Motorway hits unicorn status with $190m Series C

CEO and co-founder of Motorway Tom Leathes

Press release

Motorway, the UK’s fastest growing used car marketplace, has today achieved unicorn status with a valuation of over $1bn following a $190m Series C funding round.

The round is led by Index Ventures, backers of Deliveroo, Etsy and Dropbox, and ICONIQ Growth, a leading Silicon Valley technology investment firm and partners of Collibra, Miro and Wolt. Existing investors Latitude, Unbound and BMW i Ventures also participated in the round.

Revolutionising the used car market

Motorway enables customers to quickly and easily sell their car for the best price from the comfort of home using only a smartphone. With a network of 4,000 professional car dealers using the platform to directly bid on these vehicles, Motorway helps customers sell their car for up to £1,000 more in as little as 24 hours - while supporting its car dealer partners to acquire the best used car stock online.

Motorway’s rapid growth

Motorway’s continued focus on product innovation and improving the customer experience meant it was well positioned to capitalise on the behavioural change driven by the pandemic, with both dealers and car owners increasingly seeking to buy and sell cars online. As a result, Motorway recorded a 300% uplift in third-quarter sales to $411 million compared with $105 million last year. Over 100,000 used cars have been sold on Motorway since launch, with over 8,000 cars currently being sold a month and a new sale being agreed every five minutes. This recent surge in sales puts Motorway on a run-rate to deliver over $2bn in completed sales over the next year, making it one of the world’s fastest growing online used car marketplaces.

Investment in the customer experience

This new $190m investment will be used to hire the best tech talent and build a world-class team across the business, focussed on improving the customer experience and making Motorway the definitive way for people to sell their cars. The team is expected to grow from 250 to over 350 over the next 12 months.

​​Along with the investment round, Motorway is also announcing the appointment of James Wilson, former Director of Marketplace Fulfillment for Amazon UK, as Chief Operating Officer. James brings significant experience in online commerce for both consumers and businesses, delivering world-class customer experiences at scale.This follows Motorway’s appointment of Lloyd Page (formerly of Moneysupermarket and John Lewis) as Chief Marketing Officer earlier this year.

Tom Leathes, CEO of Motorway, says:

“In 2017, we set out to reinvent how people sell their cars, transforming a broken offline process by introducing a superior online experience. Our team has dedicated themselves to this mission through unprecedented times - enabling us to turn a traditionally lose-lose market into a win-win for our customers and dealer partners.

“We’re now completing over 8,000 car sales a month. That’s a big number, but still less than one percent of UK used car sales - so there’s massive opportunity ahead. We’re thrilled to be working with the teams at Index, ICONIQ and the other investors in this new funding round. It will help us scale even faster, as we strive to build the best technology team in Europe, and change the used car selling experience for the better.”

Danny Rimer, Partner at Index Ventures, says:

“Since joining the board, following our initial investment in June, I have experienced first-hand just how fast Motorway is growing and how agile the team is in scaling the business to support this incredible growth. Strong leadership, coupled with great technology to fuel an incredibly powerful platform, has enabled Motorway to step up a gear and move into the fast lane - they’ve taken advantage of the strong market conditions and changing consumer and dealer behaviour to become the go-to place for people selling their car.”

Yoonkee Sull, Partner at ICONIQ Growth says:

“The used car market’s move online is only accelerating and we believe Motorway is delivering the best consumer experience and the most differentiated supply to dealers in the UK. We believe that while Motorway has already exhibited exceptional growth, the company is just at the beginning of its journey. We are thrilled to support the entire Motorway team in their mission to become the most trusted brand and destination for used car transactions for years to come.”

Motorway previously raised $67.7m in a Series B round in June 2021. This latest investment brings its all-time raise to $273m since it was founded by serial entrepreneurs Tom Leathes, Harry Jones and Alex Buttle in 2017. With offices in London and Brighton, the team has since grown to 250, more than half of whom are in the technology, design or product development teams.

index perspective

Writing about our initial investment in Motorway in June, Index's Georgia Stevenson wrote: For consumers, selling your car has always involved trading off either price or experience. If you want the best price, you need to spend time and money building ads on a classified site before co-ordinating dealer calls and test drives until you "think" you've reached it. If you want the best experience, your quickest option is to go with an Instant Car Buyer, leaving money on the table to make it as painfree as possible. Using the Motorway platform, consumers get the best price via a quicker, more frictionless, experience.

Read the full post: Motorway: Driving new business models in the fast lane.

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Published — Nov. 29, 2021