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Meet Alex Johnson of Swap Motors in Near West Side

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Johnson.

Alex, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Swap Motors was conceived through my own experience of selling my personal car. I was frustrated with low-ball offers and the entire process. From the first dealer to the fifth dealer, the price difference was thousands of dollars – with no rationale or explanation for the difference. I explored selling privately, but became stressed with scheduling appointments with strangers and dealing with no-shows. I quickly realized the current way to sell a used car is broken.

I began researching the current gaps, which led to developing my idea into a comprehensive platform for buying and selling cars. I teamed up with my childhood friend, Sanjay Patel, who left his senior position at IBM to join me on this journey. Together, with help from our team, we built Swap Motors.

Our official launch took place in January 2017, with the introduction of our service that helps people sell their cars from the comfort of home while getting maximum value from their sale. We conduct at-home inspections, take photos and videos of the car, and list the vehicles for auction to dealers. Once the car is sold at the auction, we pick it up from a customer’s home, hand them a check and take care of the paperwork. It’s that easy and convenient, and you don’t have to leave your house to sell a car. We get it all done. We have served hundreds of customers who successfully utilized our platform and service to sell their cars – with ease and for more money. Our recognition as one of the “Best Consumer Web Startup” by Built in Chicago and in the B2C category by Chicago Inno, gave us an immense boost to further accelerate our growth.

Currently, we are expanding our platform by creating a marketplace that allows private buyers and sellers to transact in a trusted community. Our marketplace is launching in December 2017. With our new marketplace, sellers decide how they want to sell their car, and buyers can purchase cars directly through our platform.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I wouldn’t call them struggles – but we faced some challenges and early growing pains, which were quickly addressed. Initially, our live dealer auction ran for 3 days. We realized that some of our customers needed a faster solution. So we brought the auction down to 1 day, which reduced the wait-time for customers.

We also had a few customers expressing concerns over and valuation of their vehicles and wanting more control over the pricing of their vehicles. The launch of our new marketplace addresses these concerns.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Swap Motors – what should we know?
We are a Chicago-based technology startup helping you buy or sell a car from the comfort of your home, within a trusted community of cars and people. Most people are frustrated with the traditional car buying and selling model. People have an emotional connection with their cars, not only is it a major investment – there’s also a personal bond between car owners and their cars. We’re respectful of this relationship, and want to give customers more control and transparency in the car buying and selling process. Our main goal is to satisfy our customers – this is evident from all of the great reviews we have received. We’re in the people business, and we put people first.

How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?
Success to me is inspiring change that provides new value to where it most matters…people. Every positive sentiment validates the inspiration we pursue, and everything else encourages us to do something different or better.

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