Fasten your seatbelts
A Seattle-based online car marketplace has all engines revving for Texas as the company plans its Lone Star State expansion.
TRED announced plans to expand into major Texas cities including, Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. The startup will be live in Dallas at the end of this month, followed by the rest of the state in February.
"We very excited about Texas," Grant Feek, co-founder of Tred, tells InnovationMap.
Feek describes the company as a peer-to-peer marketplace for selling and buying used vehicles that offers sellers a thinner transaction margin and buyers a lower price point.
"[We're] combining the best of the dealer experience with the best of the market experience," said Feek.
Feek says that TRED offers the low chance of fraud of a dealership and the value of a private market.
"We are the only ones that allow you to work directly with your counter party," Feek tells InnovationMap. "There's literally no middle man."
TRED handles all the paperwork — from financing to warranties — so that buyers don't have to step foot in a DMV. The company posts their real-time performance online on the "How Tred Stacks Up" page to show how the company compares to other used car marketplaces.
"We built a platform for people that really want value," Feek says. "With the push of a button they can list it in 20 different places"
TRED services will launch in Houston next month, but the company will not have any initial employees on the ground in Texas, as Feek explains that TRED's model is focused on removing employee involvement from auto sales, which, according to Feek, is strategic. TRED is all about getting out of the way of peer-to-peer sales.
The company set their eyes on Houston due to the large population and car market. Feek tells InnovationMap that TRED will also expand into Florida in late 2019.
"It's no secret that a lot of people live in California, Texas, and Florida," says Feek, "we've always had our eyes on these states."
The idea for TRED came about in 2011. Feek says that many of his peers from Harvard, from which he received his MBA in 2009, had started their own companies and he had an interest in the automotive space. He thought that the process buying and selling cars should be simpler.
Feek was able to raise $50,000 of initial funding in New York City and the company's growth was supported by Techstars, a seed accelerator, before moving to their current headquarters of Seattle, Feek says.
"The original business model was a test drive delivery service," said Feek. "In 2015, the company in its current form really started."
Feek founded TRED alongside John Wehr in 2013, when the company launched. He shares that he now oversees the online marketplace with CTO Andrew Crowell.
Feek says the company is working on product enhancements and expanding the services TRED offers. Additional plans include growth into new and existing markets and expanding the number of partners TRED operates with. Feek mentions current partnerships with FedEx, numerous banks and credit unions for financing, Pep Boys, and Firestone.
As of January 2019, TRED is currently available in Seattle; Portland, Oregan; the greater San Francisco Bay area; the greater Los Angeles area; and the greater San Diego area.