Posted on September 9, 2008
Filed Under Easy VC Money |
While startups that “suck” launch at DEMO and TechCrunch50, I’m out raising money for a mature Internet company that’s under the radar but already very much in the black.
If you’ve ever had your car stolen, you’ve probably never given much thought to the business of automobile theft - you simply wanted your car back (or your insurance company to cover the costs of your loss so that you could purchase a new one).
Yet the business of stolen automobiles is a multi-billion dollar one and each year, more than 1 million automobiles are stolen in the United States alone. While many of these stolen automobiles never leave the United States, many do.
The international trade in stolen automobiles is a lucrative one. A stolen sports car taken from the streets of Manhattan, for instance, can often fetch more than double its retail value overseas depending on the make and model. Popular destinations for luxury automobiles include the Mideast, Russia, Asia and West Africa.
ChopMotors has developed a sophisticated invite-only online marketplace and global transportation network designed specifically for the international trade in stolen automobiles.
Sellers of stolen automobiles locate buyers using the ChopMotors online marketplace, which is modeled after the popular eBay Motors website. Sales, both for individual automobiles and bulk inventory, can be conducted via auction or fixed-price offerings.
ChopMotors, through its global network of wholly-owned and affiliated trucking companies and freight forwarders, handles the transshipment of stolen automobiles on behalf of buyers and sellers once a sale is consummated. When ChopMotors says “We’ll pick you up,” the company really means it.
The Business Model
ChopMotors generates revenue via the following:
- A commission based on the dollar amount of each transaction.
- Transportation fees (freight forwarding, etc.).
Additionally, because of its confidence in its transportation network and relationships with corrupt customs officials at major ports around the world, ChopMotors offers insurance packages that protect buyers and sellers in case a shipment is “lost.”
ChopMotors is profitable and has extremely high margins. In the first half of 2008, it facilitated nearly $100 million worth of sales. Audited financials are available to qualified parties.
Who I’m Pitching
While ChopMotors is well-financed and in no need of additional capital, I am seeking a token $250,000 investment from The Founders Fund’s Peter Thiel since I believe he may have purchased his SLR from one of ChopMotors’ sellers.
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