The online car retail and finance platform Shift Technologies secured a $140 million series-D funding round led by Lithia Motors Inc. last week. The funding includes a strategic partnership that will give the startup access to physical locations to scale its business, Toby Russell, co-chief executive of Shift, told AFN.
Shift enables consumers to shop online and have the car delivered to their home to test drive before completing the financing and paperwork from a mobile interface on site. In addition to increased access to capital, the partnership will enable Shift to access extra storage, logistics, data sharing, and pricing data through Lithia’s more than 200 stores across the country.
“As we talked to Lithia about what Shift needed to really scale was our need for physical real estate as a place to store cars,” Russell said. “Lithia’s stores have excess parking, and space for vehicles, and secure locations, which will be very useful in that regard.”
Based on early user feedback, Russell said he realized that an integrated, seamless finance experience needed to be a part of the company’s offering.
“Most people don’t walk around with $20,000 in their pockets and for good reasons both for capital needs and it’s just good capital management frankly,” he said. “We’ve developed a platform that will allow you to apply for and get a loan in real time on an iPad app that is carried by our drivers that come out to you.”
Consumers can choose to test drive the car first before applying for a loan, or they can treat it as a direct deal by seeking financing on Shift’s online platform first.