Autoquake, an online used car retailer in the UK, has raised £4m from Accel and Highland Partners. Autoquake has already had a £6 million second round of funding from Highland and Accel last April. That takes total funding to date to £14 million and thus a planned international expansion.
The investment comes at an interesting time for the car industry, which is in huge dire straits. Autoquake is disrupting the car retail industry by selling quality used cars on behalf of large corporate fleet and leasing companies direct to consumers. Part of the equation is a virtual showroom and high quality digital pictures of the actual cars on sale, which imparts a great deal more information to the buyer than your average eBay site. Sales are faster and the average 10% discount is higher than most traditional dealers and car supermarkets. It helps that even though modern company cars are normally thrashed to death they last incredibly well compared to a few years ago. Autoquake also does a though check of the cars prior to sale.
The site claims to have doubled its sales in the last 6 months. Total sales in 2009 are expected to exceed 15,000 cars, assisted by the opening last month, of a new large-scale indoor distribution centre in Leeds to add to the existing site in Birmingham. Garry Hobson is CEO of Autoquake.
This latest move by Accel merely confirms the trend that the larger VCs are concentrating on growth capital for their startups.