Nathan Hecht on Building an Amazing Transaction Experience

May 23, 2023
Nathan Hecht is the Founder and CEO of Rodo.
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Key Takeaways:

  • Nathan Hecht founded RODO after experiencing a lengthy and frustrating car-buying process at a dealership in New York.
  • RODO aims to revolutionize the automotive retail industry by providing a seamless online platform for buying and leasing cars.
  • The consumer experience of purchasing or leasing a car online through RODO is convenient, easy, and efficient.
  • RODO operates as a managed marketplace, ensuring that participating dealers meet specific criteria and deliver a high-quality customer experience.
  • The technology behind RODO enables customers to search for cars, view prices and payments, upload required documents, and complete transactions with just a few swipes on their phones.
  • RODO has gained popularity among urban consumers who value the time and convenience it offers.
  • Dealerships that embrace RODO and adapt their processes to digital transactions have seen significant volume and success through the platform.
  • Nathan Hecht's background in technology has allowed him to bridge the gap between the automotive and tech industries and create a user-friendly platform for car buyers.

Paul Daly: 0:00Today we're here with Nathan Hecht, founder and CEO of RODO.

Unknown: 0:04

This is Amplify, a retail automotive podcast brought to you by Reuters events and ASOTU. It's time to make the most innovative voices in retail automotive. Louder.

Paul Daly: 0:20

Nathan, so good to be here with you today. Thanks for joining us, Samuel.

Nathan Hecht: 0:23

Thanks for having me.

Paul Daly: 0:25

That is fade that out a little bit. too quick.Sometimes I just got a little lucky moment.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:33

All right. So Nathan, with Rodo, which is one of the like, there's fun names of companies in auto. And I think Rodo is one of the most fun

Paul Daly: 0:42

logos fun logos via the Internet of it is good.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:45

What led you to get started with rodo? Because I love a little founder story. And where did you see the problem in the world that you wanted

Nathan Hecht: 0:54

to solve? Before I get into that, and I just need literally two seconds here. If you think rodo is a cool name,the previous name of this company was ho nker. I'd say it's an improvement. Yeah, we'll go with because

Paul Daly: 1:08

if you're in Boston,that just sounds even funnier.Hunka

Nathan Hecht: 1:13

Okay, sounds good change. Good. Che Thank you. So that out of the way. I was in the market for a car in New York. And I walked into a dealership for the first time in my life. You're talking about the city? I'm talking about city, actually Long Island.Okay. not that cool. Okay, okay.And I went into a dealership for the first time in my life based on an ad that I saw for a car and I was like, I want this car at this price. And the guy was like, well come inside and have a seat. I had about six hours.already. I was I was like,slumped on the couch. How do I even get out of here? Sideways?Like, I haven't eaten one shoe to take a shoe to the desk. I was a cartoon. Okay. And I was like, This can't be real. This everybody in America do this.And while I was sitting there, I was on my phone, Googling, lease a car online, buy a car online?How do you do this online? How do you, et cetera. And that's how Rodo was born. I said, we have to take this brick and mortar transaction and turn it into something online.

Kyle Mountsier: 2:25

All right, so you've turned it on Ryan, you've had? How, like, what, seven,eight years? How long? Have you been?

Nathan Hecht: 2:32

Almost seven years? Yes. Almost seven years?

Kyle Mountsier: 2:34

That's pretty good. I've been paying attention. At the sharp mine. So almost seven. Yeah. So you've been in the market. Now this long been working through digital transactions you were present during COVID probably saw some some lift there. What have you seen the consumer interaction change when they get into the ecosystem of the lease by purchase online,

Nathan Hecht: 2:59

I think once the consumer experiences the transaction online visa vie offline, they're born again,they can't get away from it. The types of reviews and feedback that we get from consumers who have done this, both ways is exceptional. It's almost like I'll never forget the first time I used Uber, I was flying back from overseas, landed at JFK,five o'clock in the morning.Typically you come out, you're waiting online for a Yellow Taxi, he doesn't really want to go to your neighborhood, the cars falling apart. And instead,my wife was sitting next to me and she was like, you want to download this app and like a black car appears or something like that. And I was like

Paul Daly: 3:37

old school oh, gee,when they had all the drivers,and it was exactly, exactly. And I

Nathan Hecht: 3:41

was and the first time I experienced it was like,Oh, my God, this is amazing. I will never step out of an airport the same way again,that's the kind of reaction we get from consumers who buy or lease online now. Wow, wow,

Paul Daly: 3:55

I'm just sure.There's an element of when, even if it can't be fast, it can be easy. And who said that to if somebody said that to us today.And the fact that even if you were in the dealership, and even if the buying a car still took you a number of hours, it could still be easy. And it's almost like when you when you just talked about that Uber example.And you're talking about the reaction to your product, it's probably more reaction to the fact that it's easy and less about it being fast.

Nathan Hecht: 4:21

Absolutely. I think convenience and easy are the two things that

Paul Daly: 4:26

because easy is a feeling, right? It's not benchmarked on time, if I leave and it may be it took me long,but I felt like it was easy.It's only that feeling of ease that matter.

Kyle Mountsier: 4:38

Now, you know,one of the conversations that we're having here at this event is like mapping the gaps between kind of the four parties involved, which is like the industry partner, the OEM, the dealer and the customer. How are you looking to solve the problems of the gaps between each of those because like you No, there can be dealers that are like, buying online as dumb,right? Maybe there's customers that are like, I still want to go to the showroom, there's OEMs that are like, well, we need our brand to be safe and make sure that everything works. And then you got other industry partners that are like, no, no, but my tech over here, how are you working to solve the gaps or some of the gaps in there. But

Nathan Hecht: 5:18

first of all, it is very, very hard, as you just mentioned, and you have all types of personalities, when you deal with the corporate types coming out of the OEMs, you deal with those sort of rough and tumble guys at the dealerships.And then consumers, you know,who have certain expectations as well. So it's hard to connect the dots. I think the first thing is technology. Right? When technology is seamless, when technology is intuitive. When technology is fast to your earlier point, and easy, it sort of does a lot of the heavy lifting on your own, if it's make believe, you know, a lot of the digital retailing or other types of web site, you know,enhancements of the last few years, is really just patches for what's been around for a very long time. You know, it's the website, not knocking them just slightly better, you know, maybe shows a price, maybe, you know, brings a few rebates and incentives to the surface, but it's not amazing. So we're trying to be amazing. And most of that is done with technology. And then

Paul Daly: 6:20

what are the elements of amazing what like, you know what I mean? layman's terms,like what parts make up an amazing transaction,

Nathan Hecht: 6:29

I'll speak specifically to rodo, if you can lease a car on three or four swipes on your phone. That's amazing. That's unbelievable.That is unbelievable. I literally search Honda Accord,see the cars that are available near me price and payments right in front of me click Place Order, upload my my credit information, my driver's license, and I'm 90% done. The other 10% is the dealer completing the transaction delivering the car to your door,you know, there is no come into the store. There's usually no phone call, there is no upsell,there's just none of that it's just an extremely slick, fast,easy transaction that's guided by technology

Kyle Mountsier: 7:11

are like with what you do because obviously rodo as a platform as a place where consumers go to actually engage. Are you mapping that to like something that dealers or consumers can use with a direct interaction with dealers at this point? Or is is everything kind of like in that third party marketplace environment?

Nathan Hecht: 7:30

So it's in in tech, it's commonly referred to as a managed marketplace, right?So there are marketplaces that are non managed or managed marketplaces, meaning that there needs to be some hand holding along the way. So in our instance, we are actually watching the transaction sort of out of an operations room, every transaction that's happening as it's happening, making sure that dealers are moving the transaction along and they abide by very specific criteria. Like if you're not a dealer that's geared up for doing an E commerce transaction. don't operate on roadshow.

Kyle Mountsier: 8:01

Wow. Yeah.Period. I love that. You're like, No, we're not for everyone. Exactly. Right. You got to have people processes.You got to understand discipline, discipline, consumer interaction. Exactly. Debit

Nathan Hecht: 8:14

I mean, think about your food delivery button. Yeah.companies, right? If you're constantly trying to get food from this Chinese restaurant that just doesn't deliver on time. And it's always coming cold. Like, just get off the platform. Yeah. kick them off the platform and kick them off the platform. Yeah, bro. This is not for you. Right, you awesome restaurant, but you need you need to do things your way. Our consumers have certain expectations. And we have dealers that are Die Hard on Rhoda. They've been doing this for years. They're 10 15 In some instances, 20% of their monthly volume. Whoa, yeah. Is going through the platform without mentioning specific groups.They've dedicated staff dedicated process ownership owner, principals, management love it. And he lived by

Paul Daly: 8:55

it. Is there. Is there a market type that leans best towards the product?

Nathan Hecht: 8:59

No, there's a dealer type.

Paul Daly: 9:01

Ah, yeah, I was wondering, I was like, is this like more of an urban thing? Is it more of a suburban thing?

Nathan Hecht: 9:07

urban consumers love it. You know, who wants to sit in traffic on the weekends and then spend your weekends at the dealership? Yeah, right. And we're all consumers love because he wants to drive 80 miles to go to the Ford store and then 20miles to go to the Toyota store and so on everything in one place, price payment transaction and do it from your living room have the car delivered? It's pretty compelling for me.

Kyle Mountsier: 9:24

Yeah. I love it.That's, I'm telling you what that type of technology is. It's a big gap in it. Like you said,you said like web enhancement tools like the new digital retailing. And you so it's clear to me that you didn't come from an automotive background. Yeah.So what's your background? A little bit tech?

Nathan Hecht: 9:45

Yeah, my whole life. Yeah,

Paul Daly: 9:47

variety devolves all different types of six hours in the dealership change. You know,your lives forever.

Kyle Mountsier: 9:53

There's kind of this question. happening a lot in auto right now. It's like,Hey, do we need people that no the car business to build the tech. And like you need to learn the car business at minimum or understand the transaction nature and understand all the dependencies. But like as you go, but you've been able to do that with partnering and as you go and learning the tech, but I think that there, there's always kind of been from the dealer side like no has to be people within auto that get it and the reality is, is like, no all these other business verticals.Just it's just tech. Tech is tech, right, whether it's EECOM,or Realty or automotive. And what you're proving right now is like, hey, we can come from any side and support the industry with technology. And and whether it be like you were in a dealership or whether or you haven't been that consumers can be served well. And user can be served well by technology. Yeah,

Nathan Hecht: 10:54

I would agree. I think if you went to the likes of Tesla, which is you know,completely, you know, online to purchase, etc. I would challenge you that if you asked any of the folks that work there. Did you come at it auto? Right? You work for auto nation? Who now? Yeah,and they're doing a supreme job in giving consumers an amazing experience. Yeah.

Kyle Mountsier: 11:16

That's what we need to do. Give consumers an amazing experience. Hey, well,Nathan, thank thank you so much for joining us today. Really cool insights congrats on the platform and founding something great.

Nathan Hecht: 11:26

Thank you, man.Thanks for having me.

Unknown: 11:27

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