My Startup: Motorway

Charlie Spargo's picture

Motorway provides a new way to quickly sell a used car, matching users with car buying websites and specialist car dealers.

Anyone hoping to sell a vehicle can get it off their hands in 24 hours with Motorway, which puts power in the hands of the sellers. For free, they can value their car and compare the best offers from both online car buyers and specialist dealers.

Whether it's a coveted collectors' model or a regular runaround, Motorway will get the price each car deserves, and save the seller valuable time too. 

Founders: Tom Leathes, Harry Jones, Alex Buttle

Founded: 2017

Website: motorway.co.uk

We talked to the founding team to learn all about Motorway.

Why did you start Motorway?

We wanted to build Motorway because, as founders, our experience as consumers with buying and selling cars has always been bad - unfair deals, bad service, loads of hassle. We got really excited about using technology to turn this experience on its head.

The car industry is also going through a period of existential change, where technology in its various forms - electric batteries, autonomous driving, mobile, D2C commerce - is going to disrupt everything. 

Price comparison and online marketplaces have made things better for consumers in most major sectors (travel, finance, telecoms, and property, for example). Now felt like the right time to start building Motorway to bring that transparency and choice to the car industry. 

People can spend hours trawling comparison websites to save £100 on a flight or £300 on an annual energy bill. So why not apply the same price comparison logic to selling your car? The potential gains to your bank balance can dwarf savings you can make in other major sectors. 

Tell us more about the product.

Motorway is the first comparison site to sell your car. The site provides customers with instant offers for their car from hundreds of online car buyers and specialist dealers. Car sellers can compare offers, choose their best deal and sell in minutes - adding choice, transparency and speed to the formerly tricky process of selling a car.

As a two-sided marketplace, Motorway’s buyer technology enables car buying firms and dealers to directly access private car sellers online, and acquire the best used car stock instantly - ensuring everyone gets a better deal in the process.

Where are you at right now?

After launching two years ago, Motorway has since grown rapidly. We're now seeing over 100,000 car sales enquiries a month (one every 30 seconds), and we have over 1,500 car buying companies using the platform to buy cars. We’ve already achieved over £200 million worth of completed car sales across the UK in that time.

Motorway is now a team of 60 people across its two offices in London and Brighton. The company has secured a total £14 million in venture capital funding from Marchmont Ventures, LocalGlobe and others.

What are your aims for the next year?

We’ve grown rapidly so far, but we have a lot more technology to deliver. We expect to offer our service to millions more UK consumers, and onboard thousands of new buyers to the platform in 2020.

So we’re focusing the next year on growing the team further (particularly in engineering), expanding our marketing, and deepening ties with major automotive dealers and buyers across the country.

What's been the hardest thing about getting Motorway off the ground?

We have had periods in the last two years where we’ve had more sellers and buyers on the platform than we expected - handling those spikes in demand with a small team is always really challenging as you never want to let any customers down, so it has required all hands on deck for most of the last two years to make sure we always deliver the best service possible.

Why should more people be using Motorway?

There’s so much inefficiency in used car transactions - bad part exchange deals, distressed sales to firms like WeBuyAnyCar, or private listings on AutoTrader that end up going nowhere. That leaves millions of people every year frustrated and out of pocket.

Motorway helps everyone get up to £1,000 more for their car simply by comparing the market and getting connected to the buyer that’s willing to pay the most. It takes a few minutes of your time to compare prices and sell fast for free. For the time it takes, it’s an amazing return on investment.

How much will it cost users - and why is it worth the investment?

Motorway is completely free for consumers to use - we never charge any fees. Buyers pay us a commission when they buy cars through the platform - so while there’s no cost to consumers of using the platform, there could be a big cost to your bank balance for not using us! 

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