Meet the Ottawa entrepreneurs taking on Kijiji

An Ottawa startup wants to change how individuals and auto dealerships sell cars, believing that websites such as AutoTrader and Kijiji Auto that currently dominate the market have failed to keep pace with digital innovations. launched a beta version this month that combines online and physical marketing tools for vehicle owners selling cars and trucks.

The company’s chief operating officer, Ryan McBride, said the idea behind the company came when one of his co-founders found it hard to sell his own vehicle.

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“He had been experiencing challenges with the listing sites and getting his car exposed and thought about an idea for these accessories that would increase his visibility in the market,” Mr. McBride said. “We wanted to bring something more digital friendly to the market but also combine the traditional advertising methods.”

Users looking to sell their vehicle create an ad that can be found by visitors browsing listings on the site. Additionally, the company sells branded accessories such as car flags and signs that include a unique search code. This means that someone who sees the car for sale while it’s parked on the street or stopped at a red light can punch in a four-digit code on to see the full listing.

While individual users can promote their own basic advertisements, earns revenue by charging automotive dealers, upgrading users to premium advertising and selling advertisements on its website. believes the true financial opportunity lies with auto dealers. By its calculations, the average dealer pays $19.99 a month to list a single car online.

With some 289,000 dealer cars posted on AutoTrader, this means is trying to tap into a market that already spends some $5.78 million a month or $69 million a year on online postings.

The company currently has 30 dealerships on board, but Mr. McBride declined to mention specific company names.

He said the is heavily focused on marketing as it tries to build more awareness of the company ahead of a scheduled official launch in March and an eventual expansion into Toronto.

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