August 11, 2020
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SoftBank-backed Fair appoints new CEO: Bradley Stewart, ex-CEO of XOJet – TechCrunch

SoftBank-backed Fair appoints new CEO: Bradley Stewart, ex-CEO of XOJet – TechCrunch

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Another chapter opens for Fair.comthe launch of a car subscription supported by hundreds of millions of dollars from SoftBank and others: today the company announced that Bradley Stewart, who was CEO of XOJet aviation startup from 2013 to 2018 (when it was acquired by Vista Global), is joining the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. At the same time, Stewart confirmed in an interview that Fair is working to raise another round of financing – the size of which is not yet known, but includes both equity and debt – to move forward in its business now focused directly on car subscriptions for consumers.

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“As we expand and scale, more capital will be needed to expand the market and attract customers, so that we can buy more cars. This process is in full swing, ”said Stuart, adding that, despite everything that happens on the market, there is still funding. “I was shocked at how things are going now,” said Stuart.

Stuart’s appointment came after a dramatic six months for the Fair, which was once valued at $ 1.2 billion and has already raised hundreds of millions of debt and capital for a business based on the concept of using cars by subscription, longer than a typical rental and shorter and with more flexible terms than your average rental.

Designed for both consumers and those like uber drivers – Using cars to work, Fair’s initial idea was ambitious, but ultimately fell in the direction of tightening management from its lead investor, suffering from the collapse of WeWork and Uber.

The fall of the fair included a large round of layoffs and the dismissal of its chief financial officer; the sudden departure of its co-founder, startup entrepreneur Scott Painter, as CEO (he remains the chairman); and turnaround on what was announced as a profitable car leasing business for Uber driversStewart replaces Adam Heber, CFA from SoftBank, who was interim CEO after Painter resigned. Heber will once again become SoftBank’s operational partner and will remain on the Fair’s board of directors.

Fair’s problems were not only caused by the tightening of SoftBank’s policy: they also highlight the more serious problems that car startups face in balancing user demand, cash outlay and heavy asset loading in the form of car inventory.

But even in this case, these requirements do not always end with turns and restructuring. Only today it became known that a startup specializing in car sales, Vroom, has confidentially filed for IPO temporarily (optimistic?) scheduled for June.

This is one of the reasons investors and Fair continue to mess with their own model to get the business to the right level. Obviously, there is an opportunity, and at a time when people need more financial flexibility in their lives and moved away from sharing transport and public transport – as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic – this opportunity can come in the form of changing property habits for cars and more popular car type Fair.

As for what Stuart has in stock, he is from the world of direct investments – he is a former TPG – and sees the opportunity Fair both through this lens and for his previous role in an aviation startup.

“Fair winds are long lasting and long lasting,” he said of the fair and the automobile market. “You can see the transition from ownership to leasing and a push in the consumer market to being more sophisticated in terms of depreciation and value orientation.” He also noted that fragmentation in the current automotive market would give a company like Fair greater economies of scale through a more national approach.

Stuart is just getting started – the announcement was made to the company only this morning – so there is still not much information about how he plans to manage the company in the coming months, in particular at a time when consumer spending has declined. great success, and many automakers feel a pinch.

But he said that so far he feels that the biggest “gaps” of the Fair were in the area of ​​stimulating and improving the company’s offer to enter the market. “It will be a lot of attention for me,” he said, “making sure thatIf the step is right, and we meet the needs of our customers. You must learn, and data must be considered critically. ”

Stewart added that he would like Painter to be involved “as close as he wants to work with me” in a recently launched startup. The artist was not available for an interview, but in a statement approved his replacement.

“Fair turns a car from an asset that it owns, which over time loses a significant part of its value, into a service that can be turned on or off, like countless subscribers accessed through their phones,” he said. “Brad’s passion for Fair’s unique offering is obvious and exciting, and his experience with an innovative mobility model that removes unwanted elements of ownership makes him the perfect choice to lead Fair into the future.”

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