Greenfield explains thinking behind Automotive Ventures DealerFund
In January, Automotive Ventures chief executive officer and founder Steve Greenfield announced a contest in collaboration with Shell Lubricants to help startups.
On Wednesday, Greenfield highlighted his newest initiative that’s aimed to provide fuel for entrepreneurs; this time connected with dealerships.
Greenfield explained in a LinkedIn post that Automotive Ventures DealerFund is designed to help dealerships “navigate through the next decade of unprecedented change, invest into and participate financially in the autotech startups they help to grow.”
Greenfield started his career in 1999 selling software to dealers and has overseen more than $1 billion in automotive technology acquisitions.
“After 22 years in the industry, it’s become increasingly clear to me that automotive is going to experience more change in the next 10 years than it’s experienced in the past 100. The rate of change seems to only be accelerating,” Greenfield wrote.
“As we come out of this period of artificially inflated profits due to the double-whammy of COVID-19 and inventory shortages, dealerships are going to be challenged as they navigate through a new era of change and uncertainty,” he continued.
“At this point in my career, I’ve probably met with over 500 dealership principals, and I’m witnessing a new emerging generation of owners who are much more technology-native, who view accessing new tech as a source of competitive advantage,” Greenfield went on to say.
In leading Automotive Ventures, Greenfield elaborated about what he’s now seeing.
“I believe that future dealership performance will increasingly be defined by early access to entrepreneurs and innovation. I also believe that dealers are going to help accelerate the adoption of the next generation of autotech startups,” Greenfield said in the post.
“One of the important things that we’ve learned from running an early-stage venture capital fund has been the powerful network effect of harnessing our investors who own dealerships. The positive experience with our dealer investors really triggered an ah-ha moment for us,” he continued.
“We asked ourselves: what if the investors in our fund represented a critical mass of the most progressive dealership locations, the very customers of the technologies in which we aim to invest? And then work closely with these investors to understand their biggest challenges and needs? This would provide us with a unique advantage to identify which companies to invest in, and position us to help those companies be adopted by thousands of the most influential dealerships across the industry,” Greenfield added.
Greenfield described the dealers he’s seeking to be a part of this project.
“In terms of the ideal investor for the fund, we are really looking for the multi-rooftop franchise dealer who views embracing early-stage technology as a source of competitive advantage. They’re generally early adopters. Thought leaders of their 20 groups. They understand that there are significant changes coming to the industry, and believe that embracing technology can help prepare to weather these changes,” he said.
“At Automotive Ventures, we have intentionally focused on building a machine that generates strong returns, generates value for strategic dealership investors, and delivers an accelerated adoption for the companies we choose to invest in. And we’re looking for the right dealers to join us on this journey to build the new Automotive Ventures DealerFund,” he continued.
“I look forward to participating on this journey with you,” Greenfield concluded.