Last week, Northern Virginia-based Urgent.ly closed its seed round to accelerate the model it’s building to improve roadside assistance for both customers and service providers. The company offers an HTML5 mobile app to connect both sides of the marketplace quickly and efficiently at the critical moment of need (i.e. when a driver needs a tow or a flat tired fixed).
So why is the model compelling? Aside from aspiring to modernize a space that often still operates with pencil and paper, and not always with full transparency for customers, Urgent.ly is connecting two foundational ideas transforming the local space: on-demand mobile services and verticalized marketplace models. Or, as CEO Chris Spanos put it, “smartphones as the remote-control-for-life” and “the Uber-ification of everything.”
Let’s unpack Urgent.ly’s value propositions for both the buyers and sellers in this marketplace. For customers, the app provides instant access to a network of pre-qualified service providers. They also enjoy “simplified”, fixed-rate pricing managed by Urgent.ly and real-time tracking of the status, location and ETA of the provider.
For sellers, Urgent.ly connects them to nearby customers in need. As a result, service professionals can receive higher-quality leads and better manage their fleet, all of which optimally should produce better margins.
It’s a big market – 28 thousand total U.S. towers – and Urgent.ly will use the funding to continue to tap into this network, as well as prove out its marketplace model across multiple DMAs and build additional distribution through partnerships. Currently it is only in the Washington, D.C. area.
Longer term, one can envision a larger play in the services space, but for now Spanos and team remain “solely focused on roadside and helping people in urgent need.”