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Tampa AI company for auto dealerships raises $20M


Stella Automotive AI is a digital voice assistant for car dealerships.
Stella Automotive AI is a digital voice assistant for car dealerships.
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A Tampa technology company that provides artificial intelligence for car dealers raised $19.7 million in a Series A financing round that just closed, according to a May 1 statement.

Stella Automotive AI raised its oversubscribed Series A financing round to support ongoing product development and drive growth in the market, the statement from the company says.

The company provides the equivalent of an “Alexa” or “Siri” so that people calling into car dealerships can get questions answered or schedule appointments. Dealers across the country have used Stella Automotive AI to help handle large call volumes and free up their staff to help customers in person rather than answer the phones, the company says.

“The excitement the market is showing for Stella's AI technology is thrilling,” Stella's CEO Rich Sands says in the statement. “Since our founding, Stella's has aimed to put dealers first as it delivers products that both improve dealership efficiency and drive a best-in-class customer experience. The confidence demonstrated by our investors in this Series A round further validates our vision of driving transformational change in auto retailing with our technology.”

Funds raised in the Series A issuance include newly invested capital and outstanding convertible notes, according to a statement.

Among the investors are strategic partner Reynolds and Reynolds, which develops software for the automotive industry, as well as nine new strategic dealer investors: Bowers Automotive Group, Flow Automotive, Ford Family Investments, MBB Auto Group, MileOne Autogroup, Mills Automotive Group, OREMOR Automotive Group, Qvale Auto Group and West Herr Auto Group.

“Our investment in Stella is a great launching pad to take AI in automotive retail to the next level,” Reynolds and Reynolds President Chris Walsh says in the statement.

With Reynolds and Reynolds as well as dealerships invested in the company, Stella Automotive AI will be able to receive feedback that can drive innovation, according to Presidio, which acted as the financial advisor to Stella in the Series A financing round.

“The industry’s strategic venture investors see huge potential in artificial intelligence to transform the aspects of vehicle sales and service that haven’t always worked seamlessly,” Presidio CEO Brodie Cobb says in the statement. “Stella’s innovative products and this successful financing round further cement the promise AI holds for the industry.”

 

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Elizabeth King

Elizabeth is a business news reporter with the Business Observer, covering primarily Sarasota-Bradenton, in addition to other parts of the region. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she previously covered hyperlocal news in Maryland for Patch for 12 years. Now she lives in Sarasota County.

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