5 Questions with … Caribou CEO Kevin Bennett

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Caribou Chief Executive Kevin Bennett puts company culture first as he leads his team through a season of growth.

Kevin Bennett, CEO, Caribou

In November, Caribou, the auto fintech formerly known as MotoRefi, completed its rebrand, expanding its technological capabilities and opening the door to insurance offerings.

With a new name came a new website, new company logo and new employees, but throughout the transition Bennett did not lose sight of what was important to standing employees — the team culture.

Employees have embraced the change and have interpreted the new brand in their own ways with a united goal of “helping customers save money,” Bennett said.

Shortly after the official launch of Caribou in November, the company partnered with Uber to offer refinancing on driver vehicles. “The Uber partnership is a great way to launch into our rebrand and get people to recognize what Caribou is while saving people money,” Bennett told Auto Finance News in November.

The Uber partnership is just the beginning with more expansion plans in the works for 2022, he said, noting, “We are growing like crazy.”

Auto Finance Excellence sat down with Bennett to discuss the rebrand of Caribou, his personal leadership style and the company’s growth.

Auto Finance Excellence: What are your company goals in about 10 words or less?

Kevin Bennett: Transform consumers’ financial relationships with their cars.

AFE: What is your favorite piece of leadership advice you ever received?

KB: When I was growing up my father put great emphasis on honesty and integrity and the fact that people need to be able to trust your word. He would do business deals on a handshake and people knew if he said he was going to do something, he’d do it. Customers, team members, investors and partners need to be able to trust you. It’s critical to leadership and being credible and successful.

AFE: Who has had the biggest influence on your career?

KB: My father. He passed away when I was 14 and had a tremendous influence on me. He was an entrepreneur and worked across many different industries but was always willing to step back and take a perspective that was different from the mainstream point of view. He was a wonderful role model and example that you don’t need to do what everyone else does but you need to think for yourself.

AFE: What do you think is the most underrated lending trend?

KB: Refinancing your car. A majority of people don’t know that there is an opportunity to save money in their lives. It’s very common to know about refinancing your home or education, but refinancing your car is a way for consumers to save money, especially today.

AFE: What’s something your employees would be surprised to learn about you?

KB: I’m a huge dog lover. My wife and I have a rescue Boxer-Pitbull named Judy Garland and Judy is the star of the show. She runs the house.

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