In the less than two years since its October 2016 launch, AutoGravity has added more than a couple dozen lenders to its vehicle shopping and financing platform.
Now "there are more lenders knocking on the door than we can let in," said Serge Vartanov, chief marketing officer. So AutoGravity's strategy, initially centered on client expansion, is shifting toward enhancing existing relationships.
Take its ties with U.S. Bank, for instance.
In January, U.S. Bank launched an auto financing platform on its website, powered by AutoGravity. Because of AutoGravity's partnerships with automakers and dealerships, U.S. Bank customers can access a database of dealership inventory through the platform. AutoGravity built the white-labeled platform in less than two months so U.S. Bank's auto financing tool would be live in time for the 2018 Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. White-labeled products are those produced by one company and rebranded and sold by another.
"This is one example of how we have been able to expand and deepen the relationship with one of our lenders," Vartanov said. "By working with a technology provider like AutoGravity, [U.S. Bank was] able to get this live effectively less than two months from the time we decided to engage with them, which in the automotive industry is light speed and really speaks to U.S. Bank as an innovator and their willingness to embrace innovation and drive the way people are buying and financing cars in the industry."
U.S. Bank is the only lender with a white-labeled website powered by AutoGravity, but the Irvine, Calif., company provides white-labeled mobile apps to Audi Financial Services, Volkswagen Credit and Kia Motors Finance. More white-labeled mobile apps are in the pipeline to launch this year, Vartanov said.
The financial technologies company introduced its first white-labeled app in 2016 with Fletcher Jones Automotive Group, of Las Vegas. FJ Drive, Fletcher Jones' app, was the proof of concept that led lenders to invest in their own AutoGravity- powered app, Vartanov said.
The AutoGravity platform now has more than 1.5 million vehicles of inventory, 2 million users and more than a dozen lenders.
"We want to make buying and financing a car as easy as ordering an Uber," said CEO Andy Hinrichs. "The user interface has to be intuitive enough that the language comes secondary because it's just easy to figure out what to do."
Hinrichs, who was previously an executive for Daimler Financial Services, compares AutoGravity to the travel site Expedia. "Expedia doesn't operate airlines or hotels or anything, but it works with hotels and airlines in order to enable a consumer experience that is state of the art. AutoGravity does the same thing."
Vartanov said AutoGravity's lender and dealer partners are creative when it comes to alternative ownership models, so AutoGravity has to be creative, as well.
"As we look at all those things on the horizon — from digital retailing to new ownership models — we evaluate them based on not just the potential, but also the growth. And we build in that direction," he said.
Many of AutoGravity's clients are working toward offering vehicle subscriptions. Hyundai Capital America, for example, offers a subscription-style ownership option for the Hyundai Ioniq.
AutoGravity still only provides the shopping and financing tool for a traditional ownership model, but Vartanov said the company plans to update its platform to support vehicle subscriptions this year.
"Subscription models and flexible ownership are becoming quite the trend in the automotive industry," Vartanov said. "AutoGravity was built with the flexibility to take those kinds of options to market if [our partners] choose to do so."