The Munich startup Abracar has developed rapidly with its platform for selling cars from private individuals to private individuals. Founded in 2016 by Orhan Köroglu and Sebastian Jost as a spin-off from the Allianz Group, the company has grown into one of Germany’s largest online car sales platforms in just a short period of time. The Munich company also just recently received financing to the tune of 11.5 million euros. We wanted to find out from founder and Managing Director Orhan Köroglu how he and his team stay focused, how they organize their workday and what advice he would give rapidly growing companies. An interview.
Munich Startup: Orhan, when we talked two years ago, you had only been on the market for a few months, but were already able to report good sales. In July 2019, you announced record sales for the first half of the year. How have your sales figures developed since then? Where do you stand now?
Orhan Köroglu: Since founding the company, we’ve managed to become Germany’s biggest car sales platform between private individuals within a very short period of time. We never could have imagined this kind of success three years ago. With our record growth in the first half of the year, we expect to sell more than 7,500 cars in 2019. That means Abracar will have helped sell a volume of cars amounting to more than 100 million euros in 2019, putting us among the top 30 second-hand vehicle dealers in Germany.
Step by step: How Abracar efficiently launches new products
Together with the Munich startup Fintecsystems, you launched “Abrapay”, your own money transfer solution, and a new app for appraisers was just recently added. How do you decide when to launch specific new products?
When implementing new services, we go step by step. We first look to see which processes are decisive in the sales process for the vehicle and still involve a great deal of manual work. In the next step, we analyze how we can automate the process and make it efficient for employees, partners and customers. With Abrapay, we didn’t want to wait for a standardized, digital solution to hit the market for transactions of this order of magnitude. So we – in collaboration with Fintecsystems – developed it ourselves.
For the appraiser app, our network and daily communication with appraisers helped us. That’s what made it possible for us to develop an app that even convinces less digitally-savvy automotive experts. The smart price algorithm was also one of the first Abracar developments since pricing and adjustments based on data are key factors in the sales process.
Focus, goal setting and everyday tools
You’re working on several developments at the same time. How do you stay focused?
For us, digitization is a decisive competitive advantage. That’s why we mark out a clear development roadmap together with our Head of Product. We constantly pursue the goal to make car sales as transparent, safe and easy as possible. Developments often depend on one another or we realize while planning that we can combine things.
Apropos daily work: What work tools are essential for you?
For quick communication, we use Dropbox and Slack. These tools provide access to all documents and communication so I can be involved in important decisions regardless of where I am. For organization in the development team, we use Trello and Github. What’s essential for the entire team is our in-house CRM system — which we developed ourselves — to manage our vehicle fleet and interested parties.
“Pay attention when building your team”
Not only are your offers growing but also your number of employees. That changes things like lines of communication and company spirit. How do you deal with that? What advice would you give rapidly growing startups?
We now have more than forty employees here in Munich. That means we’ve hired an average of one employee per month since founding the company. We both already had experience with starting companies, but building a good team still is quite demanding and takes time. For Abracar’s digital and service-oriented focus, having the right employees is crucial. The recommendation we would give every founder as a result is to pay proper attention when building your team.
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
We want to be firmly established on the market for professional sales at the best price and with minimum effort from the seller. Anyone thinking about selling their car easily and at the best price in five years will immediately think of Abracar.
Thank you, Orhan, for the update and insights.