NEWS

Online car dealership secures funding to boost expansion and recruitment

26 July 2022

A Milton Keynes based online car dealership has secured £800,000 in investment to support expansion and create 40 new jobs.

Finance Giant Ltd, trading as CarOOn, secured the loan from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) provided by The FSE Group Debt Finance Fund and backed by the Recovery Loan Scheme.

CarOOn offers an end-to-end car buying service including purchase, part exchange, payment and finance, and provides potential customers with access to all MOT, tax and DVLA information in one place.

Increases in second hand car purchases during the pandemic allowed CarOOn to benefit by developing an     intuitive platform that allows customers to buy cars online easily. With all stock subjected to extensive checks and preparation at CarOOn’s state-of-the-art service centre prior to being offered for sale, the efficient digital system means that cars can be bought and delivered within a day.

The loan will allow CarOOn to expand its workforce, as the business scales, whilst increasing its digital marketing activity to help drive its growth.

CarOOn CEO, Syed Khusro Kamal, said: “We are very pleased to be supported by MEIF at this crucial juncture, allowing us to expand quickly to capitalise on the current demand for second-hand cars, particularly considering the shortage of new cars caused by the pandemic. This loan allows us to recruit and train new staff and once they are in position we will be able to grow our site to its capacity of 1,000 cars. In addition, we will continue to invest in the development of our technology, which is vital to us staying ahead as an online business.”

The move towards increased online purchasing brought about by the pandemic has continued in the car industry with a study by CarGurus showing 64% of people would now buy cars online as opposed to 36% pre-covid.

CarOOn remains connected to its buyers with a customer loyalty rewards app accompanying its end-to-end digital journey, to complete the entire process of online car purchases in one place, making repeat custom more likely and helping the business to maximise on this shift in buying trends.

Ann Marie McFadyen, Investment Manager at The FSE Group which manages the MEIF Debt Finance Fund on behalf of British Business Bank, added: “Syed has built a robust management team and has strong plans for future growth, including a second site and in-house logistics. With a flexible business model that can adapt quickly to market changes and trends, the business is in a forward position to capitalise on the expanding used car market and we look forward to working with them to support their growth.”

Lewis Stringer Senior Manager, UKN at the British Business Bank, said: “The MEIF has always supported innovative businesses in the Midlands to invest in technology to enable growth in both new and existing industry sectors. As is the case with CarOOn, significant job creation often follows such investment. We would encourage other SMEs looking to grow to consider the options available through the MEIF.”

Vicky Hlomuka, Growth Hub Manager at SEMLEP, said: ‘It’s always good to see local businesses innovating, growing and succeeding. CarOOn has done a fantastic job of adapting to changing conditions and it’s great to hear that the MEIF is supporting them in creating more jobs and more opportunities for the region.”

 

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

The FSE Group, MEIF Debt Finance Fund provides loans between £100,000 and £1.5million to help growing SMEs across the region.

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