SALT LAKE CITY–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gauge, an online auction for dealers to buy vehicles directly from consumers, announced today that it closed an oversubscribed $5.3 million seed round led by Maniv Mobility, with participation from other mobility and marketplace investors including Proeza Ventures and FJ Labs. Gauge will use this round to expand into new cities while continuing to build its technology.
Launched in September 2020, Gauge helps for-sale-by-owner sellers get more for their vehicles, while providing a simple solution for dealers to buy high-quality vehicles from private sellers. Unlike other sell-your-car solutions, Gauge has aligned its incentives with sellers because its goal is to find the right buyer and get to the highest offer possible, which, in turn, drives volume of transactions for dealers.
“Gauge was built to help dealers get the inventory they need, while giving consumers an easier way to get the most for their vehicle,” said Josh Hirahara, founder and CEO of Gauge. “Most consumers don’t realize this, but if you find the right market and dealership that needs your vehicle, you can sell it for even more than you would selling it yourself privately. And from the dealer’s perspective, they’re able to find vehicles in our marketplace that would never make it to them through their traditional auction channels.”
Gauge inspects each vehicle, puts the condition report in its online auction (StockUp) and brings the highest offer possible back to the consumer, requiring no commitment to sell. The buyer pays the fees associated with purchasing the vehicle that are in line with traditional auction fees, so the full offer goes to the seller and Gauge only makes money when they successfully help a buyer and seller transact. Additionally, Gauge guarantees the condition of the vehicle to buyers, which gives buyers more peace of mind and helps sellers get more money for their vehicle.
Hirahara founded the company based on experiences he had helping some of the largest dealers in the country acquire used vehicles from consumers. “When I was working with these dealerships that have very sophisticated algorithms instructing how much to pay for a vehicle at any point in time, we would regularly see offers $3,000 apart from each other, and which dealer was willing to pay more would often flip the following week. They weren’t being unfair, they just didn’t need the vehicle as much as another buyer did at that point in time. This made a lot of sense to me as a partner to them, but I knew that it wasn’t what was best for the consumer who was selling their vehicle.” He knew that if he could create a marketplace that functions similar to how dealerships transact with each other, he could bring more trust to both sides of the transaction.
“The used car market ebbs and flows, but dealers will always be looking for streamlined ways to access better inventory, and private owners will always seek more for their cars. Gauge unlocks the underdeveloped category of consumer-to-dealer auctioning through its end-to-end digital user experience, serving as a trusted partner to both sides of the transaction,” said Nate Jaret, a partner at Maniv Mobility who has joined Gauge’s board. “As the public markets evince newfound reservation around the pureplay online dealership business model, we’re excited to partner with Gauge for this next chapter of sustainable growth.”
Both small independent dealers and large franchised dealer groups like Ken Garff, Larry H. Miller, Tim Dahle, Bill Luke, and more, have been successfully buying vehicles from Gauge. Dealership buyers can buy a few vehicles or dozens per month depending on their needs, and only pay on a per-transaction basis. For dealers, this is the first channel to acquire vehicles from consumers at scale, whereas previously they could only buy vehicles from a limited number of local consumers.
Gauge currently operates in Salt Lake City and Phoenix, and plans to open 10 additional markets in the next 24 months. Gauge has transacted over $75m worth of vehicles to date and volume grew 5x in 2021.
Gauge is an online auction to buy vehicles directly from consumers. Gauge makes it simple for consumers to get more for their vehicle and for dealers to purchase inventory that isn’t available in their current channels. For more information about Gauge, visit sellgauge.com and stockupsolutions.com.
Maniv Mobility is the leading venture investor partnering with early-stage transportation technology startups. With over USD $250m under management, Maniv invests globally with a focus on the US, EU and Israel. Focused on the decarbonization of the transportation and logistics sectors as well as the comprehensive digitization of those value chains, Maniv has built a portfolio of nearly forty companies accelerating the cleaner, safer, more efficient and more accessible movement of people and goods. Maniv Mobility is backed by world-class institutional investors alongside a broad consortium of strategic partners from relevant industries including leading carmakers, tier-1 suppliers, energy companies, infrastructure giants, and more.