Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

VIDEO: DealerSocket Rumors: CEO Jonathan Ord Sets the Record Straight

What’s next for DealerSocket? It seems that this question, as well as speculated answers have dotted the web recently. Here at DrivingSales News, we have your answer, straight from the source. Jonathan Ord, co-founder and CEO of DealerSocket sat down with the CEO of DrivingSales, Jared Hamilton to discuss what’s on the horizon for his company, beginning with rumors that they are going to be acquired.  

Jared Hamilton: There’s lot of news in the industry, lots of discussion around DealerSocket today, that you might be potentially getting acquired or selling the company, can you explain what’s the deal, what’s with the noise, there’s smoke, is there fire?

Jonathan Ord: Yeah, I love rumors. It’s great to be so thought-of and to have so much discussion about our company and what we do. Just to set the record straight, we are swapping out a financial partner. We’re partnering with Vista Equity Partners. They’re a 13 billion-dollar private equity firm. Great, great guys. Matt and Cameron and myself and Brad and Darin Harris, all the key management players are all still here and we still own, just a little bit under half of the company. So, its really a financing event to do some great things for our employees, to do great things for us personally, and really get back into the trenches.

Be sure to stay tuned to DrivingSales.com where in the coming days we will have more information for you on the partnership between DealerSocket and Vista Equity as well as more information from the interview between Jared Hamilton and Jonathan Ord. 

Comments

Notice how he said that they still owned a little under half of the company? Vista Equity owns a little over half of it now. Guess who the chairman of Vista Equity is... Bob Brockman, owner of Reynolds. Y'all can do the math here.

May 13, 2014

Robert F. Smith - Chairman and CEORobert founded Vista Equity Partners in 2000 and is the firm's Chairman and CEO. Robert currently sits on or participates in the boards of all Vista portfolio companies. He is Chairman of the investment committee and is actively involved in Vista's direction, investment decisions, executive development and operational strategies. Prior to founding Vista, Robert was the Co-Head of the Enterprise Systems and Storage sector for Goldman, Sachs & Co.'s investment banking division. While at Goldman, he executed and advised on merger and acquisition activity across a broad range of technology segments, including semiconductors, contract manufacturing, data networking, computer systems, B2B and enterprise software, and internet infrastructure. Robert also served as the business unit manager for Goldman's Mergers and Acquisitions group, and was responsible for conflict clearance, team staffing, recruiting, marketing strategy, and fee schedule integrity.Before his time with Goldman, Robert worked in strategic planning and development at Kraft General Foods (KGF). He is the principal inventor on two United States and two European patents. Robert holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and an M.B.A. degree from Columbia University, where he graduated with Beta Gamma Sigma honors and earned numerous academic achievement awards. In addition to numerous academic and civic awards, Robert received the 2010 Ripple of Hope Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.Education:B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Cornell UniversityM.B.A., Concentration in Finance and Marketing, Columbia Business School

May 13, 2014 (Last Edited: 2014-05-13 16:35:55)

Thanks for the interview Jared! We are excited about this over here and look at it as another great launch pad for DealerSocket. I am not rolling significant equity to be acquired and assumed by another. We believe passionately in our DealerSocket vision and culture and we (all of us) are excited about this next step. We look forward to showing the automotive world more of what DS is capable of!

May 13, 2014

I appreciate the response, Jonathan. I've since found out that Brockman is not chairman now although via a simple Google search, he was a chairman at some point. Irregardless of who the current chairman is, I have two comments: First, Vista Equity currently lists it's "companies" as inclusive of BOTH Reynolds and DealerSocket. Second, this deal is way too small for Vista Equity to be interested in unless Reynolds was involved in some way. In what way, I don't know. There is no way that Vista Equity invested in DealerSocket without an end game and that end game will ALWAYS be to make money. They currently have two competing companies in their portfolio with the acquisition of the majority stake in DealerSocket. If they wanted to place Bob Brockman on your board, they could. As a much smarter person than me said "DealerSocket is a lot closer to Reynolds today than they were a few days ago [and] every competitor is [now] going to take that page on Vista's site and show that to DealerSocket customers -- "See, they're tied to Reynolds and Reynolds."

May 13, 2014 (Last Edited: 2014-05-13 16:49:09)

You clearly do not know me or DealerSocket very well. But to quote one of your other articles, "the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about"… We do like the attention! Time will tell a different story than what you are painting. but I am great with you talking about us! Your link is the "easy" answer without looking deeper or understanding how Vista invests, their MO, DealerSocket's culture, my MO, our history, how much of an investment they even have in Rey, offers that we have turned down. I get that it is fun to talk about, just like hearing the stories on TMZ that are filled with half trues. Also, our competitors have said that we were being purchased by just about everyone for the last 10 years… We are flattered by the attention and we are even more flattered by the record number of customers that chose our platform in the month of April. We will continue to server our customers and future customers as well as we are able and this transaction simply increases our abilities and capabilities into the future. Thx Arnold.

May 13, 2014

Don't for a moment take me wrong, Jonathan. I think DealerSocket is a great company and offers a great solution. I hope everything you are saying plays out just like you predict for both you, your company and employees. I only wish y'all the best. I am only asking the questions and voicing the thoughts that are bouncing around along with my thoughts on this. I'm in no way a psychic. Don't take my commentary as reporting. It's simply slowly putting pieces together in a confusing puzzle. There's no doubt in my mind that similar questions aren't swimming through the minds of many. I just happened to be the one that voiced them. And yes, my quote stands, it's much better to be talked about than not at all. Best wishes.

May 13, 2014 (Last Edited: 2014-05-13 17:08:30)

Thank you for bring up the questions that others are thinking and thank you for the kind words about DS.

Best,

Jonathan

May 13, 2014

Congrats! Dealer Socket is a wonderful product. Very intuitive. I have met you Mr. Ord on a few occasions and I am sure you are doing what is best for the company! I hold a very high respect for DS as I've used it and worked closely with the DS team. They are all straight up, hard working, focused individuals that want nothing more than the dealership to succeed. Im sure Jonathan's angle here is all for the best. Good luck, see you around :)

May 13, 2014

Wishing Johathan and his wonderful staff at DS the best. Nice people to work with for sure.

May 14, 2014

Congratulations to the DealerSocket team! This is incredible news. Vista only seeks out companies that have long term vision, are leaders in their industry and have a satisfied customer base to back it up! Way to Go!!

May 15, 2014

Comments 1 - 10 of 10

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

DrivingSales News' Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Celebrate Summer with All-Star Baseball

    Every year, thousands of Major League Baseball games are played with millions in attendance. These same baseball fans are gearing up for the long awaited All-Star Game coming up July 14th.  Believe it or not, your dealership can leverage these enthusiasts’ excitement to drive sales and service business. How, you ask? With creative, relevant marketing. Check out these three ideas to celebrate summer with All-Star baseball. Get Active Here in Cincinnati, if the Reds combine 11 strikeouts during a home game, LaRosa’s (a local pizzeria) allows every fan with a ticket from that game to redeem it for a free pizza. This is an example of how a local business can get involved with the sport of baseball to promote their brand. Similarly, your dealership could offer discounts for events that transpire during the All-Star Game, such as offering $10 oil changes if a local player hits a home run or a similar promotion that may fit your particular business model.  Create a Contest Everybody l...Read post

  • Managed vs Self-Serve Chat

    The automotive industry is really starting to come around to the idea that they must have chat on their websites. It has moved from being a luxury to becoming a requirement due to the increased use of mobile and the trend towards real-time communication. Now, the debate has been shifting to an old question: manged or self-serve? There are advantages and disadvantages to each that we've discovered and we'd love to hear from the DrivingSales community about their opiinon. As we covered on a recent blog post, the reasons for managed are plentiful: 24/7 Coverage Professional, Consistent Responses Experience of Managing Chat Constantly Proven Scripts Over Off-The-Cuff Replies For every argument, there's a counter-argument. Self-serve chat software has its own advantages: Live Answers to Inventory Questions Direct Appointments Instead of Inquiries Dealership Personality Again, we offer both so we have all of the horses in this race. We simply want to know what you guys think. What...Read post

  • Who's Down The Street? How to Differentiate Yourself In A Busy World

    Look around, who’s your biggest (local) competition. If you’re like most of us, you know who they are, you constantly see their sales numbers and wonder  how can you beat them this month? What do they have that you don’t? You have the same cars, right? You have the same (more or less) finance programs? You have the same style dealership? If these answers are “yes,” it’s time you do something to differentiate yourself from the dealership down the street.  When the OEM’s consistently make every dealership “look” the same, what does it take to stand out in a sea of non descript buildings (& colored cars for the most part.)?   Do you have a mission statement? Is that mission statement displayed in your dealership? What about in your “virtual dealership?” What’s your virtual dealership? Your website! How many visits does your website get a week or a mont h? I bet it’s more visitors than people who walk into your showroom. There’s really no need to ad...Read post

  • Internet data.....what is the most important metric?

    I am in a nada internet 20 group. We share lots aof ideas and lots of data at each meeeting. Most of our meetings center around our internet composite. It is much like the financial commposite that nada uses for other 20 group meetings. It has everyones internet data in it and rates and ranks each member under different measurements. It is a great accountabilty tool that we use as a group. One section is dedicated to analytics off of our website. the other two sections are for cars.com and autotrader data.  While there are a ton of measurements in our composite I am trying to figure oout which are the most important. Originally we ranked evry page by bounce rate. We have found that a higher bounce rate is not always a problem. If you market properly and get the person to the page that they want to be on it could result in a bounce. Pages per visit fall in to this category as well. So does time on site.  Some of the othe measurements in our composite are thigs such as Number of v...Read post

  • 13 Rules For Social Media Success in the Car Dealership

    Social Media use in the car dealership is different today than it was just five years ago (an understatement, I know). It’s interesting how in just a few years, being active on social media has evolved from something that was once regarded as ‘free’ and optional to a necessary medium that requires an investment of time, resources and yes – a budget. In this article I share my 13 Rules for Social Media Success in the Dealership that we're currently using at the LaFontaine Automotive Group as we begin to realign our social strategy for 2015 and beyond.Read post

  • 4 Types of SEO Your Dealership is Overlooking

    Navigating SEO is a DrivingSales.com exclusive series by Timothy Martell, CEO of Wikimotive. In this series, Tim breaks down ways dealers can improve their SEO and offers insight into how it will benefit business. In today's ever-changing SEO landscape, lumping the entire practice into one term is often confusing and detrimental to the success of businesses across the country.   The automotive industry in particular is filled with confusion around what exactly SEO is, how it works, and the various strategies used to grow organic traffic.   To help shed light on some of the more advanced types of SEO, here's a look at a few key strategies your dealership is likely overlooking:     Local SEO   In this series, I've written extensively on the subject of local SEO. For 2015, it's one of the most important parts of a dealership's SEO strategy, yet one that most out there overlook. This has a lot to do with the industry's delayed adoption of current and advanced SEO strateg...Read post

  • Light Up Your Marketing with Video

    Video has become one of the most important mediums for marketers and is quickly becoming the preferred method of media consumption for consumers. Every marketer dreams of the day when they produce a video with content worthy of thousands and possibly millions of viral shares. But let’s dial these dreams back a little and save ourselves the pain of wasting endless hours devising the perfect video scenario to be viewed by the world wide web. Instead let’s focus on how your dealership can utilize video in everyday marketing to engage current customers and keep them coming back to you for future vehicle needs. Today we’ll share six things you need to know about marketing with video. Get Noticed with Video It’s no secret that people like to consume their content through video. When looking at major video platforms like YouTube, you quickly understand the impact video has on our society; YouTube reports every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube to generate bill...Read post

  • Digital Marketing is Getting Easier every year

    The 2015 edition of my marketing technology landscape supergraphic has been released, now with 1,876 vendors represented across 43 categories. To actually read it, you need a hi-res version (be prepared to zoom and scroll, and then zoom and scroll some more):Read post