When my colleagues and I founded OPENLANE in 1999, we hoped it would be a game-changer for the auto remarketing industry. But we never could have imagined just how remarkable and impactful the company would become.
This month, OPENLANE is celebrating its 20-year anniversary, and like the doting co-founder I am, I’d like to take a moment to reflect and, ok – yes, boast on the many accomplishments and highlights from our two decades of growth and innovation.
In 1999, as a student at Stanford Graduate School of Business, my fellow co-founders and I created a plan to improve the wholesale automotive auction experience through digital technology. The more we learned about the industry the more we felt the need for this solution was so strong that we decided to develop our plan into reality and founded what’s known today as OPENLANE (formerly known as Autodaq).
While our company was growing and establishing roots in the auto remarketing industry, two other start-ups emerged: AutoTradeCenter (founded in 1999 in Phoenix, AZ) and Onlane (founded in 2000 in Toronto, CA). Our paths crossed throughout the years and eventually the three companies combined, forming the OPENLANE brand in 2008.
The start-up world is one of ups and downs, and we had our fair share of both in those early years. However, we had more good days than bad and over the years OPENLANE was able to grow its customers in the auto remarketing industry by providing state-of-the-art solutions for buyers and sellers of wholesale vehicles. So much so that it caught the attention of many leaders within the industry, including KAR Auction Services (KAR).
In 2011, KAR acquired OPENLANE which ushered in a new period of growth. As a full-fledged KAR business unit, OPENLANE has gone on to set many records for growth, revenue, and volume – selling more than one million vehicles in 2018 and becoming the world’s leading online auction platform.
By leveraging the most advanced data and analytics within KAR, OPENLANE has set a new standard for the industry. Our platform offers a fully responsive digital interface that is intuitive and seamless, helping customers make faster, better-informed decisions. As an innovative and nimble organization, I’m confident enhancements to our technology and capabilities will continue at a rapid pace.
During these two decades, we’ve been privileged to work with the best customers in the industry. Many of these customers – OEMs, financial institutions and fleets, have launched their first online programs with OPENLANE and continue to be our partners today. I’m proud of each partnership we’ve built, whether long-time customers or newly acquainted ones, they motivate OPENLANE to push the envelope and become better at what we do, and I look forward to continuing our growth together.
OPENLANE’s intelligent innovations, trusted technology, and world-class service is made possible only by our phenomenal team members – past and present. This is what I take the most pride in, the team that has rallied around an idea, helped bring it to reality and continues to move it forward every day. Our teams based in Arizona, Indiana and Toronto are the most imaginative, determined and talented in the industry, and their passion and persistence inspire me every single day.
The OPENLANE story is just getting started, and I can’t wait to be a part of the exciting opportunities that will drive us into the next twenty years.