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Autoquake handed £6m boost

Autoquake, the online used car retailer, has been guaranteed £6 million of venture capital funding to help the UK business expand internationally.

High Capital Partners is providing the money on top of £3 million which was invested in the company by Accel Partners in 2006.

Autoquake sells used cars on behalf of large corporate fleet and leasing companies directly to consumers at a discount.

Fredrik Skantze, co-founder of Autoquake and chief marketing officer, said: “The money will be invested in more staff and software to help boost sales to 3,000 a month by 2010.”

Autoquake has used car warehouses in Birmingham and Bradford which store and prepare cars before they go on to their new owners. Each site has a built-in valet centre and photo studio where up to 50 pictures can be taken to support the sale of the car online.

Skantze said some of the money would be used to develop another used car site on the outskirts of London which is expected to be open by next summer.

Autoquake will also be moving into Europe next year, but Skantze could not elaborate on further details.

The hike in investment has also been met with some new appointments.

Gary Nicholls has been appointed vice-president of retail operations and Clement Mazen has joined the company to head up customer acquisitions.

Nicholls will be responsible for the customer experience, including management of Autoquake’s hand-over centres and their F&I sales. He previously worked as business services director at GMAC-owned car supermarket group Carland, once headed by Autoquake chief executive Garry Hobson, but most recently was sales and marketing director at cosmetic surgery firm Transform Medical Group.

Mazen is a search marketing and analytics expert, with experience gained at eSearchVision and Yahoo! Search Marketing.

Fergal Mullen, general partner at Highland Capital Partners, will join the Autoquake board. Kevin Comolli and Judy Gibbons, of Accel Partners, will also be joining the Autoquake board. Hobson said: “Our new financing will enable us to quickly ramp up our operations and develop Autoquake into a recognised and trusted brand.”

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