Ecommerce / Funding / Startups

Meet Motobyo, a tech platform aiming to make selling your car online much simpler

Amid a wild year for used car sales, the platform from the Montgomery County startup went live in August to help folks sell or get cash quick for their car.

Motobyo cofounders Ron Averett (left) and George Lekas. (Courtesy photo)

An experienced auto industry operator and a longtime startup pro are building a tech tool to innovate used car selling and buying.

George Lekas has spend nearly three decades at dealerships, working with the system in which most cars are bought and sold. Lots of people try and sell their cars in a private listing, he said, but they fail: Would-be buyers don’t always trust a big purchase like that from a private seller, and there’s a lack of historical info about the car that they could be getting from a big-name dealer.

After years of polling those who brought their cars in to dealerships after trying to sell themselves, he’s taken those lessons and build a tech-enabled platform addressing them: Motobyo, a platform where a seller can get a quote on their car, list it on a marketplace, and access third-party services like insurance, escrow services and transportation quotes.

The company joins the car-centric ranks of Philly-area startups including car subscription service Go and tech-enabled car sales company Getta, fka Gettacar (which appears to be going through some big changes of its own).

Lekas and cofounder Ron Averett began working on Motobyo back in 2019. But in a year where used car prices hit record highs because of a supply-demand mismatch, they think their platform could be a way for private sellers to get some power back.

Though prices for used cars are finally declining, the system for buying one had room to be improved, the pair said. On Motobyo, a seller will get a quote for their car that they can cash in at any point over a 10-day span. Or, if they choose, they can list it on the platform’s marketplace where buyers can make a bid. If the marketplace doesn’t work out for them over a few days, they have that quote they can rely on at any time in that 10 days, the founders said.

“You are guaranteed a sale of your car,” said Lekas, the company’s COO. “We are creating a marketplace where two people – the buyer and seller — can be successful.”

The platform launched in August first in the Philadelphia area for sellers, though buyers could come from all over the country.

The platform launched three weeks ago first in the Philadelphia area for sellers, though buyers will likely come from all over the country, they said. The founding team sees themselves expanding to nearby ares like New York metro and the DMV next.

Motobyo parters with Midas and Meineke car care centers for a third-party inspection to add transparency for a buyer, and both parties are shown a universal quote in case anything needs to be fixed at the time of a sale. It pulls in data feeds of real-time auto transactions and data about time a vehicle might sit on the market to estimate quotes.

“It’s the first consumer-facing pricing engine that’s been launched in a long time,” Averett said

Motobyo’s CEO comes from a startup and VC background, spending years working with startup leaders to shape their companies, and raising millions in capital. He semi-entered retirement a few years ago, but kept his eye out for exciting projects, something he said he found with Lekas.

“I had assumed I’d find something interesting enough to become a part of,” Averett said. “When I met George and got to talking, my original reaction was, ‘This is too good to be true.'”

The cofounders are joined by three other members of a leadership team, including Steve Jovanelly as CTO, and just leased office space in Horsham. Motobyo currently has 13 full-time staff members, and an additional team of eight overseas development contractors. The team is supplemented with advisors, contractors and content creators, some roles that the founders say they want to bring in house soon.

The founders have invested $1.1 million in an early seed round to build out the technology and create their business and marketing plan, and say they’ve closed $1.6 million of a $2.5 million later-stage seed round to launch the company.

“In the end, we’re aiming to remove inefficiencies in the marketplace,” Lekas said, “while allowing you to get a little bit more for your car.”

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