Automotive dealers heavily rely on third-party data to target and track consumers and drive revenue, but with surging privacy concerns and dissolving support for third-party cookies, they are going to have to find another way to market, and fast. Driven Data, the automotive retail industry’s most innovative marketing technology provider, has been working behind the scenes for the past three years to solve this very issue by building a hyper-personalized, open integration marketing platform that seamlessly integrates first-party data from multiple sources. Now, with its closure of a Series Seed B investment of $4.5M led by entrepreneur and private investor Rick Gibbs and JHCapital, LLC, the startup is fueled for its next phase growth.
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“In 2017, I imagined this day would come, where users were not going to accept being tracked through a trail of cookies all over the internet, and advertisers were going to be behind the 8 ball, not having an innovative solution that could talk to multiple data sources and scale and adapt to changing environments,” says Jon Berna, founder and CEO of Driven Data. “Our team has been building a platform to solve this exact issue and go well beyond what current marketing software solutions can do.”
Driven Data illuminates the entire customer journey from Tier 1 to 3, giving auto retailers unprecedented access to first-party data across CRM, inventory, DMS and other sources. Driven Data integrates data on its open platform and, through automation, produces immediate insights that are applied to hyper-personalized marketing strategies and campaigns. The result is never seen before lifts in leads, conversions and sales, with zero reliance on cookies.
“To say Driven Data’s platform is ‘impressive’ would be a huge understatement – it is visionary in the truest sense,” says Gibbs. “As Google, Apple and Facebook re-write the rules around how advertisers handle privacy, targeting and measurement, companies are getting shut out of access to third-party data, leaving them spinning in circles sorting out how to integrate and leverage first party data from multiple sources. Luckily, Jon has done the work already so dealers can pivot and dramatically improve their marketing performance.” Gibbs, who co-founded Dealer.com which was acquired for $1B, also serves as Driven Data’s Chairman.
Driven Data was founded in 2013 to help dealers understand and improve their marketing and in-store performance. Together, a team of auto industry experts, data scientists and software engineers developed a breakthrough, flexible platform to address the emerging fragmentation challenges and gaps in customer marketing facing auto retailers. In the last two years, the company has grown its revenue by 4x.
“We are thrilled to have Rick’s guidance as our chairman, and his and JHCapital’s confidence in us as investors,” added Berna. “This injection of capital will allow us to support our competitive edge, continue scaling our platform, and attract and retain incredible talent such as Liz Kelley and Zach Hendrix.”
Newly appointed to the position of Vice President of Sales and Media is Liz Kelley, a well-recognized leader in sales, marketing and revenue performance strategies for the automotive industry, and expert in advertising using the power of TV. Kelley was most recently with Comcast’s Effectv and formerly President of Kelley and Kelley Marketing.
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“With the elimination of 3rd party cookies, dealers are seeking ways to continue to target in market auto consumers, while making record profits,” says Kelley. “Driven Data’s platform is light years ahead of any marketing I’ve seen as it aggregates auto dealers’ first-party customer data to create targeted audiences and measure return on ad spend. In addition, the analytics dashboard is a tool to measure marketing results and people-process improvements that are easy for a dealer to track. As a long term digital and traditional marketing junkie, the decision to lead the charge with dealers and use their own data to maximize results was a no brainer. I’m honored and privileged to join the team.”
Zach Hendrix has been named Chief Customer Officer. Hendrix joined Driven Data in 2020 as Vice President of Strategy where he led the company’s strategic efforts. Hendrix previously held leadership roles at numerous automotive technology providers and automotive retailers.
Hendrix says, “I wanted to solve one of the automotive industry’s most complex problems that affects dealer operations, marketing spend, and ultimately the way consumers buy and sell cars today. Those problems start by understanding the truth in automotive data, how legacy automotive technologies should work together, and how the single source of the truth can be deployed for marketing and dealer operations.”
Ryan Moore, who joined the company as Chief Technology Officer in early 2018, said, “These additions to our team allow us to take the work we’ve been doing with first-party data and marketing attribution to the next level. Zach’s leadership in engaging new partners and Liz’s experience in sales and media have brought a new dynamic to our team, and we’re excited to deliver our software and strategies to a wider audience with Rick’s guidance.”