Stella Automotive AI Raises Nearly $20M in Latest Financing Round

By James Hickey, Managing Editor, RFIDJournal.com

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  • The funding will go to supporting ongoing product development and drive growth in the market, according to company officials.
  • Editor’s Note: This story was first published on DigitalDealer.com

Stella Automotive AI raised $19.7 million in a Series A financing round that just closed, according to a May 1 statement.

The Tampa-based technology provides artificial intelligence for car dealers, in what company officials say is providing the equivalent of an “Alexa” or “Siri” so that people calling into car dealerships can get questions answered or schedule appointments.

Dealers across the country use Stella Automotive AI to help handle large call volumes and free up their staff to help customers in person rather than answer the phones. The program is trained on a wide range of automotive retail topics and can answer frequently asked questions and schedule service and sales appointments.

Funding Priorities

According to company officials, the funds will be used to support ongoing product development and drive growth in the market.

“The excitement the market is showing for Stella’s AI technology is thrilling,” Stella’s CEO Rich Sands said in a press statement. “Since our founding, Stella’s has aimed to put dealers first as it delivers products that both improve dealership efficiency and drive a best-in-class customer experience.

Funds raised in the Series A issuance include newly invested capital and outstanding convertible notes, according to a statement.

“The confidence demonstrated by our investors in this Series A round further validates our vision of driving transformational change in auto retailing with our technology,” said Sands.

Nine New Investors

Among the investors are strategic partner Reynolds and Reynolds, which develops software for the automotive industry, as well as nine new strategic dealer investors: Bowers Automotive Group, Flow Automotive, Ford Family Investments, MBB Auto Group, MileOne Autogroup, Mills Automotive Group, OREMOR Automotive Group, Qvale Auto Group and West Herr Auto Group.

“Our investment in Stella is a great launching pad to take AI in automotive retail to the next level,” said Reynolds and Reynolds President Chris Walsh.

With Reynolds and Reynolds as well as dealerships invested in the company, Stella Automotive AI will be able to receive feedback that can drive innovation, according to Presidio Group officials, which acted as the financial advisor to Stella in the Series A financing round.

“Having dealers on board as early investors and users of STELLA’s technology creates a symbiotic relationship that benefits both parties,” said Presidio managing director Keith Style. “Strategic investors who have deployed these solutions provide real-time feedback, enabling STELLA to quickly enhance its current product offerings and develop a robust roadmap of future products that dealers want to deploy in their stores.”

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