|Scaling start-up success: YourMechanic CEO Anthony Rodio looks to drive growth in the auto services industry
|December 29, 2016, 05:00 AM By Anna Schuessler Daily Journal
Anthony Rodio may have finally found the perfect company to lead. The Hillsborough resident has held leadership roles at Amazon, Procter & Gamble, StubHub and the Home Depot. He has managed operations and advised several other start-ups leveraging technology to deliver better services. He has even served as CEO of Redbeacon, a San Mateo-based start-up connecting homeowners with service providers, which was acquired by Home Depot just months after he took the reins.
Now he is at the helm of YourMechanic, an online marketplace that connects drivers with local mechanics who provide auto repair and maintenance services at almost any location. The 50-person Mountain View-based company welcomed Rodio as president and CEO earlier this month in a match that seems well suited for both parties.
“The last time I did the CEO thing I sold the company relatively quickly,” he said. “[This time], I want to build the business longer. [YourMechanic] has made enough progress where I could take it to the next level.”
For Rodio, the opportunity to build on YourMechanic’s growth is one of the most exciting aspects of his new role. Since it was founded in 2012, the company has developed relationships with mechanics in over 700 cities in 31 states and works with tens of thousands of monthly customers, according to the company website.
“Auto repair is a huge market in the U.S.,” he said. “For so many, it’s a painful experience, and people feel like they are getting ripped off. I felt the way that YourMechanic was meeting this need was a better mousetrap.”
Others, including key investors, have noticed this growth as well. In March, YourMechanic raised $24 million, bringing its total financing to $32 million and propelling it into a building and scaling phase.
The company initially gained recognition when it won TechCrunch Disrupt S.F. in 2012 for creating a website and application allowing drivers to compare pricing for car services against industry standards and other local shops before they pay. Once customers are connected with a mechanic, they can set up convenient appointment times and locations at home or work, so repairs and services can be done without the hassle of coordinating a trip to a shop.
Whether a company is pinpointing a unique solution for an unmet consumer need has been Rodio’s litmus test for the companies at which he’s chosen to work. But figuring out exactly what role his personality was best suited for was another story. Rodio began his career in banking and transitioned into corporate finance after earning a master’s degree in business administration. He was working in finance at Procter & Gamble when he realized finance and support roles didn’t excite him.
“I always liked making the decisions,” he said. “I found I’ve always been the guy who puts the team together.”
Though Rodio was able to move into brand management at Procter & Gamble, one of his biggest learning experiences came at a much smaller company. He joined Amazon in 1999, and it wasn’t long before he was invited to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ home on Sunday mornings for strategy meetings.
“It was pretty shocking. P&G was 100-plus years on process, we went to classes on how to send an email or talk to ad agency. At Amazon, whoever was loudest and made the best argument carried the day. It freaked me out at first, but then I loved it,” he said.
Rodio’s stint at Amazon would later inspire him to pursue work at small companies focusing on technological solutions. He looks forward to the complex challenge that awaits him at YourMechanic, where the solutions don’t just lie in the technology.
“[With start-ups], the focus used to be about managing technology. Now, it’s technology plus organization excellence,” he said. “Shipping a toaster is easier than getting a mechanic to show up on time.”
Though he’s only spent weeks as CEO, Rodio has decided his focus in the coming months will be operational consistency.
“Like every start-up, we nail it some of the time. For me, it’s really going to be about having a fantastic experience every single time,” he said.
He is also looking to explore opportunities with other businesses to see if companies with traveling sales representatives or in need of fleet car inspections might benefit from leveraging YourMechanic’s team of experts. Between his work at YourMechanic and volunteering with his children’s activities and sports teams, Rodio doesn’t have as much time for his road bike, which he regularly takes from Hillsborough to the coast. He’s turning that into a personal goal for the new year.
“I want to figure how to stay in shape,” he said. “But I would sacrifice my fitness for year or two to grow this company.”
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