George and I first met in 2014 when Shift was less than a year old and only operating in San Francisco. What struck me about George was his ambitious vision to disrupt the used car market by providing a fundamentally better experience. It’s quite amazing that the vision for Shift has remained largely intact, even as the company has grown and evolved significantly over the last six years. The idea of improving the used car buying experience with technology really resonated with me, having experienced the challenges of buying and selling my own cars through the years. It is a highly considered transaction where little to no trust exists between counter-parties. Shift aimed to change that experience through (1) transparent, no haggle pricing (2) convenience enabled by technology and (3) fully digital financing and payments.
Shift was one of the first platforms to introduce transparent pricing. This was one of the many features that made the Shift experience so great. The Company’s ethos of making the car buying experience delightful is a key reason it has earned an NPS of 70, exceeding that of Apple and Amazon. Another key innovation that Shift introduced was delivering cars to buyers for test drives. This continues to be a key differentiator for Shift today. Since launching, Shift has completed tens of thousands of transactions (with many happy customers including me!), launched nationwide delivery, and built out a best-in-class technology enabled buyer experience. Shift’s focus on affordable, mass market cars became more important than ever during Covid-19 as people shifted from ride-share and driving personal cars — 80% of Shift’s listings are for cars below $20,000.
As the pandemic was initially taking hold in the US, Shift also introduced contactless delivery. As an SF resident, I had been carless for more than a year (mostly relying on ride share), when I decided to purchase a car through Shift in June. I found this lovely used 2017 BMW on Shift and purchased the car online. It was shipped from Southern California and delivered to my home within a few days. The entire process was online and seamless, and I paid less than 50% of the MSRP of a new model of my car without ever having to step into a dealership.
Today is a special day. Shift (Nasdaq: SFT) will start the next step of the journey and become a public company. The largest online used car platforms today represent less than 1% of the annual transaction volume for used car sales. There is much room to expand. DCM has been an investor in every financing round since the Series A. My partner Jason joined Shift’s board after increasing our ownership in the Series C, and continues to sit on the board today. I am also proud of George, now a good friend, for being one of the first openly gay founders of a publicly traded technology company. On behalf of the DCM team: Congratulations to George, Toby and the rest of the Shift team on this important milestone. Jason and I are grateful to be part of this journey and look forward to all the exciting things Shift has in store as a public company.
Kyle Lui, Partner @ DCM