Many are turning to electric vehicles (especially as gas prices seem to never stop climbing), but the price of many electric cars can make anyone’s bank account sweat. So, why not look into second-hand electric vehicles (EV)? Bruce Wu, Founder of Carnex, is already a step ahead of you. After choosing to stay in Canada after graduating from the University of Windsor, Bruce founded YST Auto Group. Initially thinking about acquiring a franchise dealership in 2020, Bruce noticed a gap in support for purchasing used electric vehicles. Thus, Carnex was born. Providing high quality electric vehicles and an online buying experience, Carnex’s mission is to make purchasing used EVs as simple as purchasing a new car.
What does Asian Heritage Month mean to you?
“Heritage encompasses many things. It’s about cultural teachings, personal experiences, beliefs and of course, our ethnic roots. For me, it has shaped who I am today, my goals, my personality and my values. I was born in Hebei, China. Growing up in a traditional Chinese household, I was taught the value of a strong education that emphasized learning and hard work. These values instilled in me have helped me throughout my life and in business,” explained Bruce.
How did you start your business?
“I started with a little detailing shop in Mississauga eight years ago. Step by step, it grew to become an auto group; a small ecosystem servicing a majority of the Asian community in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). In 2019, we were considering taking a leap forward by purchasing a franchise dealership to further expand our presence in the automotive space. This plan was put to a halt when the pandemic happened, we had to go back to the drawing board,” said Bruce. “We noticed a significant change in the way consumers purchased items due to the pandemic, everything was online. A light bulb lit up in my head and the question I asked myself was, “What if people bought cars online?” This is how our Carnex journey began.”
What is one of the biggest and/or most difficult lesson you’ve had to learn as an entrepreneur?
“In the beginning of the YST Auto Group, I started with an automotive detailing shop. I’ll admit, those days were extremely tough, everyday was a challenge and the thought of calling it quits ran through my mind constantly. Of course, I didn’t quit. The entrepreneurial spirit in me kept me going and to keep pushing forward,” shared Bruce. “It is this same drive that I bring with me to my new venture, Carnex. This is the toughest venture yet because we are building a new trend and the market is still in its infant stage. Since this is new, we have many hurdles in front of us and we also have a higher-than-usual burn rate that is necessary to achieve our goal. Luckily, we’ve survived so far and have started turning a profit. This goes back to what I mentioned earlier, never give up and continue to push forward to achieve your dream.”
This piece is part of Startup Canada’s wider campaign to celebrate and honour Asian Heritage Month. Find more entrepreneur stories such as Bruce’s in our full list of Asian entrepreneurs who are shaking up Canada.