Cox Automotive is leading a $30 million investment round in San Francisco-based Fyusion, a company in the 360-degree and 3D imaging technology space.
The investment aims to “accelerate the digital buying and selling experience, bringing it closer to a live interaction,” Cox Automotive said in a news release announcing the investment.
Other participants in the round were not disclosed, but Fyusion vice president of business development and marketing Keith Martin said via email that this is a “strategic round with participation from other automotive businesses” in addition to Cox.
The funding, which is Fyusion’s B2 round and its fourth financing round, will bring its total raised amount to $68 million once the round has closed, Martin said.
Cox Automotive’s Manheim brand is working with Fyusion to provide dealers with 360-degree interactive viewing capabilities in the Manheim Express app. They also have plans to deliver for artificial intelligence to condition reports, in addition to “improved objectivity” to those reports.
“Dealers and consignors will benefit from increased confidence in their ability to make informed decisions, buy and sell vehicles faster and maximize profits,” Cox Automotive said in a news release.
Digital sales have been a major piece of Manheim’s strategy. Within Cox Automotive’s Manheim business, 43% of sales in 2018 — and over 2 million transactions — involved a digital buyer, the company said earlier this year.
Grace Huang, president of the Cox Automotive Inventory Solutions group that includes Manheim, said it’s not just that digital’s share at the auction chain is growing, but that the rate of growth is increasing, as well.
“And we’re pretty confident by the end of this year it will be in the 50% range,” Huang said in an interview with AuSM during NADA Show 2019.
“And this is going to be the year of the tipping point,” she said. “Obviously, we’ve been talking about it for 20 years, but believe it or not, it’s here.”
While Cox Automotive has said the digital’s share of its wholesale sales has climbed in recent years, top-notch imaging will be paramount to further adoption.
“Dealers tell us that high quality imaging is a key factor in continuing to drive digital adoption,” Huang said in the release about the investment. “We are continuing to invest in delivering the industry’s best 3D imaging and merchandising experience, allowing sellers to better market their vehicles digitally and buyers to purchase with greater peace of mind.”
And their collaboration doesn’t appear to stop there, as Manheim and Fyusion intend on building “innovative capabilities for inside- and outside-the-gate applications,” Cox Automotive said in its news release.
Fyusion co-founder and chief executive Radu Rusu said in the release, “Cox Automotive plays a critical role in making the car-buying process easier in the wholesale and retail marketplaces. We look forward to continuing to work together as Manheim works to give dealers advanced imaging capabilities that help them take full advantage of digital channels to reach more buyers and close more sales.”
Their collaboration extends to other pieces of Cox Automotive, as well, as Fyusion is working with other brands within the company to “differentiate the client experience in the digital marketplace.”