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Auto retail startup Tekion joins the unicorn club

Saransh Pandey

  • October 23, 2020
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    Tekion, a cloud tech company, has raised $150 million as part of its Series C financing led by private equity firm Advent International round at over $1 billion valuations.

A cloud-based automotive retail startup, Tekion Corp. which is founded by a former Tesla Inc. Executive, Chennai-born entrepreneur Jay Vijayan, has raised $150 million from backers led by private equity investor Advent International. The funding round has lifted the company valuation to over $1 billion. The company in its statement said that it has raised investment in Series C funding round from Index Ventures, Airbus Ventures, FM Capital, and Exor, the holding company of Fiat-Chrysler and Ferrari. The four-year-old startup’s cloud software connects manufacturers, dealers, and car buyers on a retail platform. The company already has backing from a number of global automakers, including General Motors Co., BMW AG, and the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance.  

Jay Vijayan started his journey by working as chief information officer (CIO) at American electric car company Tesla, Inc to the chief executive of his own tech start-up Tekion. Vijayan reported directly to Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk and was responsible for building all digital and information technology systems ground-up during his four-year stint there. Before Tesla, Vijayan built technology platforms and solutions to help businesses scale while working in tech companies like Oracle and VMware in the US. 

During his stay at Tesla, Vijayan noticed that the automotive ecosystem was fragmented and decided to build a company that would connect all the stakeholders of the auto retail industry. He launched Tekion in 2016, with an all Indian core member team, to offer an end-to-end dealer management system with its Automotive Retail Cloud (ARC) platform that provides seamless connectivity between vehicle manufacturers, dealers, and car buyers. 

Tekion presently doesn’t offer its services in India but has strong roots in the country. Its APAC headquarters is located in Bengaluru and it has a development center in Chennai, with much of its research and development work happens in the India offices. Vijayan’s core member team consists of over 450 engineers and innovators globally and it is the Indian engineers who are responsible for developing all the products, including a zero-contact digital sales and services module, which was launched during the pandemic as buyers were not keen on visiting dealerships because of covid-19. 

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