emory-wire

Auto Dealers Strengthen Presence

Selly Automotive streamlines sales operations for auto dealerships.

By Michelle Valigursky
Topics in this article:

Auto dealerships compete for customers every day, vying for market share in a crowded space. Zach Klempf 12C, CEO and founder of Selly Automotive, gained firsthand knowledge of the auto sales and marketing process while an Emory student. “Dealership systems were antiquated,” he explains. Last year, Klempf developed proprietary CRM software that “speeds the process exponentially.”

The auto industry is taking notice of Selly Automotive’s innovative approach. Before they officially launched the full product last April at the Digital Dealer Conference in Tampa, 4000 salespeople had already downloaded their original mobile only product for iPhone. Industry buzz spread quickly to prestigious publications, and in just a few months, Klempf landed a six-figures in seed round capital to take Selly Automotive to the next level. The company is expanding operations and adding new team members. “It’s very exciting to grow a company from ideation to market. It’s been an exhilarating ride and we are just ramping up.”

Innovation Begins with Observation

As an 11th grader, Klempf skipped his senior year to attend Perimeter College. Fast-tracked for success, he soon enrolled at Emory University to study film and media management. While at Emory, Klempf also worked full time at a local car dealership. By observing day-to-day operations, he noticed “the salespeople had so much trouble using the legacy systems that operate dealerships,” he recalls. “The systems didn’t keep up with current needs. I knew they needed to be modernized.”

Klempf continued his industry research, gaining invaluable perspective as a broker with a dealership license for his own used car operation in the state of Georgia. To learn even more about the sales process, he purchased auctioned off-lease or off-rental cars and resold them, specializing in sports cars like Mustangs.

He worked as an independent dealer, gained SEO knowledge while working at Bright Edge, then created the business concept for Selly Automotive. Life changed when Klempf applied for and was accepted to Blue Startups, “a technology accelerator founded by Henk Rogers, founder of Blue Planet Software (sole agent of Tetris®).”

Klempf moved to Hawaii in October of 2014. There, he and founders of other scalable-technology companies received intensive mentoring and guidance from some of the world’s greatest innovators and financial professionals. “I brought my high school friend Joseph into Selly and he relocated to Hawaii (And then San Francisco after Blue) and left school at Georgia State,” Klempf explains. “Being in a startup accelerator program is a once and a lifetime opportunity. You are sitting side by side with other hard working entrepreneurs in an environment that fosters growth. It's great to bounce ideas of each other and be exposed to new perspectives regardless of whether your creating software for a similar industry.”

So how does Selly work?

“Selly makes the dealership sales operations systematic and ultimately more streamlined for the consumer,” he explains. “We offer a full dealership sales platform with customer relationship management (CRM), internet lead management (ILM), email marketing, task management, and inventory management capabilities.” Selly integrates with top dealer management system providers.

Selly’s value proposition is strong. “We offer our suite to dealerships at a fraction of the high priced competition,” Klempf explains.

As a young, successful entrepreneur, Klempf remains true to his desire to make sales operations at dealerships smoother and more fulfilling for everyone involved. He shares a bit of inspiration from Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com. “Tony said Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.’”