Carwow is an online marketplace for new car buyers. Users build the cars they want to buy and compare discounted offers direct from dealers, then buy direct.
Who is your startup aimed at?
How does your startup stand out against it’s competitors?
There’s no direct competitors to us over here, we offer a transparent service where car buyers are in control. They compare upfront offers from multiple dealers whose prices and contact details are all provided. It’s then up to them to get in touch with their favourite dealer and buy direct without feeling pressured. Users love it because they don’t get hounded, and dealerships love it because when somebody gets in touch, they’re a very well qualified lead.
The closest thing to competitors are car brokers – these guys sit in between a dealership and a customer and ‘broker’ the sale, which typically leads to it being about driving down price. It’s not transparent and there can be a fair amount of bait and switch. At carwow we recognise that price is only one part of the equation; Location of the dealers, responsiveness of dealers and reviews from previous carwow buyers are just as important.
Where did the idea for the startup come from?
I’ve always been pretty into cars, so much so that I was being badgered by friends to give them advice when they were buying a new car. Existing car review sites just weren’t helpful to them as they’re focused on petrolheads, not making it comprehensible to your average car buyer.
We launched as a review aggregator helping people choose which new car to buy based on expert reviews and ratings, but soon realised that actually buying a new car was a far bigger problem for people. So, we set out to solve that too!
What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Raising money from VCs was a big achievement, especially from the caliber of VCs who have backed us. It wasn’t easy, we met most of them over 12 months before they actually funded us, but we’re very proud.
What has been your biggest challenge so far as a startup owner?
Hiring is always a challenge. Persuading amazing people who already work for great startups to leave isn’t easy, or cheap!
In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?
What has been your most valuable lesson so far since starting your business?
Finally, If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
Just start. We never would have got into creating a new car marketplace if we hadn’t started as just a content site. Your business will always evolve, but actually jumping into the deep end is the first step.