Welcome to another episode of Founder Focus, a CBT original series that focuses on the journeys of some amazing automotive founders. Today, host Steve Greenfield is joined by serial entrepreneur Brice Englert, founder of TradePending, one of the most innovative software solutions in the auto tech landscape over the past decade. TradePending’s revolutionary trade-in tool SNAP quickly became the most rapidly adopted trade-in tool for auto dealerships in the U.S. Recently, TradePending announced the launch of SNAP+, the next iteration of SNAP.
Englert begins the conversation by discussing his journey into and through the automotive industry. Initially, he was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force and created a software development program. He then had the opportunity to join Trader Publications and got a big break to join the merger and acquisitions team, and the rest, as they say, was history.
Englert felt that used vehicle acquisitions were positioned all wrong. Car dealers hadn’t realized the largest source of their used vehicle inventory is trade-ins. The largest market for cars is the ‘owned market’ says, Englert. The biggest opportunity was trying to position the consumer on why trading in their cars more frequently, could simplify the process.
“I didn’t start TradePending until I was 39,” says Englert. He feels that from the time he thought about a career, to the time he started TradePending, he was mitigating all the risks that could be thrown at him. Finally, he had a moment and realized, “he had to do this.” They were fortunate enough to have enough initial capital to hire great talent and focus on building a great product.
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Englert says he’s always had something inside of him to be inquisitive. He believes most entrepreneurs are born with an edge. He says to just be curious, read books and talk to customers. He also says you do want to reach a level, where you want to get even more aggressive. You want to be a brand that’s well respected and looking to expand services organically and also through acquisitions.
When it comes to mentorship, Englert says, they were many people at different points of his journey. Although his peers weren’t his mentors, they challenged him. Good collaborations can help define your career. The best advice Englert ever received was, don’t undercapitalize. Figure out what’s going to allow you to make a few mistakes over the course of a few years and don’t be stingy. Ask yourself, what does the business need for myself and the business to be successful?
Five years from now, Englert hopes his team is gigantic and their data is being used in the shopping experience across the automotive industry.
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