Yoshi Mobility has come a long way since gassing up cars on the side of the road

Almost 10 years ago, Bryan Frist, Nick Alexander and Daniel Hunter had an idea to inject some technology into the automotive industry. Using the initial entry point of gas, they started the Yoshi Mobility app to deliver gas to San Francisco-area consumers on their day of choice for $20 per month.

“The automotive industry was one that was kind of untouched by innovation,” Frist told TechCrunch. “We had this idea, in the age of Amazon where everything was getting delivered, that you would never go to the gas station again.”

The trio took Yoshi through Y Combinator in the summer of 2016 and began to expand, competing at the time with venture-backed companies like Filld, Wrench and Booster. By 2017, the company was also in Atlanta and Nashville, Tennessee, and offering additional services, including car washes, oil changes and ordered supplies like new windshield wiper blades.

Yoshi also raised $2.1 million from investors including ZhenFund, Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures and Ali Rowghani, Twitter’s former CFO and COO, and the founding managing director of YC’s Continuity Fund.

Over the years, it went on to raise an additional $36.7 million in Series A and B capital backed by strategic investors including ExxonMobil and General Motors Ventures as well as DN Automotive and NBA All-Star Kevin Durant.

Expansion and new business

Today, Nashville-based Yoshi Mobility is settled into three business lines: preventative maintenance, virtual vehicle inspections and electric vehicle charging. It has boots on the ground in 15 states, but can offer vehicle services to customers in all 50 states. It has completed millions of vehicle services to date.

Yoshi Mobility has increased its revenue 10x monthly since its Series B in late 2020, Frist said. The company still provides consumer services, but it has leaned more into the commercial side of its business. It now offers virtual vehicle inspection business for fleets, racking up corporate partnerships with Fortune 100 companies like Uber and Turo.

Its virtual vehicle inspections are also popular in the gig economy, especially in states where drivers and small business owners are required to have an inspection. Yoshi provides an inspection in up to 10 minutes.

Bryan Frist, co-founder and CEO of Yoshi Mobility. Image Credits: Yoshi Mobility

In March, the company completed its first acquisition of Mobile Auto Concepts Inc., a mobile automotive services company offering preventative maintenance, tire care and replacement, multipoint inspections and eco-friendly washes.

“Mobile Auto is similar to many of our competitors that are just doing services,” Frist said. “We think the comprehensive package is what’s valuable. We work a lot with fleets now, and they were always asking us that while we are filling up the car, can we also change the tires or wash the car. Now we can do all of that with a one-stop solution.”

Yoshi Mobility’s third new business line, a mobile electric vehicle charging platform, goes after Tesla in a way. It’s addressing the EV industry’s well-known current challenges, including costly repairs, and future challenges related to charging EV fleets. The platform will offer EV owners and enterprise customers on-the-go charging, maintenance and support.

Frist, a Tesla driver for the past eight years, said the EV market “is just massive,” so there is room for a lot of players. For Yoshi, this means going after partners that don’t want to build out an EV charging station on their properties — or don’t have the available space.

“If the adoption goes the way that we and industry experts think it will, there need to be solutions,” Frist said.

Fueling future growth

The entrance of all those business lines is buoyed by $26 million in new Series C funding, valuing the company at over $200 million, Frist said. General Motors Ventures leads this round joined by new strategic investor and well-known tire brand Bridgestone Americas. International investors include Universal Motors Agencies and Shikra Limited. Yoshi Mobility’s total investment is now over $60 million.

Bridgestone liked the mobility aspect of what Yoshi is doing, Frist said. “They’re investing in mobility companies,” he said. “They launched Firestone Direct, where they have vans that go out and can change tires. We’re doing exactly that now, and that’s how they got involved.”

Armed with the new funds, Yoshi Mobility will scale the preventative maintenance, virtual vehicle inspections and electric vehicle charging business lines. It works with GM’s OnStar and Toyota Connect, meaning its telematics connect to some 34% of the cars on the road, Frist said.

“There are a million touchpoints we can have from physically touching the car to the virtual telematics, which is going to propel us into this next stage,” Frist said. “We see ourselves as the ‘Amazon of car care,’ getting into automotive with gas the same way they got into delivery with books. We always saw ourselves doing much more, so in the next five to 10 years, we will look totally different than we look even today.”

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