Actor and comedian Kevin Hart has taken a stake in New York City-based car-leasing platform Rodo as the startup announced Tuesday that it’s closed $18 million in a series B funding round.
Rodo’s an online car-leasing and buying platform where customers can order cars without going to the dealership. Owners can also sell their used cars through the platform.
The latest funding round was led by Mount Laurel, NJ-based Holman Enterprises and New York-based investment firm Evolution VC Partners.
IAC and Kevin Hart’s HartBeat Ventures also joined the round, as well as auto industry veterans Mack and Franklin McLarty and Ken Schnitzer, former chairman of Park Place Automotive Group.
“Our team is passionate about cars and want to support platforms with transparency and an easy-to-use format that gives power back to the consumer,” said Robert Roman, president of Kevin Hart’s Fund, HartBeat Ventures. “We believe Rodo does this. It’s a game changer!”
The new capital brings the company’s total funding to $45 million at a valuation of “a few hundred million,” according to a representative for the company, though they declined to share a number.
Nathan Hecht, founder and CEO of Rodo, told The Post that the company’s seen massive growth during the pandemic and that it plans to use the new money to expand its dealership network as well as bolster its existing partnerships.
The company saw revenue and volume surge more than 1,000 percent in 2020 over the year before, and now forecasts 2021 to grow by more than 500 percent, he said.
Hecht noted that in many states, including New York, car dealerships could only sell cars through digital platforms at the beginning of the pandemic because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“It was sort of a scramble for dealers to get on to our platform,” he said. “Then they started to open the stores, but you needed an appointment and it was still very difficult for a period of like six to nine months, so consumers were doing transactions online.”
And since then, as retailers have largely returned to more normal operations, the market for cars has been plagued by a supply shortage that’s sent the prices of both new and used cars, as well as rentals, soaring.
That’s benefitted Rodo, Hecht said, because through the app, buyers can browse the available supply of cars in their area more easily.
The supply crunch has also brought in a booming market of used car owners who want to sell their vehicle through Rodo.
Hecht said that because of the recent pricing craziness in the used car market, Rodo is seeing sellers who bought new cars six months ago who are now selling those same cars for a profit.
“There’s money to be had, so we’re moving along accordingly,” he said.