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Q&A with Mariusz Pawluk, Motorro’s CEO & Co-Founder

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Founded in 2016, Motorro is on its way to revolutionizing the automotive aftermarket in Europe. First stop? Integrating 7.5 million car parts from eighteen wholesalers into one platform, which accounts for approximately 85% of the Polish market. This means that mechanics and shops can now order their parts for the best price – while also checking stock levels & delivery times – in seconds. With almost 1,000 registered users and growing, the company is scaling quickly and eyeing new markets.

With over 10 years in the automotive industry, Mariusz Pawluk is an experienced founder with a determined passion for his product. We caught up with him this week to learn more and to talk about the impact of the coronavirus on his piece of the startup world. Our chat has been condensed and edited lightly for length.

You’ve been pretty much focused on the automotive industry for a decade, right?

Yes, although I had a successful career in construction chemicals before I went to work in the automotive industry. When my first kid was born, I decided to look for work locally [in Lublin, Poland]. It turned out there wasn’t a wide choice of employment in my area, so I ended up starting over in a small business selling truck parts. 

How was that job?

The position had its perks, and the job was much less stressful. At the time, I needed that. After only three weeks of doing literally all kinds of work in the shop (laughs), I was offered a role to run a new location with car parts.

Is that when you came up with Motorro?

Sort of. While launching and running the new branch, I came up with my first idea — for a car part price comparison platform — but my initial research showed that the big boys were already working on this solution. A few years later, when I was working as a sales rep in the industry, I saw an opportunity to pivot my idea from a price comparison app to a marketplace platform.

And Motorro was born. How did you meet your co-founders?

I met Daniel Siwiec at work many years back. We also built our own startup before, a service platform for beauty salons and barbers [RecepjaOnline.com]. It was created for my wife’s business at first, but later we successfully marketed the solution. It turned out it was the first booking app in Poland. So when I pitched Daniel my idea for Motorro, it took him only five minutes before he said Yes.

And Adrian?

We recruited Adrian Zurawik from the Polish Association of Automotive Parts Distributors and Producers. Adrian is our COO and has over 26 years of experience in the automotive industry. With Adrian on board, the expected time to build relations with suppliers has dropped from three years to one. As of today, we have 18 suppliers on the platform and another 3 are being integrated. 

Motorro co-founders Daniel Siwiec, Mariusz Pawluk & Adrian Zurawik
©Motorro 2019

To shift gears, what do you think will happen to the automotive aftermarket industry now in light of the coronavirus?

From my perspective, there’s three threats stemming from the current coronavirus situation. First, the threat to the financial liquidity of automotive wholesalers who are using revolving loans. They’re going to want to transfer this burden to parts producers by extending payment periods.

Next, I can see the coronavirus causing supply chain disruption due to the closure of a large number of factories around the world. In this situation, Motorro can help auto shops and workshops by showing parts available from the entire market, even from those wholesalers that the shops do not currently do business with.

And finally, there’s the threat to the financial condition of the small and medium-sized enterprises that make up the industry – the auto shops and workshops, which are currently experiencing huge drops in turnover or are simply closed. Keep in mind that they often have small financial reserves in a situation where they bear all the normal costs: employees, taxes, social security, rent, leasing. Now they’re facing a situation where they’re not earning anything or are earning 20% of what they were making previously, which could threaten the very existence of all these companies in a very short period.

I can see the coronavirus causing supply chain disruption due to the closure of a large number of factories around the world. In this situation, Motorro can help auto shops and workshops by showing parts available from the entire market, even from those wholesalers that the shops do not currently do business with.

— Mariusz Pawluk

And outside of the current situation, what do you see five years down the line?

Most people expect that in the near future the automotive industry will go through drastic changes with all the disruptive technologies, like electric or autonomous cars. In my opinion, that is not the case and we will see only about 20% of the global market changed in the next 5 years. 

The most important thing happening in our industry is long-term car rentals. More companies and people are deciding to use this form of financing, and large car fleet companies have the economic advantage of being the cheapest option out there. I myself rent my cars and I couldn’t be happier.

How will that change the market?

Today most people and companies own their cars and have to manage servicing their vehicles themselves. As soon as the majority of people switch to using the more convenient long-term rental companies, small service shops will lose most of their clients and will either have to close their doors or adapt to the new situation. One of the options for them will be to merge and sign profitable agreements to service the vehicles of rental companies. In my opinion, the car service market structure in Poland will transform from around 22,000 small service shops now to 5,000–8,000 bigger ones with profitable contracts in place. In order to maximize their profits, they will have to optimize the buying process of car parts. That’s where Motorro will thrive.

Last question. You did most of the early sales yourself. What’s your sales philosophy?

I’m convinced that you can work wonders if you have a good product that you believe in and you’re honest with your clients. Be professional and always be generous about offering your expertise. If you follow this, the only hard part is keeping up to date with the market and your clients.

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Lightning round

1. An app you use everyday: Telegram…and Zoom
2. Last song you listened to: Luniz’s I Got 5 On It
3. Early bird or night owl: Early bird
4. Most influential book you’ve read: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
5. An investor you’d like to meet: NEA

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Learn more about Motorro