The founder of an AI car valuation start-up has outlined his plans for global growth following a £1.5 million crowdfunding round.
Tom Wood is CEO of Cazana, which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyse the cost of vehicles and has more than one million monthly visitors to its platform.
London-based Cazana has raised nearly £1.5m on Crowdcube in a round which ended yesterday and included big US investors in the vehicle finance market. It beat its target by almost half a million pounds.
The latest funding round is the company’s third, having secured more than $4m to date.
“The two main areas we are spending the money on are scaling the commercial operation in the UK, growing the sales team to sign up more dealers and insurers, and also getting into the US market faster,” Wood told BusinessCloud.
“We’ll be in the US within the year, by Q1 2020. Our mission is to become the global valuation provider, and providing vehicle valuation insight in every market.
“We’ve got one US market advisor, Ed Robinson, who lives in Jersey and was the CEO at BMW Financial Services in the US market. He’s a very well-connected guy for when we launch there.
“Most of the investors want to have a meeting with us first, so we know a lot of the people that are putting in.”
Wood, who founded Cazana in his garage in 2015, said half of the Cazana team are already preparing to go live in the States.
He explained that the US vehicle market is ten times the size of its UK counterpart, making it an obvious move. But the company is also planning wider expansion.
“Some of the really exciting markets which we’re going into shortly afterwards are the South East Asian Markets. There’s no valuation player in the market in China, so it’s a blank canvas for us to go in and be that provider which is really exciting,” he said.
Cazana’s unique offering is the ability to both detect and predict vehicle prices instantly. Wood said that as electric and self-driving vehicles enter the market, and with evolving environmental and safety regulations, faster valuations powered by machine learning have become a necessity.
“London’s low emission zone is already active within the central congestion charging ring, but as of later this year, it’s going to expand to the greater London area,” explained Wood.
“You won’t be able to drive a car that has the old Euro emission standard anywhere within the M25 without paying a significant charge.
“These regulations are popping up all over the world. These types of things have a very local effect on car prices which don’t meet those regulations.
“To pick up localised pricing changes like that, you need a real-time view.”