Whenever Dawson Lamb was due to take his vehicle in for maintenance or an oil change, he always ran into the same roadblock: time.
It was 2019, and between being a full-time student and working part time at a local tech startup, Lamb, then a junior at the University of Nevada, Reno, struggled to find the time to take his vehicle in for maintenance.
And he realized he wasn’t alone.
“Taking care of my vehicle was just difficult,” recalled Lamb, now a UNR senior who graduates this spring. “As a student, finding time for things that are important is already spare. I came to find out, everybody had this problem. And so I decided something needed to change.”
A business major with an entrepreneurial spirit, Lamb set out to create a platform that circumnavigated this speed bump that anyone with a vehicle might face.
What if, Lamb thought, you could get your car serviced and returned to you without ever having to leave your house or workplace?
With that, in 2020, Lamb revved up MyKar, a pickup and delivery platform that does exactly that. Joining him on his venture were fellow UNR students David Haulot (co-founder and director of marketing), Akram Reshad (co-founder and chief technical officer), Jacob Teems-Robinson (marketing associate), and Gurjant Mand (director of finance).
“At our core, we’re a market network,” said Lamb, founder and CEO of the Reno-based startup. “We’re connecting drivers with customers and with dealerships and shops. We’re just trying to make it really easy to get your vehicle serviced.
Dawson Lamb, founder and CEO of MyKar, will graduate this spring from UNR. Courtesy Photo“And by doing that, we’re really trying to become the next Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats type of service.”
Like those disruptive platform giants, MyKar drivers are independent contractors, which Lamb said get vetted and background checked. Currently, the company has six drivers on board and is actively looking for more.
MyKar drivers, he said, are required to wear a face covering or mask while operating a customer’s vehicle as well as clean the interior with anti-bacterial wipes after they drop it off.
The coronavirus pandemic, Lamb feels, increases the demand for the safe and convenient service MyKar provides to customers.
“I think everybody wants to stay safe,” Lamb said. “We completely diminish having to sit in a shop or dealership, where you could expose yourself to different kind of harmful entities.”
MyKar charges a $30 service fee for customers who use one of the startup’s partners, which currently includes Carson City Hyundai, Christensen Automotive in greater Reno-Carson, and Greg’s Garage in Reno.
“If you don’t use one of our partners, then it’s a $50 fee,” said Lamb, noting that MyKar hopes to have significantly more partners by the end of the year. “We’re trying to get every single shop on our platform. That way a customer can choose to take their vehicle to their trusted mechanic of choice.”
Lamb and the nine-person MyKar team are in the process of developing its mobile app, which is set to launch in May. The startup is aiming to have at least 15 drivers on their platform by then, Lamb said.
To date, MyKar has raised $10,000 in seed capital, says Lamb, adding that the company is competing in the UNR Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition, which awards a $50,000 prize to the winner at the end of the spring semester.
“We’re really going to try to raise more capital and reach out to more investors,” said Lamb, noting the startup plans to launch in Las Vegas when it raises about $400,000. “Once the app is complete, we’re also going to try to get into some incubator and accelerator programs.”
Looking farther down the road, Lamb feels the company will be able to hit $900,000 in revenue in the first year of its mobile app being available.
By year five, MyKar plans to be running nationwide and generating “hundreds of millions of dollars” in revenue, he added.
“We are super excited,” Lamb said. “We know that the growth is kind of endless. You see a lot of pickup and delivery services that are in the market today, they succeed because you’re just providing that extra layer of convenience that customers really can use.
“So, being able to focus on things that are important to you, your family, your social life and your work, we make it that much easier to focus your time on those kinds of things.”