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Yoshi Launches On-Demand Car Services in Austin, Expands Into Fleet Management

Yoshi Inc. launched its on-demand vehicle maintenance services in Austin today, but that’s not the only expansion planned for the startup.

The company is also opening up its business model to include fleet management services, as demonstrated by Yoshi’s recent partnership with Ford Motor Co.-owned ChariotMobility Buzz has learned.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company operates in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Nashville, Atlanta, and now, Austin. Yoshi began operating as an on-demand fuel delivery service in 2015, bringing gasoline to its users’ parked vehicles. The startup then expanded to Nashville, due — in part — to its partnership with Bridgestone Tires, which allowed the company to begin servicing tire pressure checks and refills.

Since then, Yoshi has started to offer more services, such as detailed cleanings, windshield wiper replacements, and oil changes. It also is picking up corporate clients — to service employee vehicles — and now is expanding into fleet management with Chariot as its first client.

Chariot crowdfunds transit routes and offers public transportation to users. The company was acquired by Ford in September 2016. Both Chariot and Yoshi were Y Combinator-backed ventures.

“We see ourselves playing a huge role with fleets and fleet management,” Bryan Frist, co-founder of Yoshi, told Mobility Buzz. The problem that fleets currently face is the time-consuming and tedious labor of managing the finer aspects of vehicles like oil changes, refueling, and more, he added, which “cascaded” Yoshi into those markets. “As a larger vision, we see ourselves as a subscription service for everything related to your car,” he said.

Yoshi is in discussion with other partners to offer its fleet-management services, but Frist declined to offer specifics.

The startup is also considering options to offer fuels other than gasoline –such as hydrogen or electric energy — which “would not be a problem” for Yoshi to offer, Frist said. “Hydrogen would be very easy to transport, but it hasn’t taken off because there aren’t any hydrogen fuel stations,” he said. “Hydrogen could be a game changer; we could partner with a large OEM or supplier of hydrogen and be their distribution service.”

But — for now — that it is not a current focus for Yoshi, he added, as the company is focusing on expansion, bringing its current offerings into five to 10 cities by year end.

Yoshi’s services have even become popular as a workplace benefit. The startup’s refueling services, for example, can be provided to employees as a perk, as it saves an employee time because he or she will not have to spend unnecessary time at the gas pump, Frist said.

“What we’ve seen with a lot of companies is that they offer it as a ‘workplace of choice’ benefit, [and] we’ve seen a lot of company’s offering it to handicap and pregnant employees,” Frist said. A recent hospital consortium group in Atlanta, for instance, is utilizing Yoshi for safety reasons, so that its 87% female staff will not have to risk facing late night crime at gas stations after nighttime shifts.

Yoshi is available to individuals as a $20 per month subscription service through its Android and iOS app, plus the cost of regular or premium gas. Individuals can also order extra services, including car washes, oil changes, new windshield wiper blades, and more.

Those interested in learning more about startups disrupting the transportation industry, should join us at the second annual Auto Finance Innovation 2017 conference, May 17-18 at the Hilton Bayfront in San Diego. Visit www.autofinanceinnovation.com and to learn more.

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