I am a woman, who is disrupting the industry that affects every single American.
At CarBuckets we want to make car buying experience fun by making it transparent. We group car buyers by the brand of cars they want to buy and ask dealerships for a volume price. It takes 2-3 minutes to sign up and less than 24 hours to receive the lowest price quoted by dealerships nationwide. The dealer delivers the car to the buyer’s door free of charge.
THE BIG IDEA:
False promises and fake prices are killing the value of the automotive industry. For the past 10 years I was running marketing and e-commerce for four dealerships, one of them being among the top ten stores in the country. When it comes to advertising online, fake prices are used to get people through the doors of dealerships. The difference between the advertised price and the actual price paid at the dealership is in thousands of dollars: dealer fees and processing fees are never disclosed online, manufacturer’s rebates advertised might not be available because they depend on a buyer’s credit score, etc. I founded CarBuckets out of frustration this system was causing to all the parties involved. CarBuckets has a legally binding contract with all participating dealerships. The contract requires them to write the price down to the penny with all the fees disclosed upfront. We are only working with the dealers, who are willing to give this experience to the car buyers.
ON GROWING UP IN MIAMI:
I went to Carrollton, an all-girls school at the age of 5 and left when I was 18. One great thing the school teaches, especially if you get in at an early age, is that women can do anything. You have a student body that’s all women, you have the president of the school, who during my time was a woman, you basically do everything yourself. When in the 5th grade we produced an opera, a team of girls built the set, another team of girls was working on the lights, we were acting, building and planning. We knew we could do everything we needed without the help of men.
ON GENDER DISPARITY:
In the 80s and 90s in Miami having a stay-at-home mother was a norm. There was a disconnect between our daily experiences at school and what we saw in our homes. Seeing that it was always a man in the power position, always praised, always served by a woman, there were a lot of girls like me, who didn’t think it was fair. Miami is a different place now.
For thirteen years of my life I didn’t have a day-to-day interaction with boys. The only time I was around men of my age was socially, when I had to dress up and hopefully get a date.
When I arrived at Babson for my Undergraduate degree the situation was different. At that time the ratio of men to women was 70% to 30%. I was very much raising my hand in class, not afraid to speak, and I think that was the product of Carrollton They build you up with the notion that girls can take over the world. But I see how such male-dominated environment can be intimidating for women and I hope now it’s more even and things like WINLab are helping to get the Babson message out there.
ON BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR:
The reason I chose Babson college is due to their focus on entrepreneurship. Since my childhood I wanted to have control over my life and to be in charge of the difference I wanted to make in the world I had to be an entrepreneur. This is what I loved about Babson and this is why it has such an appeal internationally. It appeals to ambitious, early in life, it’s just a perfect match. I don’t think I would be where I am today without that Babson experience.
The hardest thing about being an entrepreneur is going from an idea to business. For me an added challenge was coming from a family where women don’t work, it’s the men who run the business while women stay at home. I’m the first woman in the family, who has gone to work for the family business. Participate and work in strategy. In the automotive industry there are almost no women. Every power position is occupied by a man. From manufactures all the way up.
It was also hard for me to come back to Miami after being in Babson, spending time in New York, feeling gender roles again. I wasn’t feeling in New York.
Once you can overcome all the obstacles you have in your head. Once you feel confident enough with yourself, you just need to believe in yourself.
Raising money for a company isn’t easy. It’s not that it’s that complicated: everyone can sell their business and talk about the evaluations, but the tricky part is when the doors get closed and people pass and the difficulty is staying optimistic, enthusiastic, keep calling and knocking on doors. That part is very hard to keep moral. Get up fast after you fall.
Those two traits of being an entrepreneur: you are confident of yourself and you can quickly get back up after you fall. Any woman or any man has to have those two solid traits to be an entrepreneur.
ON WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT:
Every investor I’ve spoken to has been a man, except for two women. The first female investor reached out to me, I didn’t even ask her for a meeting. To this day it is the worst meeting I’ve ever had. After my presentation the woman got personal and proceeded to annihilate me saying my company wasn’t good, it wasn’t growing, I was crazy to think I could raise money. I learned to deal with rejection, many male investors passed but it was always about the business. If I didn’t have the character I have and without my supportive team, I would have given up the day I met with that woman. It made me so sad, because we cannot move forward if women aren’t supporting women.
The second woman was very professional but visibly disengaged during our meeting. I don’t know what it was, but all the men in San Francisco, New York and Miami always seemed more engaged during our meetings. I refuse to attribute that disengagement to the fact that the automotive industry is dominated by men and want to believe that female investors can easily learn about cars.
There are also these female-only funds, who only invest in women. There are hundreds of them advertising how much they want to help women. I did my research and I reached out to all such funds I could find. Not a single one had a courtesy to reply to me or at least acknowledge my emails. Other funds tend to respond to all the inquiries.
Women for women funds advertise how much they want to help women, and here I am a woman, who is disrupting the industry that affects every single American Everybody owns a car, rids a car, in this country you cannot move with just public transportation. The prices that are advertised for cars are fake, there are many hidden fees and the lack of transparency that frustrates everyone. Car Buckets is trying to fix that.
We are raising 5mln in the seed round