Shell Pumps $8 Million in Funding into Online Auto Service Marketplace Openbay

We buy many things using our smartphones nowadays: music, entertainment, goods from Amazon and groceries. So why not vehicle service?

Thanks to a new $8 million round of series A financing announced this week through Shell Ventures and Waltham, Massachusetts-based Stage 1 Ventures, online auto service marketplace company Openbay plans to triple its headcount. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Openbay is an online marketplace for auto repair.

The company, which was founded in 2012, allows members to use an app (or web site) to enter their specific need for service on their vehicle or describe problems they may be having. Openbay then reaches out to its network of service professionals to request binding service offers on behalf of the vehicle owner, who ultimately receives multiple service proposals they can compare based on cost, location and ratings from other users. Payment is made through Openbay’s secure mobile app, and transactions are not processed until the work is complete.

The company’s goal, it says, is to fundamentally improve the experience for automotive repair and services for consumers, and the way that automotive care businesses acquire and service customers. Thanks to the new funding, the company has big plans for expansion.

“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,” founder and CEO Rob Infantino said in a statement.

Shell Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of Royal Dutch Shell plc. Its focus covers what it calls “the energy spectrum” from traditional to renewable energy and digital solutions.

“Digital and services partnerships provide exciting prospects and new revenues for Shell’s Marketing businesses,” said Huibert Vigeveno, Executive Vice President for Global Commercial at 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.”

Openbay’s previous seed investors included Andreessen Horowitz and GV, formerly known as Google Ventures.