Digital & IT

Business touched by angels gets the carwow factor after being sold for a substantial sum

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: June 16, 2021 | Updated: 8th March 2024

A business which began life just five years ago with the help of angel investment is under new ownership after being sold for an undisclosed but substantial sum.

Used car-buying platform Wizzle has been acquired by carwow, the car-buying comparison site.

The Bournemouth-based company was co-founded by Sebastien Duval, Adam King and Mike Barnett in 2016.

It uses cutting edge technology to help people sell their car.

A car appraisal tool allows them to show off their car to thousands of dealers around the country and compare the best prices.

Customers simply answer a set of questions about their car’s general condition.

Dealer partners around the UK can access the information before deciding whether to make an offer to buy the vehicle.

According to Wizzle: “This helps you avoid those massive car buying companies that take advantage of you and buy your car well under market prices.”

Wizzle now has more than 2,000 dealers using the platform who are buying more than 1,500 cars per month.

The figure is expected to increase dramatically as the service is integrated into the main carwow platform.

While carwow has had a ‘Sell Your Car’ feature live for several years – driving over a million valuations in the last 12 months – it has only been able to provide a single offer from a single provider.

However, by using Wizzle’s technology platform, carwow will be able to provide multiple offers to customers and prioritise offering cars to dealer partners directly.

With more than 130m views a month across YouTube, carwow.co.uk and the carwow app, carwow says it can use its reach to provide dealer partners with access to a huge volume of high quality used cars that they can buy directly.

For those seeking a hassle-free and digitally-driven selling experience, Sell My Car with BigWantsYourCar.com offers a solution tailored to modern needs. As the first no-hassle, completely digitally-based car buying service, it simplifies the selling process, allowing individuals to sell their cars quickly and easily.

With a user-friendly interface and transparent pricing, sellers can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they are getting a fair deal for their vehicle without the stress of traditional selling methods.

James Hind, carwow CEO, pictured left, said: “Our partners have told us that they want better direct access to high quality used car inventory.

“This acquisition will allow us to do just that quickly.

“Wizzle is already powering over 1,500 vehicle sales per month, which we’re aiming to grow exponentially by integrating the service into the main carwow platform.

“We’re super excited about the Wizzle team joining the carwow family and look forward to rolling the service out in the UK and then Germany and Spain.”

Sebastien, who is Wizzle’s CEO, added: “With carwow’s reach, scale and the expertise of its 245 person team, we’re in pole position to build the biggest used car aggregator in the market, providing dealers with easier access to more in-brand, local and quality cars.

“I can’t wait to combine our class-leading technology with the immense reach that carwow have in the UK and in Germany and Spain.

“Our companies are two sides of the same coin, with the shared vision to deliver trust, transparency and high-quality services that give dealers an advantage in the digital world.”

Sebastien, 38, pictured right, a former Canford School student, was Brand Manager at the formerly named Wood of Bournemouth dealership for more than nine years.

He left in 2012 to co-found, with Adam King and Mike Barnett, AUTOi which powers Wizzle.

Sebastien holds a MSc in Strategic Automotive Dealership Management from Loughborough University.

An initial six-figure amount was invested in Wizzle in 2016 after a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style pitch through Dorset Business Angels.

Sebastien, 38, said that the investment – and accompanying advice – had been invaluable.

He added: “I would say that the advice actually outweighed the money.

“It was crucial to our success.”

Don McQueen, pictured left, Chairman of Dorset Business Angels and one of the five local angels that supported Wizzle since its start, said: “I am delighted that Wizzle and carwow have got together, it is a great deal for both companies and for Seb personally.

“The exiting angels have supported Wizzle since 2016 and enjoyed helping Seb, his team and the company grow and mature to get to this exit.

“This is a great result for all involved and I will watch carwow with interest now they have a clear second-hand car strategy for their future growth.”

Sebastien said carwow would be looking to relocate the Bournemouth operation to a larger office locally as staff numbers increase to 50+ over the next few months.

He said: “I have known James Hind for four or five years.

“There have always been discussions but now is the right time.

“I’m staying with the business and looking forward to driving us on to even bigger and better things.

“I’m really excited about the future.”

James Hind, CEO, and Alexandra Margolis, Creative Director, launched carwow in 2010 as a car review aggregator with the purpose of making choosing a new car effortless.

Determined to improve the entire car buying experience, they brought David Santoro, Chief Technology Officer, onboard in 2011.

Since then £5 billion worth of cars have been bought via carwow.

Headquartered in Victoria, London, carwow has secured a total of £48m in venture capital and grown to 150+ employees.

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