TORONTO – Mark Endras, the cofounder and CEO of TradeRev, a Toronto startup which has developed an automated used-car bidding platform for the automotive sector, knows a thing or two about the industry he’s disrupting. After all, he runs a dealership himself. After graduating from the University of Toronto at the height of the early-aughts dotcom boom, then leaving a job with a hot startup just before the first Internet bubble burst, Endras ended up at his father’s business, a network of car dealerships in the Toronto suburb of Ajax, Ontario, which he inherited in 2008.
CARY, N.C. – The growth trajectory of TradeRev, starting from Canada, has spread throughout that country and into the South, East Coast and North Central areas of the U.S. It has hopped the pond to offer white-label services in the United Kingdom, with discussions ongoing to launch in mainland Europe. In mid-March, it secured up to $15 million in credit from KAR Auction Services, which is a backer of the smartphone-based auction company. That investment is primarily being used to foster the continued rollout of the product in additional U.S. markets.
It was mid-afternoon on Dec. 5, 2013, and KAR Auction Services chief executive Jim Hallett was at a meeting in a Chicago boardroom. A person in that meeting was discussing a new product called TradeRev that had been launched in Canada. “I stopped the meeting, and I said, ‘Go and phone the principals right now, and tell them we’d like to buy their company,’” Hallett said. Within 60 days of making that phone call, KAR was in discussions with TradeRev to acquire a 50-percent ownership stake in the company. The deal officially closed in August 2014.
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