Consumers used to go to car dealership websites and find plenty of ways to look at cars, but very few ways to ever actually buy one. Plenty of sites would list all of their inventory, but a customer still had to make the trip to the dealership in order to purchase anything.
A digital commerce startup called Drive Motors jumped in to fill that void. Unlike Carvana and Shift and other online used car startups that have emerged on the scene, this company is providing the “buy button” for dealerships and automakers by creating a native transaction layer within their existing webpages and stores.
Now, the three-year-old company is flush with a fresh injection of capital, high-profile investors and a new name that Founder Aaron Krane says better reflects its broader vision and business plan.
The startup, now called Modal, has raised $5 million in capital from new investors, including Peter Thiel, Japanese dealer conglomerate IDOM, and Ally Ventures, the investing arm of national auto lender Ally Financial.
The company started small, first landing local dealerships in California as customers of its real-time financing and digital commerce platform. Today, its customers include auto brands and some of the largest dealer groups in the country. In 2018, the startup saw its online monthly volume per store double to more than $1.8 million per month, and more than $10 million per month for top-performing individual stores.
That transaction layer is still the core feature of the company’s business, Krane said. Modal has added several new features since its last funding round, including real-time financing, digital documents and in-store point of sale.
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