We engaged with Applico because our organizations aligned on purpose and values. They were able to educate us about the tech landscape and present such a compelling opportunity that we wanted to deploy capital in addition to just entering a strategic partnership. When Applico said they’d also want to co-invest alongside us, that was affirmation of the fact that we had truly found a long-term partner in Applico.
David O’Brien, CEO of Massy Motors
Massy Motors, the largest car dealership network in Colombia and the Caribbean, is part of a publicly listed conglomerate with revenues of US $1.6 billion in 2021. They knew that technology was enabling new ways to source and sell cars in Latin America and wanted to be a digital leader in Colombia.
Massy Motors and, more broadly, Massy Holdings had never made a minority investment into a tech startup, let alone forge a strategic partnership. Kicking off our engagement in early 2021, the supply chain shortages that have come to the forefront in late 2021 and early 2022 were not top of mind. Instead, car sales were down; Latin America was in lockdown and people were not buying cars.
While eCommerce for used cars in the USA is a given, the average car buyer in Colombia expects to come into a dealership and see a car. COVID-19 magnified the need to figure out digital for Massy Motors while also understanding that digital car-buying would also present new business models in automotive eCommerce.
Applico’s Solution and Outcome
- Hosted a multidisciplinary team with members who spoke Spanish
- Dissected the different types of digital business models in Latin America
- Surveyed over 100 tech startups in Colombia, outside of Colombia, and adjacent continents
- Talked to startups in the auto sector and adjacent sectors, looking for the perfect combination of i) a mature product, ii) a strong team, and iii) healthy growth indicators.
- Guided the client in choosing the right business model to implement its new digital strategy
- Presented the two tech startups that aligned with a business model to explore a partnership
- Our top two target startups were not operating in Colomba, but we felt that it was a better choice to help a startup enter the Colombian market than do a deal with a local player
The net result of this process was a US $4.5M transaction: Applico Capital and Massy co-invested in Curbo
Curbo was founded in 2019 by a team of seasoned AutoTech executives, and 18 months later the company already operates in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Colombia.
Curbo’s platform improves and simplifies the traditionally used car buying and selling experience with innovative technology and exceptional customer service. The process of buying a car can be completed fully, or partially online and all vehicles pass a 150-point inspection.