Dealers bid, auto buyers save taxes, using BC startup MintList

August 24, 2022

A B.C.-based company has begun a service for dealers to bid on used vehicles from consumers in a 15-minute online auction that has a maximum deadline of 24 hours.

MintList, started by co-founders Mike Wood and Mehrsa Raeiszadeh, is designed to help dealers acquire inventory by subscribing to the company, which has an escalating rate depending on the amount of usage and a one-to-two per cent commission on the sales price. It does not cost consumers anything to list.

The company, which officially launched in January 2022, has about one-third of the new car dealers in B.C. signed up. Wood said the plan is to expand the service to the Calgary-Edmonton corridor in September and then “really quickly” across the country.

“Now it’s really go-time and it’s going to spread a whole lot quicker than the first seven months,” said Wood.

While MintList is a new player in the expanded market of consumers using companies to sell their vehicles online, Wood said the big difference with his company will be the relationship with dealers.

“We’ve been doing a lot of discovery with our dealers and we’re there to be a partner with them,” said Wood, who has a vast amount of experience in the automotive world, beginning as a Sales Manager for a dealership in Richmond, the early 90s and is a Past President of the National Vehicle Leasing Association. “We’re not there to replace dealerships. We’re in no way competing with them whatsoever and I think it’s important, especially in today’s day and age where dealers are getting squeezed by everyone.

“We’re really there as a tool for the dealers. They are super important to us for the success of the program as are the consumers.”

The service requires consumers to take 13 guided photos from their phone and, in turn, MintList’s uses high-tech technology for an inspection that takes only 10 minutes. From there, the car is made available to dealership subscribers for 15 minutes. Cars are posted twice a week and MintList pays for the CARFAX fees.

“Dealers can come in and bid and a consumer has transparency on the process, too, which I think is really key,” said Wood. “The consumer has either 24 hours to accept or decline the high bid at the end. If they accept the high bid, they can use this to cash out and as a trade-in.”

Every car purchased is underwritten by Industrial Alliance with a powertrain warranty.

Wood developed the concept in 2017 with a 40-page plan and said he “sat on it” because he didn’t think the industry was ready. In 2019, he met Raeiszadeh, who has a PhD in Process Engineering from Georgia Tech, at a car rally event and the two began talking. He showed her his plan and, coincidentally, she had just had an unpleasant experience selling her car.

In May 2020 they began working full-time on business and self-funded it. They took their prototype to dealers and immediately received positive encouragement.

Last fall the company received $2.7 million in seed money and are completing a second round for a similar amount.

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