Henley-in-Arden, UK, 28 March 2014 – Venture capital fund manager Mercia Fund Management (MFM) has announced an online logistics platform Dealer Management Portal Ltd (DMPortal) as the latest addition to its portfolio of technology investments.
Officially launched in March 2014, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform is aiming to revolutionise traditional vehicle auction and transportation by providing an online solution for car dealerships.
The company will join MFM’s expanding digital portfolio, and the funding will support the official launch of DMPortal. Three major car groups already use the portal, and dealers are urged to register their interest on the DMPortal website –http://www.dmportal.co.uk – which has recently gone live, prior to the official launch.
DMPortal’s centralised vehicle planner enables large car groups with their own fleets to efficiently and cost effectively manage vehicle movements. Whilst vehicle distribution commonly runs at a loss, the DMPortal system facilitates collaborations between dealers and transporters to make it possible to turn a profit.
Rob Johnson, Investment Associate at Mercia Fund Management, added: “DMPortal’s online business model and founder Mark Fox’s experience within the automotive industry was an attractive opportunity for our new digital and e-commerce division. With £19 million under active management, we will continue to fund scalable businesses in need of start-up and expansion capital.”
Managing Director at DMPortal, Mark Fox, is already an experienced application developer within the automotive and fleet industry and commented: “DMPortal was founded to streamline the auction and logistics for used and ex-lease vehicles, which historically consisted of chaotic, unreliable and expensive sales processes. DMPortal provides an opportunity to sell vehicles without physically transporting vehicles to an auction house, so reducing vehicle movement and logistics costs by up to 50%.”
DMPortal also provides a car transporter module. This software enables vehicle transporters to operate at full capacity on both outbound and inbound journeys as dealers access a nationwide logistics network to track and pool movements.
“Transporters usually operate around 30 to 40 per cent below capacity, however, our system gives plated drivers the tools to find return moves, creating better value for dealerships,” explains Fox.
The car transporter module ensures all parties benefit from reduced costs and smoother operations. All transporters involved with the scheme will receive more business as vehicles will be fully utilised, whilst dealers unlock major savings when collecting and delivering vehicles. The same process also reduces the number of transporters on the road, creating a win-win for the wider motor industry.
Fox concluded: “MFM has a varied portfolio, but it was the VC fund’s recent expansion into the digital and e-commerce sector attracted us to their offer. MFM provides more than just funding for early stage businesses like ourselves; its mentoring, advice and support services ensure we have the assistance and contacts we need to expand further.”
About DMPortal Ltd
Dealer Management Portal Ltd (DMPortal) was founded by Mark Fox. The company provides a SaaS platform for vehicle dealerships and transporters by offering an online logistics and auction solution.
The online portal rivals traditional auction houses, and dealers can sell used and ex-lease vehicles without the need for physical transportation. DMPortal also hosts a car movement module, providing an opportunity for transporters to gain business and reach full capacity for inbound and outbound journeys, whilst offering an efficient alternative for dealerships delivering and collecting vehicles.
About Mercia Fund Management
Mercia Fund Management (MFM) is a venture capital fund manager with circa £19 million under active management. MFM provides investment capital throughout a company’s journey (from early stage to expansion capital), support services for its portfolio and accommodation at its post-seed incubator at Forward House, Henley-in- Arden, Warwickshire.
Mercia Growth Fund 3, which launched December 2013, is closing for new investment in April 2014 and is targeted to raise circa £5 million.
MFM is an FCA authorised and regulated fund manager under FSMA (FRN: 524856).