지만 현재 카닥의 볼륨을 볼 때, 그 이상 투자해야 할 것이라고 말했다.
약 120,000만 명의 이용자를 확보하고 있는 다음 카닥은 7월 커미션 제도를 통한 유료화를 계획하고 있다.
이대표는 “카닥에 입점 후 매출이 2~3배 증가한 정비업소들이 꽤 있다. 유료화 전환에 대한 어려움을 없을 것으로 본다”고 말했다. 그는 이어 최단기간 BEP를 달성하한 후 현지 시장을 잘 이해하는 파트너를 통해 해외진출도 고려하고 있다고 밝혔다.
<관련 영문 기사>Vehicle repair app maker Cardoc eyes expansion
Daum-backed venture in talks with potential strategic investors for growth
Cardoc is set to further expand this year, having secured a significant number of partners in the automotive aftermarket and a high level of customer satisfaction for its services.
The Korean venture firm, which provides auto repair cost estimates through its mobile Cardoc platform, seeks to grow through ties with repair shops in untapped provincial areas, such as Jeolla and Gangwon provinces. It is also lining up potential strategic investors, including Daum Communications, Korea’s second-largest search provider.
Cardoc CEO Lee Joon-noh said in an interview with The Korea Herald that this was part of efforts to gain a stronger foothold in the niche market, where competitors have not yet emerged. He said Cardoc aimed to make a “smooth” transition to providing paid services by July this year.
The company further seeks to gain profit by receiving commission on sales by auto repair shops.
These steps toward solid growth will be able to boost its valuation, and hopefully help the company attract strategic investments or partnerships, and eye expansion beyond Korea in the near future.
“We are confident that the company will see profit soon as most of our partners in the auto repair segment saw their sales increase more than twofold after introducing their services through our app,” Lee said.
“We are in talks with potential partners and investors as we would need them to understand and analyze markets especially for overseas expansion in the future.”
Daum plans to invest in Cardoc as a strategic investor, Lee said, noting that the relationship between the two companies would be best viewed as an “affiliation.”
Lee, a former employee of Daum, submitted his business idea for Cardoc to the portal operator’s in-house venture program called the Next Incubation Studio in 2012.
Daum picked Cardoc among applications to provide support to its team headed by Lee in technology development, market analysis and branding after proving its potential.
The search giant spun off Lee’s app this month as a venture in which Lee invested with three other founders as its major shareholders.
Cardoc allows users to receive and compare estimated repair costs from auto shops immediately after they upload a picture that shows the exterior parts of their automobiles that have been damaged by collisions.
The company, which currently provides services to some 120,000 users in major metropolitan areas, has mainly sought to attract foreign car owners in Korea as it saw a business opportunity in the rapidly growing aftermarket for imported automobiles, Lee said.
By Shin Ji-hye (firstname.lastname@example.org