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Motozuma: Smart Car Buying for Gen Y

MotoZuma

Buying a car can be a stressful experience for anyone, but for first-time car buyers, that stress is amplified. Young, first-time buyers may be wondering how to get a good deal or how to save up for that big purchase.

Chicago-based Motozuma is on a mission to make car buying more attainable and less stressful for Gen Y buyers.  The interactive, customizable platform allows users to receive monetary gifts from family and friends, as well as save their own money, towards the down payment of a vehicle.

Below, Motozuma founder and CEO John Morgan shares his passion for starting a company that can help young people with such an important first step into adulthood.

Tech Cocktail:  Who does Motozuma target?

Morgan:  Motozuma targets a younger 1st time car buyer.  There are approximately 35 Million Gen Y drivers who will buy a new or used car in the next two years.  We want to help them save for that purchase and bring them offers to make their savings go further.

Tech Cocktail:  What was the inspiration behind Motozuma? What do you enjoy most about working on it?

Morgan:  We wanted to be a helping hand and a positive relationship in the automotive shopping/buying process, which is not traditionally a pleasant experience for most people.  We love helping people, and we love the positive testimonials and pictures we receive from Motozuma savers after they’ve bought a car!

Tech Cocktail:  Who is your greatest competitor, and how do you differentiate yourself?

Morgan:  There is no direct competitor that is helping people save for a car purchase and providing them matching offers on their savings.  From our standpoint, we try to stand out by providing outstanding customer support and keeping our customizable social savings experience completely free for our users.

Tech Cocktail:  What is the biggest advantage and disadvantage of starting up in Chicago?

Morgan:  Chicago is a great city, and the startup community is really starting to take off, so that is an advantage.  The biggest disadvantage is that access to capital isn’t as strong as it is on the coasts, although I think that will change as the startup community continues to grow and be successful here in Chicago.

Tech Cocktail:  Describe a challenging moment or a crucial decision for your startup. How did you deal with it, and what did you learn from it?

Morgan:  We recently made the decision to push heavily into the used car market with a matching offer program.  We had started in the new car market with our national partnership with Hyundai and were focused on bringing additional new car manufacturers on like Hyundai.  However, the length of their sales cycle caused us to re-evaluate whether it was best to wait on used cars or push forward now.  As we studied our short and long term growth and discussed the decision with our Board of Advisors, we decided now was the time to aggressively go after the used car market.

The decision has been very energizing for myself and the team.  We are really controlling our own destiny with the used car program as we don’t have to wait on a manufacturer decision.  We can work hard, move fast and make it happen, which is exciting and exactly what we are doing.

Tech Cocktail:  What’s one quirky fact about you, your team, or your office culture?

Morgan:  The quirkiest fact about me is that the first thing I do when I come into the office every morning is take off my socks and shoes.  I just enjoy walking around the office barefoot and it’s one of the perks of running your own business!

Motozuma was a featured startup at Tech Cocktail’s Chicago Mixer & Startup Showcase.

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About the Author

Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup. She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, "Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership," which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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