Australian car-cleaning franchise Nanotek is expanding into the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, with founder Jim Cornish attributing the move to the region’s “entrepreneurial spirit”.
Founded in 2004, Nanotek uses spray-on liquid polymer nanotechnology that lifts dirt from the paint surface of a car, resulting in a protective polymer coating that lasts up to six weeks.
Now Nanotek is set to further expand its operations in Europe after signing a master franchise agreement for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and an area developer agreement for Austria.
These countries will be headed up by Robert Emila and Tomas Habanik – based in Bratislava in Slovakia – with operations scheduled to commence in March.
“A lot of the countries that we probably do not consider the most developed countries… are really aggressively entrepreneurial at the moment,” Cornish says.
“We’ve never really expanded based on picking a country – we wait for the right person. Once we get a good candidate, then we look at the market and see if it’s viable, and then we proceed.
“[For example], New Zealand came about 15th on the list.”
According to Cornish, Emila and Habanik are “really dynamic”.
“They’ve got both contracts for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and they’re looking after Austria via an area developer agreement,” he says.
“We want them to focus on their own territories first, rather than having this massive area.
“They love cars themselves, they’re passionate about customer service, and they’re young and entrepreneurial. Also, the technology story of the Nanotek brand has been very, very strong.
“When we go into these new countries, it’s very much a technological revolution, so we’re getting a lot of press from that side of things.”
“The opportunities in these countries are massive. In Australia, car washing is very developed. Take Russia as an example – there’s a lot more potential. It’s not a developed industry… and there are no franchise systems that do it.”
According to Emila, Nanotek offers a level of professionalism and technology that is unmatched in the market.
“From day one we start with an international track record and momentum that is already building from other successful operations in Europe and Russia,” Emila said in a statement.
“This is a service that we believe will revolutionise car care in Eastern Europe.”
But Nanotek doesn’t plan on stopping there. The next market it is looking to enter is the US, says Cornish.
“I think the US is still in our sights. We went there back in 2007 as Ecowash but the timing was unfortunate because of the global financial crisis,” he says.
“I think we’re going to definitely take another look at the US. We’ve never stopped in a country, so I want to go back and finish it.
“When we went there as Ecowash, we were absolutely inundated. We signed 10 franchisees and a couple of masters. We know that our model, as it was then, was suited to the market.
“In an ideal world, the perfect approach will be operational. I don’t have an interest in franchising in the US. We want to go in there and operate it ourselves.”