Amit Chandarana Troublemaker at Roadster

You start off thinking your company will offer a particular product or service, then either by necessity or sheer brilliance, you figure out a pivot that changes your entire trajectory. That’s Roadster. They were selling cars online (brokering them for other dealers) quite successfully, in part because they were using a unique software they had invented.

History of Roadster

Andy Moss, CEO and Rudy Thun, COO started the company in 2013. At first, they were selling cars online, essentially a brokerage. They wanted to take on Carvana. They were doing it out of a completely digital format, no “bricks and mortar.” The dealers were ecstatic that their cars were moving out of their inventory. Buyers were rating this new digital company in the 90% satisfaction range. Then their dealer-clients began to approach them and asked if they could license the technology for their own use.

That was the pivot point.

But it wasn’t an instant pivot. While Andy and Rudy knew this new business would work, they kept selling cars for a while. And you can imagine how important that experience would be when you’re starting a business selling software licenses to car dealers. By September 2016, they had about eight or nine dealers licensing the technology.

What Andy, Rudy and their team had invented was the perfect solution to fix the friction in the car buying experience. They made it more efficient, more transparent, and more satisfying to customers – on both sides of the buying experience.

This from their website: At Roadster, our mission is to make the process of car buying and selling better for everyone involved. We do it by offering Omnichannel Commerce solutions, which deliver the same seamless and streamlined shopping experience as customers switch between your site and your store. (It’s so much more than that.)

Prior to joining Roadster, Amit Chandarana was Director of Product Marketing at Edmunds and Head of Marketing at Fiat Chrysler. He also spent over 12 years “growing up” in the incredible business environment at Toyota Motor Sales in various roles: sales, marketing, and field management. Amit refers to Toyota as the “North Star,” meaning others in the industry look to them for guidance. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cal Poly Pomona and an MBA from St. Mary’s College of California.

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Brilliant software led by extremely thoughtful people

Roadster is in a position to focus on everyone in the ecosystem – car dealers, car buyers, service centers, etc. As Amit says, the rising tide lifts all boats. What’s lifting those boats is the efficiency and “seamlessness” of the buyer/seller experience enabled by Roadster’s commerce solutions for modern dealerships.

One thing that really impresses me is the fluidity of the experience – from the first website visit all the way into the dealership. It’s a truly omni-channel experience. Lots of companies use that phrase, but few take full advantage of it.

It’s easy to get hung up on the technology side, after all Roadster is a Silicon Valley SaaS company. They’re also very thoughtful people. One of the great examples is how they’ve cut out the price haggling at the dealership. Roadster gives you the pricing information up front. No more car dealer going behind the curtain to see if the Great and Powerful Oz of pricing can cut a deal. That friction is gone.

Roadster is not done inventing. Recently they launched Express Response® to increase customer engagement by driving quality online responses to dealers’ internet leads 24/7. More friction gone.

What drives Roadster?

You can tell a lot about a company by the people they hire. Roadster hired Amit Chandarana, so let’s start with him:

  • He feels fortunate.
  • He feels lucky to have met so many great people in the auto industry. They played a big role in guiding his career.
  • He’s unique – “I’ve got a battery that runs slightly differently. I wanted to make an impact. I didn’t want to be on a cruise ship in the lake. I was going to jump on a speed boat in the lake. I wanted to make an impact quickly and help to modernize this industry.”
  • He has a bias towards action and wants to get things done.
  • He might be “a bit OCD.” (I’m gonna call it focused)
  • Amit has a positive worldview. He has only good things to say about everyone in Roadster’s ecosystem.
    • Every customer, no matter the cost of the car they want to buy.
    • The salespeople on the floor of every dealership who work their butts off to help customers.
  • He made wise moves – “I tied my hitch to the right wagon and am super proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
  • He rose to the challenge of managing extreme difficulties at an early age.
  • He credits his parents for his drive. (You’ve got to admire anyone who says that.)

Now, let’s talk about the company that hired Amit:

They are Troublemakers writ large.

Crunchbase says: Roadster is transforming the way that dealerships sell new cars by bringing the end to end car buying process completely online. This is a $1 trillion industry which had yet to be disrupted.

The website GreatPlaceToWork.com ranks them with the following:
92% of employees at Roadster, Inc. say it’s a great place to work compared to 59% of employees at a typical U.S.-based company.

But more importantly, Roadster’s customers. I’ve lifted a few testimonials from their website:

“My goal is to empower salespeople to do the job on their own. Now that they’re using the Roadster tool they are able to sell more cars in less time, and ultimately that makes them more money.”

“We have to be able to offer an experience just like Carvana, if that’s what [customers] want. The Express Store and Roadster have truly allowed us to do that.”

“When there is transparency of information and ease of making a car deal…closing ratio goes up, CSI goes up and of course that transfers into the back-end of the deal. Roadster is the best thing to ever happen to our dealership!”

“There’s no reason for the customer to come in store when we can bring the store to them!”

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