Motorway: The Digital Highway for Used Cars

By Yoonkee Sull, Greg Stanger, Calvin Yeoh, and Sarah Stebbins | December 2, 2021

In the UK today, there are more than thirty million cars on the road. Eight million of those vehicles exchange hands every year. Despite being such a vibrant part of consumer life, the used car industry largely operates according to practices and market structures established decades ago. Hence when we first met Tom Leathes, CEO and co-founder of Motorway, we were so impressed by his vision to reinvent the online used car industry that we nearly jumped through the Zoom screen. We felt incredible alignment with Tom’s strategy, the scale of his ambition, and his unwavering focus to thoughtfully architect a marketplace that delivers differentiated value to both consumers and dealers. We struggled to contain our excitement and flew out as soon as we could to meet with Tom and team in London. It wasn’t long before we gained conviction and we are incredibly thrilled to partner with Motorway to support their vision in redefining the way used cars are transacted.

These days, most individuals looking to sell their car still navigate opaque and offline processes riddled with middlemen, often leading to many sellers ultimately accepting prices far below the true value of their cars. At the same time, dealers struggle to efficiently access high-quality stock, particularly given the recent shortage in new cars and the need to meet their customers’ growing demands and evolving preferences. Simply put, the current used car market is structurally under-optimized and rich with opportunities for improvement. With that in mind, Motorway was born to change the way used cars are sold by consumers and purchased by dealers.

Along with co-founders Harry Jones and Alex Buttle, Tom and the Motorway team have been quietly building a platform that vastly improves the experience for consumers and dealers alike in the UK. We believe product-market fit has been exceptional, as demonstrated by the company’s traction. Through a highly intuitive and delightful signup flow, Motorway provides a modern, fully digital experience for consumers to quickly list their vehicles. Sellers are able to obtain optimal offers for their cars as Motorway’s large and fast-growing base of 4,000+ dealers bid for vehicles in a daily auction on the Motorway platform. We believe that it’s this seamless consumer experience and ability to guarantee better prices that’s enabled Motorway to quickly, transparently, and efficiently offer a better and differentiated source of supply of privately-owned vehicles to dealer networks. It is obvious to us that Motorway has created a flywheel that is accelerating by the month as more dealers source supply on the platform, which enhances the value of price discovery to consumers, further attracts unique inventory, and enables more dealers to purchase more through Motorway.

While Motorway has already seen incredible momentum and adoption, we think that the company has only just begun to drive major efficiencies in how business is done in the used car industry. Throughout our many conversations with the team, we have admired their relentless focus on product and innovation — they have no shortage of game-changing features on the horizon.

Ultimately, our excitement to partner with Motorway is underpinned by our conviction in the team. The founders are serial entrepreneurs who have built companies together for years and have experienced both the ups and the downs of that journey. Through their deep backgrounds in lead generation, they understand that value is created by continuous incremental improvements. They are long-term thinkers with massive ambition. They obsess over their customers — both consumers and dealers — and work tirelessly to deliver for their stakeholders. They are also just great people who value humility, transparency, clarity, and collaboration.

The used car market desperately needs a new set of rails and we’re confident Motorway will blaze the path forward. Along with our friends at Index Ventures, we are thrilled to partner with Tom, Harry, Alex and the entire Motorway team as they rebuild the core infrastructure for used car transactions in the years to come!