TC50: Mota Motors Takes The Pain Out Of The Used Car Marketplace

It’s not often that you hear about innovation in the used car space, but Mota Motors, a new site that’s launching today at TechCrunch50, has managed to pull it off. Mota’s multi-faceted service effectively holds your hand through the entire used car buying (or selling) process, offering a level of trust and convenience that has been difficult to achieve on traditional peer-to-peer car sales channels like CraigsList or Ebay. And with that trust comes some options that used car buys previously haven’t had: using Mota, you can elect to finance a used car — something that you’ve previously only been able to do through deanship used car lots, which typically charge a 20-30% markup.

Here’s how it works: Mota has a database of car listings from multiple used car sites, which you can browse through much as you would on a site like Autotrader. But rather than simply aggregating these listings, Mota adds a layer of intelligence to the process. Say, for example, you happen upon a sedan that you’re interested in purchasing. Mota will analyze the text of the car listing and suggest questions that you should probably ask the seller. If the listing only has one photo, Mota will likely suggest that you ask for a few more. If the car you’re looking at has a history of brake issues, it will suggest that you ask about the last time the brake pads were replaced, and so on.

The next thing Mota does is help establish trust in the deal. Through the service, car sellers can elect to have their cars inspected at an independent repair shop for around $75 to determine if there are any outstanding problems with the vehicle (Mota already has a national deal in place with PepBoys). From there, the seller and prospective buyer can determine who should pay for any necessary repairs. And this certified inspection also opens the doors to allowing finance and extended warranty companies, which historically have only been been able to offer their services to car dealerships, which perform their own inspections.

Mota also offers features directed towards people who are looking to sell their cars: it can effectively write your car listing for you, using sentences that read like an actual human wrote them. And it makes it easy to syndicate your car listing to multiple sites, suggesting an asking price based on current market conditions — CEO Reza Bundy says that the average sale time fro a car can get cut from eight weeks to eight days if you sell it using the proper parameters. The site does a number of other small things to help streamline the process, like using Facebook and MySpace to look up profile photos of buyers and sellers, to help give them a more human face.

Though all of this, Mota is making money. The site gets paid for lead generation to the repair shops that verify cars, as well as from the car sites themselves for the transactions that it helps mediate. And because the car inspection process tells Mota any problems with a car that’s being purchased, it can offer buyers coupons for any repairs they might need — again driving more leads to repair shops. And the service is driving customers to financing and warranty companies (all of this is opt-in for the user).

All in all, the future is looking bright for Mota. The site has already forged deals with some of the nation’s top car sites, including AutoTrader. And the company has a very solid team behind it: Bundy founded IronPlanet, a successful marketplace for used heavy machinery, and VP Marketing Rafael De La Cruz was one of the key executives behind Vitamin Water parent company Glaceau before it was acquired by Coca-Cola.

Q:Are you focused on the seller or the buyer?
A: Both. The buyer can instigate the process.

Q:Why wouldn’t I just go to carmax?
A: It’s a dealer, you’d pay 30% more. Most people are doing peer to peer deals now, to get more money for their cars.

Q: How did the text in that description get generated.
A: We parse the data, look at the keywords. Compare to the most questions to answer. We have have some modular prewritten sentences. Some are seasonal — if you have convertible selling in the summer,we’ll promote that.


Other Coverage:
TC50: Mota wants to curb “lemons,” fix the used car market VentureBeat.
Mota Motors Launches Services