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 13th

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 13th (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 13th

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 13th (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 13th

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 13th (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 13th

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 13th

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

May 14th

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 15th

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

  • “Honey, Get the Camping Gear – We’re Going to the Dealership!”

    Ask yourselves if you are, in any piece of your processes, choosing blind dedication to tradition over functionality. Is there anything you can do, is there any technology available to you that speeds up the process for you and your customers? The meet and greet, the needs and assessment qualification, the walk-around, the write-up – all of the steps on the road to the sale have changed. You may get pushback on this concept from the veterans, or you may be the one pushing back, but it does not change the facts. Your customers will not stand for an in-store process that takes them back 20 years. Chances are they researched you and your competitors online, sent in a lead, scheduled an appointment and found your location all by using their tablet or smartphone. So what might their reaction be to your sales process if it involves a Sharpie and a photocopied 4-square? Think about how the use of technology can turn your sales staff into true state-of-the-art, cutting-edge sales professionals. If you don’t honestly feel that technology can accomplish this, then talent acquisition may be a process in and of itself that needs to be examined. Read post

  • Boost Sales by Lowering Turnover

    There’s one thing majority of U.S. dealerships all have in common: turnover. Don’t believe so? According to the NADA, turnover at American auto dealerships is nearly 62%. That’s a pretty high percentage for an industry that focuses on numbers. When you’re constantly hiring, firing, letting go and re-hiring employess, it can take a heavy toll on your bank account. There’s no need to continue this unwanted, costly routine when it can be fixed, especially when it comes to hiring salespeople. Taking control of your recruiting process is crucial if you want to lower turnover. Sure, it’s difficult to have a 0% turnover rate, but with the proper help it’s easily obtainable to severely lower this percentage and retain quality employees. Hireology has developed a completely complimentary and educational ebook based on research from our customers and the current state of the auto industry. In this insightful eBook, you’ll discover the following: Reasons for high turnover To...Read post

  • 5 Reasons Our New Vehicle Merchandising SUCKS Online!

    Is it just me or are we missing the boat on how we present our vehicles online? Especially in the new vehicle inventory department. Check out this quick and dirty review on why we SUCK at marketing our new vehicles online!Read post

  • Fall into Customer Loyalty with an Event

    Can you feel it? Autumn is in the air. For some of the country, it is starting to get cooler and even the leaves are beginning to change. If you aren’t experiencing the spirit of fall yet, you can still celebrate the official start to the autumn season on September 23rd. Regardless of your climate, fall provides a perfect opportunity to market to customers. Here are three ways you can drive traffic and build customer loyalty with a fall event. Support Local Sports The autumn season is synonymous with football and soccer. If you are a dealership that is actively involved with your local school district or sports organizations, think about hosting a tailgating party at your dealership. You could have food, music, and even a car decorating station. This type of fall event shows your commitment to the community, provides additional foot traffic to your lot, and builds loyalty for your dealership. Eat Pumpkin and Apples People love fall because of the food and nothing brings people toge...Read post

  • The Two Sides to Social Media

    Everyone knows about the front-facing part of social media. Some of us use it every day. Whether we're checking updates, following a story, or simply looking into what our friends are doing, we go to our favority social media app on our phones or visit the sites on our computers and explore the world socially. The other side of social media is more mysterious. It's not that it's a secret; many discussions have been had about it right here on Driving Sales. It's that few dealers are talking about it, fewer vendors are offering it, and the social media sties themselves are doing a terrible job at getting the word out. That's fine by us. The longer that it's a secret, the better it is for our dealers. This other side, the "dark side" of sites like Facebook and Twitter, rely on their number one asset to help businesses spread their message to the right audience. That asset is targeting, and the methodology that these social networks employ are can be downright powerful. Let's take a...Read post

  • Change the Game with Special Finance

    ~~In today's technology driven, high speed, high cost, velocity environment in which we live there has to be more than the race to the bottom to sell new and pre-owned vehicles. There has to be more than just the "best" price, and the "best" customer service. There has to be more than just the "free" oil changes, and "free" tires. Listen....same is lame! There has to be more.... Well… I am pleased to announce that there is certainly more for those Dealerships that have moved beyond the mere commodity side of this business to master and leverage the opportunity to sell solutions. Of course, I am referring to Special Finance. But wait... what is Special Finance exactly? Special Finance is creative solutions to everyday problems such as poor credit history, no credit history, limited income, limited work history, negative equity, and limited cash down. Dealerships that excel in Special Finance solve everyday problems, set customers up for future success, and dramatically change lives! ...Read post

  • Testing Every Component of Websites and Tools is the Key to Maximizing Leads

    There are three rules when it comes to properly A/B testing the various components of your website and the tools that drive it. We use them and we know there are a handful of other vendors who use them as well, but you don't have to be a vendor to take advantage of them. Dealers can do this type of testing as well. ...Read post

  • Effective Communication: Stop Playing the Telephone Game

    Most of us are familiar with the telephone game. For those that haven’t played, the game is very simple. A group of people stands in a line. A simple sentence, starting with the first person, is whispered into the next person’s ear one by one until the message reaches the end of the line. Typically, the sentence that is revealed by the person at the end of the line is significantly different than the one that was started with. Just as in the game, this phenomenon of simple miscommunication exists in the workplace. Once you realize just how easily spoken communications can be changed inadvertently, the importance of effectively communicating is reinforced. Car dealerships are particularly prone to this given the complexity of many of the activities occurring. If a salesperson misunderstands the sales manager when working a deal with a customer, it can alter the rapport and general experience for that customer significantly. When a service advisor communicates with a customer inef...Read post