Ex-Rocket Lab Engineer Raises $21 Million for Partily to Help Buy Auto Parts

Auto parts buyers require specific parts to fit specific vehicles, creating an environment of limited supply. Based in New Zealand Partially wants to alleviate these constraints by connecting parts buyers around the world with the right parts.

The two-year-old startup is not an auto parts market. On the contrary, Partly powers marketplaces like eBay and Shopify with its database of over 50 million parts from over 20,000 suppliers and OEMs.

“The way the technology basically works is that we work with vendors to ingest, structure and normalize all the data,” co-founder and CEO Levi Fawcett told TechCrunch.

Then the company manages that data and sends it back to major platforms that buyers already use to find auto parts.

The startup closed a $21 million Series A on Monday to continue growing in Europe, where the majority of its customer base is – aside from marketplaces like eBay, Partily also works with the United Nations and a few anonymous Fortune 500 companies The startup also aims to use the funds to scale more aggressively in the United States, where it is actively hiring and building an office. More importantly, the funds will help Partily double its team of engineers to work on the core problem of aggregating all the correct parts of a vehicle based on one license plate alone.

“It sounds simple, but it’s a ridiculously difficult problem,” said Fawcett, who noted that Partly’s 50-person team is expected to top 100 employees by the end of next year.

A secondary goal for Partly, in addition to growing its business, is to represent New Zealand on the world stage. With a top-tier customer base and no direct competitors, the startup aims to become the largest New Zealand-based tech company within five years. To do that, it will have to contend with Xero, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of around $7.4 billion, according to data from Google Finance.

Fawcett, who previously managed and developed hardware simulations at Rocket Lab, said the ability to connect part buyers with the right parts is “monstrous”. In the United States alone, consumers spent close to $95.4 billion on Automotive Parts & Accessories in 2021. The Automotive Parts & Accessories Market is expected to reach a global market size of $2.5 trillion by 2024.

“About 98% of parts ordered today are done over the phone by a parts interpreter, and it’s their job to take the phone call, figure out what they’re looking for, find it in the system, determine which vehicle it is from, decide if there are any differences or if it was modified when it came from another country, then provide the buyer with the correct part,” Fawcett said. is this whole process that we’re reversing instead you put your license plate on and then choose the part you want it’s basically taking a super archaic process and radically changing it by removing the human .

The problem has not been solved on a large scale before, as it requires working with automakers, aftermarket manufacturers and retailers, and creating a common language so that all information between manufacturers is consistent. This not only makes it easier for buyers, but also for sellers who want to better understand their customers.

“In the case of the United Nations, we feed the World Food Program, which is one of the largest fleets in the world,” Fawcett said. “They have this massive network where their garages need to buy parts, they need to centralize data to understand things like volume discounts, correct parts for all vehicles, etc. We feed into that system to connect buyers and sellers, but we’re doing it B2B.

Partly thinks following a B2B model will be the secret sauce it needs to scale, and the startup has clearly convinced investors of its growth potential.

Rob Coneybeer, managing director and co-founder of Shasta Ventures, one of the participating investors in the round, told TechCrunch that the VC is attracted to “huge markets with compelling founders solving important consumer issues. “.

“One of the biggest opportunities in the world is the $500 billion broken auto parts market,” Coneybeer said. “Levi and his team have developed a solution that makes it much easier and faster to find the right part, resulting in higher market conversion, lower returns and much happier customers. Their solution is based on years of hard engineering work that allows them to quickly grow from $150 million in annual orders today to billions.

Partly’s Series A was led by Octopus Ventures. Besides Shasta, participating investors include Square Peg, Blackbird, Ten13, Square co-founder Randy Redigg, Hillfarrance and I2BF. Existing investors such as Figma CEO Dylan Field, Notion co-founder Akshay Kothari and Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck also participated.

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