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Prodigy raises $5.4M to unify the in-store and online car-buying experience

Prodigy raises $5.4M to unify the in-store and online car-buying experience
From TechCrunch - February 1, 2018

If youve ever tried to buy a car, theres a good chance that a lot of your research has shifted online as its become easier and easier to figure out exactly the kind of car you wantand less of it is about going to a dealership.

At least, thats what Michia Rohrssen is baking on. He and his co-founders started Prodigy, a company based on extending that same kind of experience you have researching cars online to the actual dealership itself. Instead of walking into a dealership knowing exactly what you want, Prodigy aims to make that part of the experience as well by creating a service that customers use online and salespeople use on-site to help a buyer discover the right car for them. So, for example, customers might want to come in and try a few things out, and then go home and continue to research. Prodigy today said it has raised $5.4 million in a seed round led by8VC, Battery Ventures, SV Angel and CrunchFund.

Car buying habits are changingyou have customers visiting 1.6 dealerships down from 6 dealerships, Rohrssen said. Those customers are doing an average of 18 hours to 20 hours of research before going in. When they get there theyve done so much research chances are they know more than the salesperson does.The consumer has changed significantly over the last 5-10 years, yet the dealership hasnt changed much. Our mission from day one was, we want to build software that equips dealers with the tech they need to handle these customer changes and deliver.

Like so many other startups, getting here was more of a discovery process for Prodigy, which started off as just focusing online. Rohrssen said this serviced a niche-within-a-niche part of the sales component for dealerships, but they found that a few were running it on iPads internally and kind of bending the service to work toward the way it does now. So they went back to the drawing board with that information and ended up with the result here.

The other goal was to unify the whole sales process into a single unit, while dealerships are used to jumping from six to eight different services. To test that, dealerships brought in fresh salespeoplewho werent accustomed to the traditional processand equipped them with iPads to see if it worked. So far the results have at least piqued the interest of a handful of dealerships, Rohrssen said,

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