Tred is expanding to Portland.
The Seattle startup is now operating in The Rose City, offering its mobile dealership service to car owners looking to sell their vehicles.
Tred’s platform facilitates car sales. The idea is to help car owners earn more money than selling through a traditional dealership, but offer enough customer and technology support than what you might find on Craigslist, for example.
Tred has tweaked its revenue model several times since graduating from the Techstars Seattle accelerator in 2012. The company’s original plan was to partner with dealerships and allow customers to conduct test drives from their homes.
Then, the company expanded to create a peer-to-peer marketplace for used cars and started buying and selling used vehicles.
But now Tred is focusing on helping people sell their vehicles. It no longer buys cars and thus does not need to worry about maintaining inventory. The startup now simply makes money by facilitating a sale and reducing the amount of work for car owners.
Tred has also recently added more automation to its platform, said CEO Grant Feek. Previously, Tred would send its own employees to inspect vehicles, take photos, set up test drives, create listings, and more.
Now the 10-person company automates several steps via technology, reducing the need for employees to facilitate test drives, listings, and transactions.
“Today, our process is fully automated and we have the ability to scale rapidly,” Feek said.
There are still human touch-points offered by Tred, though.
“Even though our model is automated, we inspect our cars to verify their options and features, and to provide transparency about their condition with a firm quote to repair any pre-existing damage,” Feek added. “This helps the buyer and seller know what’s what, even one step beyond the test drive, before any transactions take place at our office.”
Tred, which charges $499 to those who sell their vehicle, still offers financing, warranties, and buy-back guarantees, which is typical of any dealership. But its value proposition is that it takes a far less cut from each transaction than a traditional dealership.
Total funding for Tred is $4 million. The company’s investors include Maveron, former General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, angel investor Chris Sacca, and others.