Shift Technologies, Inc. is a California-based company that enables vehicle buying and selling through its online portal. Shoppers can view quotes on the company’s site, and request on-demand test drives that are brought to shoppers via company “concierges.” The company also provides buyers with a 150-point inspection, as well as a seven-day money back guarantee. For sellers, the company also offers online quotes for the vehicle’s value and provides pick-up service.
“If you want to sell your car, we are the only place right now where you can go online and get a quote and have us pick it up from you,” Shift co-CEO Toby Russell said.
Right now, Shift’s service is available in and around Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose and the San Gabriel Valley (which covers about 80 percent of California). This is about to change. Last week, the company – which has grown to around 400 employees — announced that it has raised $140 million in D-round funding for an expansion, thanks in part to a partnership with Oregon-based Lithia Motors, Inc., the fourth-largest automotive retailer in the U.S. With this new investment, Shift has raised over $265 million in debt and equity since its founding five years ago in 2013. With its $54 million investment, Lithia will become the company’s largest shareholder.
“We’re impressed with Shift’s technology platform and dynamic operational capabilities,” said Bryan DeBoer, Lithia’s President and CEO, in a statement. “Like us, they are creating a digital marketplace and providing a retail experience wherever, whenever and however consumers desire.”
During a conference call last week, DeBoer noted that Lithia has long had plans in the works to expand and optimize its networks of service and delivery centers nationwide, as well as to use artificial intelligence (AI) to further the difficult process of procuring the right vehicles at the right time.
“Fully leveraging our people, inventories and technology and establishing a presence coast-to-coast is important to access new markets, and allow consumers to shop wherever, whenever and however, they choose,” he said.
The partnership, added Russell, will give Shift “access to really good thinking and operational experience in the auto retail space.” Going forward, Shift will be able to take advantage of Lithia’s network 200 stores across the country for storing and staging vehicles.