Durham mobile car-wash startup raises $7.5 million

Spiffy services are often used by employees working in office parks.
Spiffy services are often used by employees working in office parks. Courtesy of Spiffy

Spiffy, a Durham-based startup that provides on-demand car washes and other services, recently completed a financing round valued at $7.54 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company, which lets customers order mobile car washes through a smartphone app, exceeded the initial goal for the funding round, which was $5 million.

The brainchild of former ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo and his business partner Karl Murphy, Spiffy has been expanding quickly since it was founded in 2014. Wingo and Murphy had previously opened several car washes together before getting the idea to bring technology into the car-washing business.

“Every service needs to go digital,” Wingo said. “The ones that do will thrive and survive, and the ones that don’t will go the way shopping malls are currently.”

Initially focused on the Triangle market, the company’s services have became popular at some of the region’s largest offices such as Red Hat, Citrix and Cisco. Spiffy often partners with property managers to make the company an amenity.

“People love having their car washed while they work,” Wingo said. “It seems intuitive now, but in the physical car-wash world it was the opposite” with most clients coming after the workday.

Spiffy’s services range from an exterior car wash for as little as $19 to a comprehensive interior and exterior package starting at $249. The company currently has 55 employees with around 20 based out of its Durham headquarters on South Miami Boulevard.

The company has been picking up momentum since early 2015, Wingo said.

Its signature blue vans now operate in Charlotte, Atlanta and, most recently, Los Angeles. The move into L.A. came after the company used some of its new financing to acquire Squeegy, a company with a similar service and an established clientele.

Spiffy plans to use the proceeds from its funding round to expand into new markets and to create more services, like the pilot program for oil changes it is currently offering in the Triangle.

The company has targeted 20 to 30 more markets for expansion, with the first being announced this summer. It’s targeting metro areas with more than a million residents and sunny weather, Wingo said.

“We continue to want to build out to other geographies,” Bull City Venture Partners co-founder Jason Caplain said of the company’s recent expansion.

Bull City Venture Partners, a Durham-based venture capital firm, led Spiffy’s first financing round to outside investors. Spiffy is now one of the fastest-growing companies in its investment portfolio – which numbers around 20 companies, Caplain said.

This isn’t the first time that BCVP has partnered with a Wingo-led startup. The firm was an initial investor in ChannelAdvisor before it went public in 2013.

“Our thesis is always around investing in great people and great teams,” he said. “In our opinion, Scot is one of the best entrepreneurs in the country.”

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes