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Monday, Jun 17, 2024

Buying and Financing Vehicles From the Couch

Finio Inc. last month announced a partnership with online vehicle marketplace Trader Interactive to streamline the credit application process of vehicles other than passenger cars.

Finio’s technology will be integrated into Virginia Beach, Va.-based Trader Interactive’s existing Buy Now credit approval tool as part of the partnership.

“It’s exciting for us as a relatively new market entrant to work with a leading online marketplace in powersports and motorcycles,” co-founder and Chief Executive Andreas “Andy” Hinrichs told the Business Journal.

The Irvine-based fintech startup makes it possible to finance a vehicle online, connecting customers, retailers and lenders across the powersports, motorcycle and marine leisure industries.

It’s the latest venture from Hinrichs and Nicholas Stellman, co-founders of automotive fintech company Digital Motors Corp., which was sold to TrueCar Inc. (Nasdaq: TRUE) for a total consideration of $21.8 million in May 2022.

Online Financing

Customers using Finio can get prequalified “without ever having to leave the couch,” Hinrichs said.

Typically, the dealership helps match customers with a lending institution if they need financing when purchasing a motorcycle, recreational vehicle or boat, he said.

Finio, instead, aims to automate this process online, cutting down on paperwork and reducing time spent evaluating customer leads for dealers and lenders.

“It’s still the dealership delivering the vehicle, but everything else is conducted seamlessly online,” Hinrichs said.

Finio publicly launched on April 1 after having been under development for the past two years.

The startup is still entirely self-funded and is currently not looking for investors.

“As commercialization takes hold, we’ll [reconsider] as opportunities arise,” Hinrichs said.

Auto Fintech Experts

Hinrichs and Stellman are no strangers to the auto financing industry.

Hinrichs said they relied on their previous experience at Digital Motors to build Finio from scratch.

Following the acquisition of Digital Motors by TrueCar, the two stayed on as VPs for about a year before deciding “it was time to move onto their next adventure,” Hinrichs said.

Hinrichs and Stellman also previously co-founded AutoGravity Corp. in 2016, which allowed customers to buy cars online. It was shut down by Mercedes-Benz Financial Services several years after the two left.

They built the app into a business that generated over $2 billion in financing requests and connected 2 million users with car dealers and financial firms.

Making the move to branch outside of auto fintech was mainly fueled by the desire to bring the same innovative technologies into other vehicle adjacent industries, Hinrichs said.

“My co-founder and I realized that a lot of the digital tools and practices that are increasingly taken for granted in the automotive industry are not yet addressed in adjacent industries,” Hinrichs said.

While the Trader Interactive partnership focuses primarily on the credit application and approval process, Finio plans to commercialize other financing tools for consumers and dealerships down the line, according to Hinrichs.

The company said it expects to hire more employees as they further plan commercialization.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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