Johannes Stoffel and Marcus Lankenau (from the left), founders of 2trde
photo: 2trde

2trde: Digitizing the Used Car Market

When car dealers want to sell used cars to other dealers, it’s often done through auctions and requires a lot of paperwork. 2trde is digitizing the B2B used car market and making the process easier for everyone involved. The two founders, Johannes Stoffel and Marcus Lankenau, explain how their startup is doing just that in our interview.

Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourselves!

2trde: Johannes Stoffel, 29 years old, completed the executive master program from ESCP Europe in digital innovation and entrepreneurial leadership. After getting his bachelor’s degree, he founded Karosso in Berlin. Together with Axel Springer, he built the Amazon for used cars while part of the Plug&Play accelerator in Berlin and sold it in late 2016. With Karosso, he noticed specific limitations in the used-car business that put B2B business with used cars at a particular disadvantage. That made Karosso the breeding ground for 2trde.

Marcus Lankenau is 44 years old and a graduate engineer in electrical engineering in the field of computer engineering. He has more than 20 years of experience working on IT projects with companies such as O2, Vattenfall, Swisscom, Xing and Friendscout24, four years of experience in IT consulting and three years as a software architect. He is CTO and the lead developer at 2trde.

Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?

2trde: The conventional B2B marketing of used cars is a lengthy and slow process. It involves a whole lot of Excel lists and email distribution lists. Oftentimes, car dealers are only linked to one marketing channel and are dependent on it. With 2trde, dealers can hold auctions individually. The vehicles are simultaneously posted by up to five auction houses to increase their reach and residual value. By digitizing this process, the entire auction process is shortened, which also saves on costs and time. On top of that, data quality is improved: The entered data is enriched and optimized with information from various vehicle databases using a learning algorithm. True to the motto: The better the data, the better the results!

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

2trde: Parts of this value-added chain do already exist. Unfortunately, these services are highly manual and analog. As a result, the services are hardly scalable and cost too much money in this line of business. With 2trde, we’re digitizing the entire value-added chain. And we’re not doing it alone, but rather with our partners, like the auction houses, and of course with our customers as well!

2trde: “Things are going pretty well for us”

Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?

2trde: First: finding automotive investors with a serious interest in cars. Second: finding the right employees to go that extra mile with us. And third: promoting the relevance and advantages of digitization in the automotive business.

Munich Startup: How is business going?

2trde: Things are going pretty well for us. Just this summer, we completed a round of financing amounting to more than 2.5 million euros. The world’s leading automotive VC, Maniv Mobility from Israel, is the lead investor in the seed round, but we also had well-known business angels reinvest.

Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?

2trde: Munich is a very attractive location for startups. The proximity to relevant car manufacturers and to key trade organizations plays an important role. Also, being so close to top universities and talent pools has had a positive impact on us!

Munich Startup: Hidden champion or shooting star?

2trde: Shooting star with champion-DNA!

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