iMotors Sells $57M to Investor Group

Used car salesmen have always received a bad rap. But iMotors.com wants to use the Internet to remove the industry’s negative stigma, personified by Larry from television’s Three’s Company.

“Our company represents the shift in control from the used car retailer to the consumer,” said Adam Simms, chief executive of iMotors.com, which recently raised $57.7 million in its fourth round of venture financing. “With e-commerce, it is important to get a national footprint and scale quickly, and not be burdened with sticks and bricks.”

San Francisco-based iMotors, which launched in September, allows customers to order pre-owned vehicles online and tailor them to their individual specifications. Once an order is placed, iMotors finds and refurbishes the desired vehicle before it is picked up at one of its five delivery centers, currently located in the Bay area.

Proceeds from the round, which included first-time investments from MeriTech Capital Partners and Moore Capital Management, will be used to open delivery centers in Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego, launch services in the East Coast and for sales and marketing expenses. The company has hired Saatchi & Saatchi as its advertising agency.

Existing investor Global Retail Partners led the round with a $17 million investment. Oak Investment Partners, which is iMotor’s lead investor to date, contributed $10 million to the round, while Trinity Ventures and Vulcan Ventures also returned for the round. To date, iMotors has raised $73.3 million in venture financing.

Simms said he is currently talking with potential strategic investors for a mezzanine round of financing to be raised early next year.

“We need people who understand the potential of e-commerce,” he said. “We are creating a new channel for marketing and delivering cars.”

If market conditions remain favorable, Simms said the company will likely go public in late 2000.