About a year into Yossi Levi’s time working on his dad’s car lot in Northeast Philadelphia as a Temple University student back in 2015, the young entrepreneur knew there was more money to be made and an expanded business model to explore.
“I don’t even know how to explain it, I didn’t have that much clarity yet, but I knew we could do better,” Levi told Technical.ly, about the traditional car sales model. “I couldn’t see myself continue to deliver this type of experience for the next 20 years.”
Over the next few years, Levi helped grow the company from a $2 million-per-year business to a $30-million one — and started making plans for an ecommerce auto sales business. In 2018, he launched Gettacar, and in the past three years, built a company that now offers used auto sales, financing services and delivery. The business model also allows Gettacar to quality control inventory, logistics, reconditioning and merchandising in-house.
Gettacar has also quietly raised $48 million in venture capital; late last month, the RealLIST Startups 2020 honoree announced it had closed a $25 million round. Levi, now CEO, and other leadership have also built a 150-person team between the Philadelphia region and Tel Aviv, Israel.
In the last few years, the thesis has evolved, Levi said. The company was initially created with focus on the buying experience, but the founder realized that most other companies stopped there. They’ve since doubled down on the owner experience portion of car buying with protection and insurances that are now included in the business model.
And although the company and its team were growing quickly, they weren’t necessarily ready to be so public about it, Levi said.
“Right now, we love that we’re able to deliver the customer experience by being focused,” the founder said. “Instead of growing as quickly as we possibly can, we’re taking a balanced approach of customer experience while we expand. We’re building a team with really great executives.”
And the company has grown in geography, as well as people. It now serves clients in seven markets including Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, D.C., Delaware and Baltimore, with plans to expand to some unnamed markets. In 2020, the company saw a 186% year-over-year increase in sales growth, it said in a recent release. And some of that acceleration was in play before the pandemic forced most purchases online.
While customers might not think of large cities as a place where car sales would flourish, urban dwellers might be more inclined to try a more progressive business model, and the car delivery feature bodes well for a busier lifestyle, Levi said.
Though the company’s still in its early days, Levi said he’s learned plenty about building a growing startup. A word that immediately comes to mind is perseverance, he said.
“You don’t know in a startup what the next week or day will be like,” he said. “You just wake up the next day and punch through. That’s really been our highlight. There’s so much for us to do, and I’m not going to be the person that’s trying to be good at everything.”
It’s advice from a mentor that the founder said he’d pass along to others in his position: Be self aware. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
“It’s one of the things I was told early on,” he said. “To surround myself with people that complement me. If you bring great people around you, that’s how you build a great company.”
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