Used-car digital platforms have been proliferating across the world for a handful of significant reasons, but most of those are related to our recent pandemic (still ongoing, of course). Among those reasons is the rapid digitization of the used car industry, as startups have flooded the market with easier-to-use platforms that the older e-commerce-style ones lacked. The other is that — with the pandemic straining supply chains for microchips, essential in new cars — the premium on used cars has skyrocketed, as the supply of new cars has been constricted.
Among the platforms to have arisen in the last couple of years is Autohero, which has jumped on the used car market.
The "used car boom" is now spreading across Central and Eastern Europe with the news that Spotawheel, the CEE-focused used-car platform has raised a €100 million in equity and asset-backed debt. Athens-based VentureFriends led the equity round, with participation from Adevinta Ventures, UNIQA Ventures, Rockaway Ventures, Velocity Partners, FJ Labs, Collective Spark, Endeavour Catalyst and others. The debt side of the round was led by an unnamed U.K.-based credit fund together with some equally unnamed institutional investors. The credit fund subscribed to the equity round as well.
Spotawheel estimates that the Central and Eastern Europe used car market is worth €100 billion and claims it has attained leading market positions in Poland and Greece; and it is now launching Romania. The company claims it is on track to reach a €200 million revenue run rate by the end of the year.
Charis Arvanitis, founder and CEO of Spotawheel said it had also launched a used-car subscription offering. Asked what he thought Spotawheel’s competitive advantage was against competitors like Autohero in Poland, he told me: “Our major competitive advantage is our proprietary sourcing engine blending technologies like big data, machine learning with human ingenuity.” He said it also offers a written technical inspection of cars, five years warranty, 14 days money return policy, as well as countrywide vehicle delivery.
“We are very excited to further support Spotawheel in its quest to expand internationally while upgrading its Europe-wide data-driven inventory sourcing," said George Dimopoulos, partner at VentureFriends, in a statement.
Spotawheel says it expects to add more staff and scale up Germany operations while establishing teams throughout Western Europe.