Our summer series of podcasts from the Auto Intel Summit continues! This week’s episode of the Vehicle 2.0 Podcast features our first multi-guest interview with Nathan Hecht and Patrick McKeever, Founder/CEO and VP of Sales & Business Development at Honcker, respectively.
Give the episode a listen for yourself, or dive into a selection of highlights from our interview below. As always, be sure to subscribe to stay tuned for future episodes!
Nathan and Patrick on the founding of Honcker
Scot: So Nathan, tell us about the founding. I'm a fellow entrepreneur, so I'd love to hear the founding story and all the background on yourself and how you got into this.
Nathan: The founding of the company is actually real interesting. It was actually from a personal experience in trying to lease a car in New York. I went into a local car dealership and basically went through the runaround of trying to choose and price a vehicle for a monthly lease. It took about five hours to ultimately realize that I don't even think I'm going to take this car after this whole experience. During the five or six hours that I was in the dealership, I was searching for a way to do the same thing online and quickly realized that there was no way to do a new vehicle transaction on the Internet. And in my case, specifically, a lease. So at the end of that day I did a little more research and I committed to trying to do this. That's how the company started and as they say, the rest is history. That was about two and a half years ago.
Scot: And then Pat, how do you intersect into the story?
Patrick: I had met Nathan from my previous place of work where we played in the automotive DMS data space. Actually had approached Nathan and learned about the company and said, “Hey, if you have a need for DMS data, we can help you.” He said, “No thanks,” but we kept in touch. At that point I kind of kept an eye on him and he was starting to get some real traction, and then I immediately saw sort of the need or the hole if you will. There had been other services out there that could present a savings to the consumer, but at the end of the day - and I'm a huge leasing fan, both of my cars are currently leased and have been leased for the last 10, 12 plus years - I saw the fit immediately. So we met in Brooklyn about a year and a half ago.
Nathan: I think I made an offer at that first meeting, or maybe the next day.
Patrick: I think it was the next day. We had a really good sort of connection. We’re similar but very different at the same time, and and we work well together. So it's been a blast. It's only been about a year and a half but it feels like 10 years. It's been an awesome ride so far.
Nathan on the growing trend of car subscriptions
Scot: In the vehicle 2.0 podcast, we talk about connected car, changing ownership, EV, and AV. I'm going to spend the bulk of our time on changing ownership cause you guys are sitting right there and in the sweet spot of that. The big trend right in your space is this subscription kind of model. It seems like that would be a natural kind of element for you, since you have some people looking at subscriptions like a rental model and others kind of extending a lease and providing some flexibility inside of a lease. Do you have any kind of point of view of where we're going to go as far as ownership?
Nathan: I think subscription as a category is a very interesting category. And there's a ton of opportunity there and there are some significant players already that are getting customers and traction and funding and so on. But the economics behind that are still a bit foggy, if you will. A lot of it is around used car vehicles. There’s a lot of credit risk, there's inventory risk, there's tech risk. There is “how do we value the residual value of a vehicle if a consumer uses it for a month and then returns it and then I need to re-lease it or re-sell it and so on and so forth.”
So it's an interesting category. It has a future, no doubt. But I would compare it to Web 1.0, mid-90s when sort of e-commerce was just trying to find traction. Travel was fine trying to find traction. There were a lot of companies that fell out and failed in trying to figure this stuff out, until ultimately it was figured out and you have those that have succeeded. So that's possible that will happen here as well, but it's certainly a category that we keep a close eye on.
What we're doing in particular is that we're thinking about these things as well and we're trying to look at ourselves as sort of an ecosystem for “if you're going to have a car in your driveway, where did you get it? How did you insure it? How are you servicing it? What are you doing with it when you're not using it? Can you capitalize on that? Can you make money on it? How are you paying for it?” So what be it, subscription or modernizing the transaction/ownership and everything else that goes around it. It's really interesting and it just needs hard work, execution, capital, and time to prove it.
We here at Spiffy were thrilled to have Nathan and Patrick as guests on the Vehicle 2.0 Podcast. Learning more about Honcker at the Auto Intel Summit was one of the industry disruptions that excite us the most for the future of cars. Be sure to check out their app if you’re looking for an easy way to lease your next vehicle!
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Posted in Vehicle 2.0