Automotive Ventures is excited to share our latest investment out of the DealerFund: RockED.
RockED is the next-generation mobile learning platform built to up-skill and develop teams in the automotive industry through daily dose, short-form video content. Think of it as a hybrid between TikTok and DuoLingo. The company is at the forefront of addressing some of the biggest challenges of the automotive industry, delivering certifiable and data-driven learning paths to each frontline dealership worker.
RockED complements a dealership’s existing learning & development stack solutions, including in-person and web-based training, as its focus on quick bursts of daily learning in the flow of work serves as a crucial reinforcement to employees. Keeping critical product, process knowledge and soft skills top of mind, RockED’s unique value proposition stems from the intersection of high-quality content crafted by automotive experts and research-backed, predictive technology with gamification elements. These come together to create an engaging learning experience unique to each learner, delivered when and where they matter most.
The investment was led by JM Family Enterprises, a privately held company with $18 billion in revenue and more than 5,000 associates. Its family of companies includes Southeast Toyota Distributors, JM&A Group, and Southeast Toyota Finance.
Exceptional Leadership: One of the key factors influencing our decision is the exceptional leadership team at RockED. The founders, Matthias Stoever and Marco Schnabl, bring a unique blend of industry expertise, innovative thinking, and a proven track record of successful past ventures. Their visionary approach to solving some of the biggest issues facing automotive dealerships stood out during our interactions.
Market Potential: The market opportunity for RockED is significant and poised for dramatic growth. Our analysis indicates a clear need to help dealerships with their employee retention and engagement challenges, and RockED’s mobile learning platform is positioned to win. We are confident in the company's ability to further capture and expand its market share.
Market Need: Dealerships are currently facing a headwind of talent acquisition, training and retention: current training programs are either nonexistent or often ill-suited for the emerging digital generation of employees who are accustomed to receiving information and learning differently than prior generations.
Along with a chronic technician shortage, dealers are hiring and onboarding this new generation of employee who expects to work differently, wants to grow and be challenged, and wants to learn new things quickly.
At the same time, the amount of knowledge these employees need to process is accelerating. Some examples include digital retailing channels and tools, greater software interaction than ever, more sophisticated consumers with higher expectations, tech-enabled cars, subscription services and electric vehicles (EVs).
Product/Service Differentiation: RockED's next-generation mobile learning platform demonstrates a compelling competitive advantage versus other products on the market. Their unique features, technological advancements, and strategic positioning sets them apart from existing solutions. We believe these differentiators will contribute significantly to their success.
Network effects: RockED has the largest and highest quality content library in the industry. The company’s growth strategy connects all elements of the value chain into one learning network, combining automakers, network partners, and both large and small dealer groups. Combining the RockED platform with real-time performance data enables individualized learning paths and in turn increases employee performance.
Scalability: Our investment thesis heavily weighs towards scalability, and we see strong potential for RockED to scale its operations efficiently. The combination of a robust business model, scalability potential, and a clear path to market leadership positions the company for long-term success.
Strong Traction: RockED has exhibited impressive traction in terms of customer acquisition, user engagement, and revenue growth. This early validation underscores the market demand for their offering and validates our confidence in their ability to execute.
Strategic Partnerships: The strategic partnerships already forged by RockED demonstrate not only their ability to navigate the industry landscape but also the potential for collaborative growth. These partnerships strengthen the company's position and open avenues for further expansion.
Alignment with Our Investment Thesis: The RockED investment aligns with the Automotive Ventures DealerFund thesis and our strategic focus areas. The thesis of the fund is to invest in technology solutions that help alleviate dealership pain points, drive incremental revenue, and remove operating costs. RockED's mission, vision, and values resonate with those of the fund.
This investment is positioned to take dominant market share, has strong potential for eventual exit, and drive outsized returns for our investors.
We’re thrilled to be part of RockED's journey and are confident that our investment and contribution to the company will not only yield significant returns but also contribute to the company's emergence as the leader in the automotive industry. We look forward to collaborating closely with the RockED team and playing a proactive role along their successful journey to ultimate exit.