Retail tech startup Rodo secures $18 million in financing as actor Kevin Hart takes stake | Automotive News

Rodo Inc., a retail technology startup that lets customers buy or lease new vehicles online and get them delivered the same day, has nailed down $18 million in its latest round of financing, with support coming from some big names in auto retailing and a famous entertainer.

New Jersey-based auto sector services provider Holman Enterprises and New York-based Evolution VC Partners, which describes itself as a culture-tech investment firm, led the financing round. Holman Enterprises is the parent company of Holman Automotive, which is ranked No. 27 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S.

Additional participants in the funding round included existing investor IAC and actor and comedian Kevin Hart’s HartBeat Ventures.

Also involved were Mack McLarty, a longtime dealer and vice chairman of RML Automotive, which is No. 31 on the Automotive News list; his son, Franklin McLarty, CEO of McLarty Diversified Holdings; and Texas dealer Ken Schnitzer, who is the former chairman of Park Place Automotive Group, a large luxury-brand retailer acquired by Asbury Automotive Group Inc. in 2020. The amounts invested by the individual parties were not disclosed.

Rodo does not maintain its own fleets or vehicle inventory. Instead, it partners with more than 1,200 dealerships in the U.S. — highly concentrated in the New York and California markets — to offer vehicles. It bills itself as offering an end-to-end solution for purchasing a car within minutes via its app or website.

The new chunk of money brings Rodo to $45 million in total funding. The $18 million will be split between scaling the company’s dealership network and customer acquisition, which will take about 70 percent of it.

“For the rest of this year, we plan to keep the dealer network around the same size as it is now … and we’re going to focus on enhancing the relationship with those dealers and further promoting Rodo in those regions,” Rodo founder and CEO Nathan Hecht told Automotive News. “That’s our near-term strategy.”

Rodo is likely to start expanding the dealership network in 2022, Hecht said. At the moment, its key markets are the New York tri-state area and metro Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Miami.

“We’ll add incrementally around 100 dealers a quarter, maybe 150 [dealerships] per quarter, by the end of 2022,” Hecht said. “If we end ’22 with about 1,800 dealers, maybe closer to 2,000, that would be a good number for us.”

Rodo, previously known as Honcker, launched in 2016. The startup says it offers for sale on its platform more than 80,000 vehicles from 25 manufacturers.

Bill Cariss, CEO of Holman Strategic Ventures, another Holman Enterprises unit, will join Rodo’s board, according to a press release.

Robert Roman, president of HartBeat Ventures, said in a statement: “Our team is passionate about cars and want to support platforms with transparency and an easy-to-use format that gives power back to the consumer.”

Auto investment banking firm Presidio Group advised Rodo on the financing.

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