DETROIT — Online used-vehicle retailer Vroom said it closed a $254 million funding round, bringing the 6-year-old company's total capital raised to $721 million.
The new funds will go in part toward expanding a Detroit office, which opened in August. The Detroit location is a product and engineering hub, similar to ones the company has in Houston and in New York City, where it's based.
"Detroit is just a super-logical place because of access to great talent, and automotive is in the water in Detroit," CEO Paul Hennessy said in a phone interview.
Vroom has 20 employees at the Detroit office and plans to triple its product and engineering staff there.
The latest funding in Vroom also will go toward "classic, general corporate purposes," such as building out its e-commerce platform, scaling its employee count, marketing and further investing in its reconditioning network, Hennessy said.
Vroom has one vehicle-reconditioning center, based in the Houston area, and the company also uses a series of third-party partnerships to support its reconditioning efforts throughout the U.S.
"Our approach is a hybrid approach, which we view as asset-light," said Hennessy, who was CEO of Priceline before joining Vroom in 2016. "So we'll have a couple of our own reconditioning factories and then continue to scale by working in conjunction with other qualified, third-party reconditioning facilities."
The funding round was led by Durable Capital Partners LP, with participation from funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., L Catterton and others, Vroom said.
Chevy Chase, Md.-based Durable Capital was founded this year by longtime T. Rowe Price portfolio manager Henry Ellenbogen. The venture capital firm, which was partially funded by an investment of up to $200 million by the University of Michigan, recently made its first deal.
Another key partner is AutoNation, which led a funding round of $146 million for Vroom in 2018, including $50 million from the retailer. Asked about that investment, Hennessy said the companies continue to explore partnerships in areas such as reconditioning, but he declined to name any other specific initiatives.
Vroom has about 5,000 vehicles for sale on its website. It buys and sells cars and trucks in all 50 U.S. states.