Connect Assistance Bets on Puerto Rico, LatAm Markets
Continues to Grow in Puerto Rico, Panama, Costa Rica; Expects to Reach Fourth LatAm Country by Year’s End
Connect Assistance (CA), the Puerto Rican company specializing in roadside assistance services for cars, motorcycles and homes, continues to grow in both local and international markets and seeks to expand its footprint by establishing operations in a fourth country in Latin America by the end of 2020.
According to CA’s CEO, Antonio Ortiz, the company is the only Puerto Rican roadside assistance operation with a call center in Puerto Rico and with proprietary technology platforms patented by the federal government to provide much faster services, dispatch suppliers using traffic intelligence and the services the providers offer. The company currently has a presence in Panama and Costa Rica.
Regarding the future, Ortiz said, “the intention is to continue to invest and develop the team. It depends on the opportunities we find to expand to the next market. Our intention this year is to give ourselves the right opportunity to enter a fourth country” in Latin America. “For us to be able to support that development from Puerto Rico, we have to continue expanding the workforce. We are evaluating options and actively looking” for alternatives, the executive said.
“We launched Connect Assistance in November 2011 as a roadside assistance company with a team of eight people and we just turned eight [years old]. The company started developing…in Puerto Rico with the vision that through a local call center, technology and a user-experience approach, we could create an extraordinary solution for an ordinary problem that needed to be addressed,” Ortiz pointed out.
“After five years, we became the main provider of roadside assistance in Puerto Rico and decided to look outside for markets where we could leverage [our] technology and operational expertise focused on user experience to create a different product,” he added.
The company offers such roadside assistance services as towing, extraction, battery charging, tire change, locksmith and fuel supply for cars. For motorcycles, the company offers towing, battery charging and fuel supply. For the home, the company offers plumbing, electrical, glassware and locksmith services, among others.
The CA technology and software development team comprises 12 people, and the company has three open positions for developers. In addition, CA expects to double the size of this group over the next 12 to 18 months.
“We are the only Puerto Rican roadside assistance company competing in a market where companies are multinationals and play in over 25 countries. We have to be the most innovative, fastest, most technologically advanced and focused on the user experience. The technology and that return on investment is measured in our ability to compete successfully in any market with any player,” Ortiz explained.
“Today, in our [local] industry, there are no market-share figures, so I cannot textually give you a number of how the industry moves, but we are the main dispatcher of roadside assistance in Puerto Rico because we provide the most services. There are no public figures, as in the case of insurance companies that [have] some public revenues and market shares that are quite easy to compare,” he added.
CA provides about 28,000 services monthly across all markets, Ortiz said, adding that, in Puerto Rico, it dispatches about 11,000 services monthly, with a 99 percent rate of customer satisfaction, averaging a 26-minute response time throughout the entire island.
“Our goal is to reach 1 million registered cars in Puerto Rico by the end of 2020. Today, we have 840,000 registered cars with the service. It is an aggressive regional goal, but we always intend to continue to take bigger steps to stay growing,” Ortiz said.
Meanwhile, Connect Assistance’s CFO, Carlos Nieves, stressed the company’s proprietary technology is what makes the difference, allowing CA to explore other markets as it previously has done in Panama and Costa Rica to expand its footprint throughout Latin America.
“The more services we provide, those economies of scale can be used to reinvest in technology and continue to develop that unique experience we want to provide end users with our service…. In the past two years, we have invested over $2.5 million in the technology team, specifically to continue developing our proprietary platform,” Nieves said.
In addition, Nieves indicated the company exceeded $6 million in investments between two acquisitions, buying Auxilio Vial (Road Aid) in Panama in October 2017 and Coinca in Costa Rica in September 2018.
“These investments have allowed us to grow our team in Puerto Rico. Currently, we export our talent from Puerto Rico. We have people who work in areas of the business, such as project management, finance, accounting and technology, which provide services to countries where we currently have a presence,” Nieves said.