Flow Automotive Cos., Pohanka Automotive and Holman were among several dealership groups and others who invested $4 million in technology company Orbee Inc., whose platform provides data management and other digital marketing services for dealerships.
Flow, Pohanka and Holman's Holman Enterprises arm were previous investors. They joined the Series A funding round with new investors that included retailers Mills Automotive Group, Qvale Auto Group and Basil Family Dealerships. Auto industry expert Ron Frey and Presidio Group also invested in the round, which was led by FM Capital.
Presidio additionally served as Orbee's financial adviser for the investment round, which attracted more money than initially anticipated.
"We are excited about the confidence shown by both our existing and new investors," Orbee CEO Atul Patel said in a statement.
Founded in 2016, Orbee, of Irvine, Calif., currently employs 57 people. The company said its technology reaches more than 3,000 dealerships through direct customer relationships and partnerships. Plans call for using the venture capital infusion primarily for hiring, an Orbee spokesperson told Automotive News.
Orbee describes its technology as middleware software, which helps different applications used on a platform communicate with one another, and data management.
Orbee's platform is retail automotive technology marketed to both franchised and independent dealers, performing several functions that fall under the umbrella of "customer experience." It can measure marketing investments with campaign analytics, for example; another tool in the Orbee platform helps users understand shopper behavior. Orbee's technology also deploys omnichannel marketing for potential buyers, enables personalized messaging and complies with data privacy laws, the company said.
Use of customer data platforms such as Orbee's in the retail automotive industry will only "expand exponentially" over time, Chase Fraser, managing partner at FM Capital, said in a statement.
"Our investment in Orbee demonstrates our confidence in the potential of this technology," Fraser said.
Damian Mills, CEO of Mills Automotive Group, said in a statement that better use of data "can help us elevate our clients' experiences as they buy vehicles and have them serviced at our dealerships."