Inside Carwow’s plans to disrupt the motoring market

The company’s investors include venture firms Balderton Capital, Accel Partners, Episode 1 Ventures and Samos Investment, while last month it …

Carwow is an e-commerce platform, enabling consumers to buy cars from franchise dealers. The company’s investors include venture firms Balderton Capital, Accel Partners, Episode 1 Ventures and Samos Investment, while last month it received £25m of investment from Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler AG.

The organisation’s director of data, Tim Hesse, explains that Carwow’s aim is to disrupt a market which has not changed much in the last two decades.

“It’s still a non-transparent and bluntly awful experience for the customer to purchase a car, and this is the reason Carwow exists to bring more transparency and enable consumers to understand what car they need and find a great deal using great data,” he tells NS Tech.

The aim is to make it possible to not only find the perfect car, but also to receive a good service from the dealer while doing so. This means Carwow has to cater for the consumer as well as help the dealer network.

“The dealers need to understand what the customer wants, what stage of the enquiry they are at, what they can afford and how likely they are to buy a car in the next two weeks. Meanwhile, we need to ensure we give the customer the best experience, answering queries effectively and actually converting the customer into a purchase,” Hesse explains.

In order to be able to answer many of these questions, Hesse and his team rely on data that goes beyond what is traditionally used by many car dealerships, who usually rely on limited data such as the number of cars that have sold well and the number that haven’t.

“We have actual behavioural shopping data which is common in many other industries; so we can understand how people interact with certain cars, models or trims, whether they’re engaged more on certain stacks of cars or engine types, and what they switch to if they don’t end up progressing on a certain car,” Hesse says.

He believes this is unique to Carwow and helps manufacturers and dealerships better understand customers as Carwow can tell them that the reason their model wasn’t picked was probably because the customer has found a better finance contribution or they just have a more appealing spec level at that price.

The company captures the data between customers and dealers and records conversations through either its message platform or core platform.

Scaling up from scrappy

While Carwow can still be considered a start-up, it now has 220 employees and a presence in the UK, Germany and Spain. Hesse believes the company is going through a transitional stage, moving from a more scrappy work environment to a mature company.

“For data teams in start-ups it doesn’t matter if things scale initially, we just wanted to get some insightful information that we can use to make a decision today as this is hugely empowering for a data function. We didn’t care a lot about whether what we were doing was scalable and if it was a good infrastructure and if we could reuse it,” Hesse explains.

But now that the company is in a its scale-up phase, the mindset has shifted from being fast to being more strategic, meaning there is more thought put into how the infrastructure is built, and how access to data is provided.

The company had been a Tableau customer for a number of years, but Hesse says that it was only in the last year that Carwow has been able to fully exploit the software.

“Now we have access to relevant reporting, finding data is easier, users can interact with data directly and play with the data to get their own insights,” Hesse states.

As the company is in different levels of maturity in its three markets, it has also been easier with its business intelligence (BI) tools like Tableau to transfer learnings and insights across.

“We shifted to Snowflake a year ago which enabled us to scale much quicker, and it’s a lot easier to build a lot of infrastructure and scale it to another territory. The team in Spain thought it was amazing what we had built for them, but we had actually just built it for the UK and transferred it across,” Hesse says.

Now, his team is empowering the whole business to think more strategically and use the data tools on offer, rather than merely finding quick insights to base decisions on.

The combination of Tableau, Snowflake and Fivetran have helped the company to create a good baseline for its BI. Next, Hesse wants to focus more on the data science and machine learning part of his team, so that Carwow can build recommendation engines, and be smarter in how it attributes value to different marketing channels.

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Revolut plans to hire 400 staff in Portugal

… has a valuation of around $1.7bn and has raised around $340m in funding from such backers as Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Balderton Capital.
Challenger Banks

The digital bank calls Portugal a ‘key fintech hub in Europe’.

Revolut plans to hire 400 staff in Portugal

Image source: Company supplied

Revolut plans to create up to 400 new jobs in Portugal as the digital bank opens 1,000 new accounts a day in the southern European nation.

The London-based start-up with six million customers across Europe has also appointed three senior managers to help lead its growing team.

Revolut has 250,000 customers in Portugal, with one of the bank’s co-founders adding that the country is emerging as a “key fintech hub in Europe”.

The fintech has appointed Ricardo Macieira as growth manager, who will be responsible for developing Revolut’s business in the country. Macieira was formerly the country manager for Airbnb in Portugal.

New Porto headquarters

It has also hired Rebeca Venâncio who will head the firm’s public relations. She joins from Microsoft in Portugal where she worked in marketing and communications for almost three years.

Miguel Costa also joins the bank as community manager, and is tasked with raising levels of customer engagement. He has previously worked for such firms as MOG and Nomad Tech.

Revolut currently has around 70 customer support workers in Porto, northwest Portugal. But plans to boost this to 400 staff, covering complaints, investigations and compliance.

The firm adds that construction work is in progress on a new building to house its new staff on the site of an old sardine cannery in Matosinhos, in northern Porto. The bank said the new office should be completed later this year.

Key European fintech hub

Revolut was founded in 2015 by former Credit Suisse trader Nik Storonsky (pictured) and former Deutsche Bank systems engineer Vlad Yatsenko.

Storonsky said: “Portugal is quickly emerging itself as a key fintech hub in Europe.”

He added: “Last year, during my trip to WebSummit in Lisbon, it became very clear to me that the country was fully embracing all the benefits that financial technology has to offer.”

Revolut has a valuation of around $1.7bn and has raised around $340m in funding from such backers as Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Balderton Capital.

The Weekly Notable Startup Funding Report: 8/12/19

… Cockroach Labs has now raised a total of $108.5M in reported equity funding and is backed by investors that include GV, Index Ventures, Redpoint, …

Tagged With: Alex Chung, Balderton Capital, Ben Darnell, Bessemer Venture Partners, Bisk Ventures, Calin SJG Fund, Canaan Partners, Casa Verde Capital, Cisco Investments, Coatue Management, Cockroach Labs, CRV, Cybereason, Dadi, Donghao Li, Dwayne Lafleur, Eleanor Cooper, Emerge, Ezoic, Firstminute Capital, FundersClub, GV, Heritas Capital Management, Human Interest, Index Ventures, K2VC, Kurt Rathmann, LeafLink, Lerer Hippeau, Lior Div, Liran Haimovitch, Lockheed Martin, Muse Capital, Nat Friedman, Nat Turner, New Amsterdam Capital, New Ground Ventures, Next Coast Ventures, Or Weis, Oriza Ventures, Pathstream, Paul Sawaya, Peter Mattis, Phyto Partners, Raymond Colletti, Redpoint, Rethink Education, Roger Lee, Rookout, Ryan Smith, Sageview Capital, ScaleFactor, Sequoia Capital, SoftBank, Soma Capital, Spark Capital, Spencer Kimball, Susa Ventures, TCG Capital, TDM Partners, TechStars, Tekton Ventures, Third Kind Venture Capital, Thrive Capital, Tiger Global Management, TLV Partners, Tom Smith, Tripalink, Tuesday Capital, UpHonest Capital, Y Combinator, Yonatan Amit, Yossi Naar, Zach Silverman

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Daimler leads £25m investment round in Carwow platform

Existing investors Balderton Capital, Accel and Vitruvian Partners are all reinvesting in the technology platform, while Daimler’s Axel Harries will take a …

Carwow, an online new car sales platform, has closed a £25m funding round, led by German vehicle manufacturer Daimler AG.

The funding injection will be used to accelerate growth for Carwow in the UK, Germany and Spain. The company plans to invest in talent, product development and marketing.

The platform is designed to help consumers through the car-buying journey with plentiful information and reviews, transparency on pricing and ratings across the site’s network of dealerships. More than £5bn’s worth of cars have been bought on the platform since the company launched – representing 5% of the total UK market.

Since launching in Germany in 2016, the company has experienced rapid growth and now accounts for 1.5% of all new retail car sales. The Spanish operation, launched a year ago, expects to sell €200 million worth of vehicles by the end of this year.

Existing investors Balderton Capital, Accel and Vitruvian Partners are all reinvesting in the technology platform, while Daimler’s Axel Harries will take a seat on the firm’s board of directors. The investment round marks the first time Carwow has opened up to strategic investors.

“When carwow was founded, there was a view from the industry that there might be some resistance for a model that levelled the playing field for consumers and dealers,” said James Hind. “Having one of the world’s leading car manufacturers investing in the future growth and success of our business is a real proof point that this is a solution that works.

“This demonstrates that the industry perspective is shifting to what we anticipated when we launched, not only that the car purchasing journey was primed to move into the digital era, but that dealers and manufacturers can greatly reap the benefits of more informed and empowered customers.”

Rob Moffat, partner at Balderton Capital, added: “We are delighted to bring Daimler on board at carwow, alongside further investment from Balderton, Accel and Vitruvian. This investment from one of the leading global car manufacturers demonstrates how strategically important carwow is becoming for online car sales across Europe.”

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Daimler leads £25 million strategic financing round for London-based car marketplace Carwow

It’s the first time the London scale-up has opened up to strategic investors, having earlier taken funding from the likes of Episode 1, Balderton Capital, …

UK-based car marketplace Carwow today announced a £25 million strategic funding round, led by German car manufacturer Daimler, the parent company of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Daimler exec Axel Harries will also take a seat on the Carwow board of directors.

It’s the first time the London scale-up has opened up to strategic investors, having earlier taken funding from the likes of Episode 1, Balderton Capital, Accel, Vitruvian Partners and others. The latter three also participated in this new round.

James Hind, who started Carwow as a car review aggregator business almost a decade ago along with Alexandra Margolis and David Santoro, said: “When carwow was founded, there was a view from the industry that there might be some resistance for a model that levelled the playing field for consumers and dealers. Having one of the world’s leading car manufacturers investing in the future growth and success of our business is a real proof point that this is a solution that works.”

The company says its marketplace has already been used to facilitate £2 billion+ worth of car sales to date.

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