I love cars. Give me a 6 speed manual transmission and German engineering, and I am happy as a clam. But … I hate car shopping. I hate it so much that I send my poor husband to do all the awful, bullshit-filled negotiating. I feel like a sadistic farmer sending a sacrificial lamb off to the slaughter.
When I got wind of GoMoto, I was super excited. Todd Marcelle and his co-founders have set out to change the car buying experience for good. Based on their backgrounds, I think they can do it. Todd has a great resume: he acquired and sold (with a 12 month turnaround) Multimedia Research Group and served in senior commercial positions at Frontier Strategy Group (FSG), LRN and the Corporate Executive Board (CEB). His co-founders, meanwhile, own car dealerships in the Philadelphia area, so they’re knee-deep in the industry. Here’s their story:
UberStories: Why are you pursuing this idea?
Todd Marcelle: When you want to buy a car – unlike any other buying experience – you can’t compare two cars side by side. People want that convenience factor, and we thought, “Why not? Let’s let people do this.” We also want to change the entire antiquated car buying process.
US: In 140 characters or less, what does your startup do?
TM: GoMoto reinvents the car buying experience for consumers, dealers, and the brand.
TM: We save time, aggravation and streamline the buying process.
We not only want to make it easy to compare cars, but we want to make it easier to test drive a car. We’ll have that car available at the dealership or at the mall; you don’t have to go into the showroom. Just register online, take the car for an hour, and bring it back. If you like it, you can continue the shopping process. We can help with pre-negotiated pricing or provide the price when you walk in. We’ll collect your info for financing before you even get there, and streamline that whole process for you and the dealer.
US: Wow, that is awesome! So, what is your business model?
TM: We are free for consumers; we get a recurring revenue stream from the dealer and brand partners. They pay us to display their vehicles and be part of the network. Also, we’re working with colleges, airports, and train stations to have cars on display.
US: What do you need, and what do you want?
TM: We’re gonna look to raise another round (we raised a small seed round for our pilot) to help us expand out of Philadelphia to take our content national. We’ll continue to invest in our development team and bring in inside and outside sales channels.
We want to ultimately power change in the auto industry to streamline that buying experience. If we can outfit every dealer with our technology, we can start the process of changing the buying process.
US: Do you think these huge sprawling dealerships will go away and be replaced by smaller, more intimate showrooms with only a few cars?
TM: Yes. Not now, but in 20 years. They’ll have 4 or 5 cars so you can test drive them, but there won’t be hundreds of cars on one lot. You will order the car, and they’ll use agile manufacturing to deliver you a car in a week, not 6 weeks.
US: Who is your biggest competitor, and why are you better?
TM: Tred is doing agile test drives, but you’re dealing with a Tread sales guy who shows up at your house with a car. There are legal challenges with that model, plus people feel uncomfortable with it. And how do you scale a business like that? You can’t. Our biggest competitor is the dollars spent on cars.com and traditional ad channels.
US: Tell me something unique or interesting about you or your company that most people don’t know.
TM: We’re all Italian, hammer-and-nail, every day guys. We’re not technologists, but we’re visionaries. We like bringing ideas to fruition that are hard to solve, that people don’t want to touch, but that will ultimately change the way we do things.