The iPhone app store now has 15,000 apps available. So what’s No. 8 (among the free utilities)? RepairPal, an auto site that uses the GPS capabilities of the iPhone to deliver repair auto estimates, a comprehensive repair shop directory and a roadside assistance feature. RepairPal ranks behind such iPhone apps as Sound Grenade, WiFi Checker, myLite Flashlight and iStethoscope.
The app has been downloaded 25,000 times and was voted a “staff favorite” by Apple. CEO David Sturtz, a former hedge fund analyst, says the site began development a year-and-half ago, initially building a database with the assistance of 26 mechanics and parts specialists. The initial group continues to consult for the site’s network, supplemented by six full-time specialists.
“We’re two inches wide and 20 miles deep,” says Sturtz, adding that similar repair projects, one by a prominent car portal, ended up as major failures. “We’ve created everything ourselves,” he notes.
“Our veteran technicians have identified typical problems that occur on each make/model by system,” add Sturtz. “You can alleviate some of the diagnostic risk you confront at the mechanic. We also have an extensive encyclopedia with articles written for people like my mother.”
RepairPal launched last year at around the same time as DriverSide, which was started by former Stepup exec Jan Dunning. That site is more broadly oriented than repair, “designed around the car you drive, with tools that make it easy to buy, own, and sell your car.”