3:43 an exchange. Not buying or selling. Providing a marketplace and promoting it so that a buyer knows where to look and a seller knows where to show up. 5:58 he's got all of these folks over in Italy who find really rare and interesting...
Jeff Sterns 0:00
automobile Yeah, is really popular. And there is a fair number of books and manuals and different items on there. I mean, if I had unlimited space and unlimited budget less kids, yeah, I want to tell my kids, you know how many pedal cars I could have if you weren't here, okay? There's not big guys who do this. It's a bunch of one person shops and family businesses spread throughout the entire world. You can order people to make you a leather upholstery for your vintage car. And you can do it right through our site. We've got some Project CARS on there, and that's becoming a more popular category. We have, I think something that really makes us special in different is we offer new parts, new old stock parts, rebuilt parts. And the thing that I'm actually most excited about is we offer services right alongside the parts over in Europe, those folks if you're a seller, getting into the US market is a pain Australia and New Zealand and South Africa, currency conversion and being able to put in shipping information that's in international format.
Unknown Speaker 1:22
Jeff Sterns connected through cars, if they're bigwigs, we'll have him on the show. And yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else. Here he is now, Jeff Sterns,
Jeff Sterns 1:39
Jeff Sterns connected through cars with my new friend, Chris bright, and I want to say it right collector, part exchange, Chris, why don't we go ahead and begin with why were collector part exchange and not parts exchange? You told me a little earlier, but I think it's worth hearing Yeah, well, we were going to just be collector parts exchange sounds like the right thing to, you know, it sounds pretty natural. It's what you what people tend to say that we were working on developing the branding and capturing the URLs. And when we were buying the URL, we bought collector parts exchange. And that's what we had loaded, started aiming our site at. And then in in a flash, I noticed that when you have the s in front of the word exchange, it becomes sex change. And unfortunately, once you see it, you can never unsee it. So we just decided, let's stick with singular, it sounds a little awkward and unnatural, but at least it will never go into a whole other side business that we don't intend to have. I think that was the right move. So the first thing I notice when I look is Ferrari 250. M M motor for $380,000. So is it realistic? That you can sell a near $400,000 engine? through your exchange? Of course, I hope so. We haven't yet done it. But I don't see why not. We've actually had quite a few people inquire about that. There's that Lamborghini that you're seeing down in the lower left rolling chassis? Yep. Yeah. We've gotten that vendor has gotten numerous inquiries based on just our promotion alone, because they don't promote it any other way. So you know, maybe he sells it as a side hustle. But I hope not everybody that we deal with is pretty, pretty cool with with that we only have a 5% Commission. So it's not not too terrible. Got it. Okay, now. So you're an exchange. So this is not you buying or selling any of these parts or pieces or components. This is you providing a marketplace and promoting it so that a buyer knows where to look and a seller knows where to show up. That's exactly right, Jeff, we are really just trying to create the inspiration for the business was the good old swap meet. So if you're a car person, you've probably been out to a swap meet once or twice, whether it's your local coal Car Club, or, you know, some annual regional event or something like that. And it's always been a frustration I have a number of cars and finding parts is really inefficient. You can't usually get into a Google search bar and find what you're wanting very easily so. But meanwhile, you can buy and sell cars freely online, there are numerous sites that will help you do that, and dealers and so on. But the part side is really not that way. So the inspiration was a swap meet, where we have this grand global swap meet on the internet where anybody who has parts can offer them for sale and anybody who's looking can find them. And that's the whole inspiration for what we're trying to do. But it grew beyond that. Because as you can see I've never been to a swap meet with a $380,000 Ferrari in genetics so it's in I'm intrigued also like this Daytona like I was thinking wow if this thing had a venue would really be worth money and so if somebody needs to restore and have a legitimate Daytona they've they've got a chassis with a Vin here and it's yeah we've
got my friend Matt who owns the store re originals is he's my new friend I only met him through collector part exchange but we've gotten this talk quite a bit now. And he goes and scours he's got a bunch of kind of pickers who live over in Italy that he's friends with because he used to live in Italy and they'll they'll say hey I just found this this old uncle died and we went into his garage we found this whole you know parts and bits of a car and he used to and then I find out he used to work over in the lunch factory when he was a kid and you know so on and so forth. So he's got all of these folks over in Italy who find really rare and interesting parts that you know you wouldn't even imagine still existed so he's been such a great supporter because you know he's he's somebody who sells professionally he's that's his entire business but owning and operating a website for someone who's a part seller is kind of a hassle because mostly their car guys right and they aren't tech guys or they don't want to be SEO guys and they don't want to be ecommerce guys they just want to have a website where they can go put the parts up and have people find them pretty easily so we've we really serve both the the sellers who need a better internet presence because that's where all of the buyers are starting to go and for buyers you know whenever we want to do anything in our lives nowadays we basically started in a Google search bar you know whether it's an exercise program or a chicken recipe you go into Google and any in you search for for whatever you're seeking or curiosity you're fulfilling so with collective part exchange cx we were designing the whole site to be very search engine friendly so if you're looking for something specific and you type it into Google search bar the part that's on our site will present you know in the in the first results This seems like a terrific social aspect Are you already working on that? Yeah, we're we're getting add on community elements what I would like to do is basically become the de facto place where anybody who's restoring or repairing cars goes for information but also advice so you know and that's something where I think the challenge when you're buying parts for a car is there not we're all used to the Amazon ecommerce experience where you find something you hit one click Instant Buy and it shows up in 24 hours and the buying parts for click the car is absolutely not that model that would be a recipe for disaster because what you're going to do is end up thinking you're ordering the right part and you're going to order the wrong part and then it's you're going to get frustrated and have to return it and all of that so that doesn't work for anybody so what we really try and do that makes CPS different is allow people to communicate directly with the buyer and seller before during and after the purchase because you know as well as I if you have a an older car sometimes mid run in a European car they'll change an entire item or system on it and unless you're you speak the dark arts of that particular art that particular model you'll never know that that happened so you know you need to have that expertise on the other end and that's really something that is important to it so the social aspect is with the sellers who have a lot of knowledge but also all of the people out in the community that could weigh in and you know guide you along your path but a big inspiration for CPS was really bring a trailer well bring a trailer I was thinking of that and obviously for some of the items here they're heavy enough to auction there's no doubt and and it's also very social but when you mentioned parts swapping naturally you don't always see of Ferrari engine it out in the Hershey a yard. Still what goes on at these exchanges is a lot of car conversation that people really enjoy. And naturally that would bring people to your social circle.
Yeah, no it you know, I kind of look at it as a consider social hub. I'm sorry here so yeah, and you know, what we want to do is definitely have that element in there. And another way that that comes into play is what we want to we have a system on our site called part Ping. And if you're looking for a part and you can't find it in the store, or can't find it Anywhere, you can put a little submission in and and we'll we'll actually try and reach out to our network and ask people if they have it in their stores, and it's maybe just not listed or they know where it's at. So that we're tapping that, that knowledge base. And what we're hoping to do eventually, is if one of those goes out, and we don't have an obvious match for it, we'll just put it out into the universe and go, Hey, everybody, do you have this particular part? And I'm willing to bet that over time, we'll get a lot of hit hits back because most of the good good stuff is sitting in the back of guys garages, collecting dust you'll be centralized people will know let's go ask collect your car part exchange or let's go ask Chris or whatever, I need x i or i need to get rid of it. You know what I completely love Park Ping. Yeah, as we as we've kind of evolved, it's, you know, like I said, initially, we just were simply going to have a place kind of like eBay, I suppose. Because it used to be eBay did auctions, but we all knew they don't do auctions anymore. They just have become a marketplace. But the problem is, it's really messy to deal with. And it's kind of a equated to going to the local mall to try and buy a very specialty car part, right? You know, it's like it's too big. And it's not bespoke for the car community. So what we're trying to do is create a place where originally just people could go and list parks and other people can buy them. But now as we've engaged in talk to folks, there's so many other opportunities to really become the center of this whole, I call it like, the messy layer of the car business, like the whole supply chain is really, there's not big guys who do this. It's a bunch of one person shops and family businesses spread throughout the entire world that have all of these parts. So and that's what the internet does really well is connect people, you know, across different time zones and across different geographies, to be able to find each other. Is this your first startup? No, no, I've, I've been a tech entrepreneur pretty much my entire or in and around it. And most recently, I was a co founder of a software company that I co founded in 2008. And we launched our product in August of 2008, only two weeks before Lehman Brothers failed, and the great recession started. So we had to figure out how to survive pretty quickly and it went from, we're gonna be rich to how can we even just keep the lights on, you know, hard times, compel you to get clever and, and, and be smart and really focus on the things that matter. So and the business survived and thrived and grew and became a category leader. And ultimately, we were acquired in 2017. And I stayed on for a little while, but after, after some time of being a company that you found and having it be acquired by someone else that I was looking for something new. And one of my executives at my last company was also kind of in the same mindset. So I said, I'm gonna go start a new company, I have no idea what it's gonna be. But I'm gonna go do it. And if you want to join me, I'd welcome you. And he's my business partner, Aaron and Aaron and I started talking about working together in the beginning of 2020. And we actually formalized the fact that we're going to start a business in March of 2020. So I have a really great timing of being able to start businesses right before global events happen that make the economy really terrible. You might become an indicator I call it the Chris bright indicator. Exactly. Oh Chris is starting a business they know what happens around elections general Yeah, etc. Yeah, okay. Move you step into gold. Yeah. So I mean, I know you're obviously an automotive nut. Do you have any cars? Of course Yeah. I mean, other than your what you're driving daily, what do you got?
So yeah, I've been a car guy my entire life and from birth. And right now my daily driver. Because I work from my home I don't really drive very much and I live in the city so I don't have to use I really don't drive that often. My quote unquote daily driver is a 1974, Alfa Romeo Giulia super. So it's a it's a really rare car that was only sold for a short time in the US but was they were manufacturing for quite a few years and in mass numbers over in Italy, and that's where my car comes from. So fellow in New Jersey, goes over to Italy, buys them up and puts them in containers and brings them over and I got one of those. So it's been great. My speak Italian so all of the controls are in Italian and kilometers and things like That so it's a it's pretty cool car and beyond that I have a 1989 Ferrari 348, which is kind of my modern car. And that one is it's a different experience but but fun all the same. And then I have a new one, which is it, I own it and it's here but it's not totally across the finish line, which is I had a hand built car made in Buenos artists, which is a recreation of a Mazda rottie 1956 Mazda rottie 300 s. So I have a huge fascination with the Neil Emilia race. And I think 1950s Italian sports cars or sports cars in general, are the most charismatic, beautiful cars in the that have ever been made. But I ended up getting connected with this fellow down in Buenos Aires in his name is Nestor Salerno, and Nestor is an old timer, he's pushing 90, but in his youth, he actually raced those cars, and he raced them against thoroughly moss and Juan Manuel Fangio and Carroll Shelby and all of the Great's of the era. So when he was a kid, he was out racing sports cars in the South American circuit. And then he ultimately did go to Europe. So through this whole process, I've gotten to know somebody who actually raced these cars and he builds them from firsthand knowledge. Great guy love him. He's like an uncle to me. Now it's a little bit of a combo car. So the running gear is it has a VA engine from a Maserati, there was a car that was that ran in 1956 that Sterling moss ran in the mill Amelia, that was the car that my mind is based on, and it looks identical to it. And it's built in the identical way. This is not like something where you take another car and slap a body on it. Everything is hand built, hand formed aluminum body panels, and welded space, a space frame. So it's really very, very authentic. And then Stirling Moss in the 1956, Wheeler crashed, and they took that car and take it back to the factory and straightened it out and dropped a V eight engine into that car, and it became the first 450 Yes, so the engines for the three hundreds are super rare and hard to find. So this was an engine that I could get a little bit more affordably and it's got great power and makes amazing sounds I've only driven it probably about three or four hours in total. So far, just a couple of breaking runs. But it's the most exhilarating and exciting car I've ever been in or around and I've taken some journalists and ride in it and and they're like, yeah, I've gotten to drive original Gt 40s from the 60s and this car is way more intimidating than those girls. So you're a visceral experience guy. I mean, you got alpha you're 348 and now this maaser recreation everything you have is engine sounds and maybe some smells and
well you know that's a thing. Yeah, you always love looking at these cars. But I think whenever I go to a racetrack and like get around those hot engines and smell the smell the exhaust or climb into a car and smell the leather interior, those are the things they're so powerful and the thing that really like I said, I've always been a car person like Matchbox cars, everything I couldn't wait to drive even when I was five years old. I couldn't wait to get to get behind the wheel of a car. But the movie Cannonball Run came out in the in the late 70s. And there's the iconic opening scene where it's the Lamborghini Khun Tosh ripping down in Nevada I believe highway and just sounds amazing. And I had never heard a car that sounded like that and I still have goosebumps. Just remembering that the SAT that sound Hadrian. barbeau Yeah, you got it. Getting out of a ticket. Yes. You know, except for when when she tried that trick. It was a female cop. That was the gag. Right? Right. Like goes in unzips it very provocatively. And then Hello, Officer, and it's like a female? Yep. So how old were you when you got bit with the car bug? Well, you know, like I said, I always remember being enthralled by cars like I was. I was born in the late 60s and the Indy 500 on Wide World of Sports was is a national holiday for me like I, whenever there was a car race on TV, I watched it whenever evil Knievel was doing something. I was, I was watching it, you know, I was just fascinated by it. But I wasn't. I don't come from a car family, like we didn't have our own shop. We didn't work on our own cars or do any of that, but which I I kind of wish I hadn't had that experience. But I just started watching and then as I got a little older, I ended up picking up my road and track magazine and those sorts of things and then getting subscriptions. And then as I got older and had a little more freedom to drive around my brother and I in the summers would go to car races all summer long. We were we were little gypsies who would drive to Watkins Glen or the Pocono Raceway, or all over the Northeast, just watch car races. So, you know, and I and I, and I love that and as soon as I was able to buy my own car, I was looking around, I had a little beater car that you have when you have a minimum wage job. But when I finally got it got a professional position, I was looking to buy a car and and I was looking at Oh, a Honda or Toyota Corolla or something just not very expensive. And I said, Hey, I wonder how much a Porsche 928 costs and I went, and you can get a Porsche 928 for what it costs to get a Honda Civic it in the same year that I was buying them because Porsche 920, eights have depreciated. But it's a hand built amazing car, and I bought one of those. And that was my daily driver for 15 years, I put almost 200,000 miles on that car before, it was starting to get a little a little expensive. But yeah, you know, and ever since then, I've just decided, you know, there's the old saying, life's too short to drive, boring cars, and I have a freedom. I don't have kids and things like that. So I can kind of afford to have things that are a little less practical. I can attest to how many extra cars I could have if I didn't have kids. Many, and maybe houses too. So how did this lead to launching the part exchange? Sure.
Well, it like I said, I had been in I've been in tech startups. And the two that I was at before the one that I'm starting now, the last one, I was a co founder and you know, founded on the, my, my friend's couch. And the one before that I was in a in a company that I knew the founders early on, and started working with them. And then I ultimately joined their company, and it was a semiconductor company that went public. So you know, it ended up being pretty successful. And then, after I left, I had another opportunity to do it again, and also was successful. And so it's like, hey, let's, let's do something that, you know, I want to do something a little different. But my friend and I, who decided to start the company with Aaron, we literally went off into a cabin in the woods that that I rented, just to brainstorm and we just hid away and got disconnected and just started writing ideas down and we came up with all sorts of crazy ideas. It wasn't the intention to start a car business in any way. But one of the ideas that I said was, hey, the SWAT meats are crazy. You know, there's 100,000 people that show up in Portland every year and traipse around in the mud to look at, you know, old dirty car parts in, in a field and it makes no sense. And you know, it sorry, throw it out there. And then as we started whittling down what we were doing, what we were considering we kept that one on list. And ultimately, we decided, you know, while I'm passionate about cars, it's more important to have a successful business and, and I think any business can be interesting. My last company was a legal software company. And, and it was completely fascinating. Although my mother still never understood what I did for, you know, a dozen years, the company that they founded, it didn't make good cocktail party conversation, but with a collector part exchange, while it's something that I am interested in and excited to be working in and find it, that I'm really connected to it. It is a genuinely huge opportunity. We love our collector cars, and there's every year 30 billion collector cars are sold in the US alone and Haggerty counted it up and they estimate that the total value of all the car collector cars in the United States is more than a trillion dollars in value. So it's almost unimaginable and yet trying to buy parts for these cars is really a pain in the butt and and it's hard for us but more so for people whose job it is to fix these cars or restore their cars. So I've gotten to know a lot of restoration repair shops who specialize in certain types of special collector vehicles. And they have entire staff people dedicated to try tracking down parts. And that's just deeply inefficient, we've got a better way to solve this problem. But no one has ever attempted to solve it because it's not that easy. It's a it's a really messy world of really a bunch of small businesses that are far reaching and aren't that tech forward. But one thing that if you get to know me, I really liked it, do the hard problems and and do the unsexy things. And there's not very many things that are less sexy than the collector car park business, because it's just a bunch, you know, it's a bunch of small businesses trying to keep their the cars on the road, but keep their businesses going. So we really, I would say, if I were to state our mission, really, my whole job is to make the supply the suppliers of all of these parts, be able to survive and transition them into a more modern internet world and help them thrive and walk across this chasm from a phone based business to an internet based business. And because they're really the backbone of this hobby, it isn't the brokers. It isn't, you know, the insurance companies, it's the repair people in the part supply people who make this entire hobby possible. And, and they don't get nearly enough credit. They're amazing people who devote their lives to these cars. And if I can make them successful and build a successful business, then it's a win win for everybody. Well, I mean, imagine trying to get a pre or post or ready for a Concours d'Elegance through whatever restoration shop and no parts, right? Well, in the folder.
Unknown Speaker 26:55
There, that's everything.
Jeff Sterns 26:57
Yeah. And you know, sometimes they get stuck kind of in a manufacturer, the parts basically from scratch and right. You know, there's those parts exist, they just can't find them, you know, and actually one of the things you know, where I was talking earlier about all the different opportunities that are spinning out of this as we engage with people, but in the in the future, maybe in the next 10 years, it's going to you can already do it, there's you know, what, how 3d printers works, there's 3d forges, so they actually print molten metal. And people are using those machines to actually print parts for cars. And it might be that you don't go find the new part, you go, Oh, I'm going to basically have somebody Print A, an exhaust manifold for me, for my 1929 Buick, and voila, it just arrives in your in your mailbox in a couple of days. Well, well, we still need that first Buick manifold. To template out to print. Exactly, we still need some original parts. Absolutely. Well, and you know, the The other thing, you know, kind of riffing on the whole idea of like helping the suppliers, most of these suppliers and I just came back from Hershey, and it's the same, the story was validated. They're all most people who got into that business probably got into it in the 60s. So they were kids, they were maybe they worked in a garage, and then they started running the parts department, and then they turned it into their own business. And I can't tell you how many times that's the founding story of a part supply business. And but you can tell by the timeline, these guys are getting to 70 years old, and they don't really have a great exit strategy. So one of the things that I really liked to be able to do is create an exchange where someone if they want to get to a point where they want to sell their business, we can connect them with someone who'd be interested in taking over that business, or at least helping them find a responsible buyer for the parts because one of my greatest fears in this market is someday somebody is going to you know, get surprised and and pass away. And someone's gonna honestly not have a clue what they have in their garage or up in the attic. And they're just gonna trash those parts and they could be literally 10s of 1000s of dollars worth of inventory sitting there that would just get thrown out totally by accident. So I want to make sure that doesn't happen and I want to make sure that there's a good place where anybody who has parts that they want to get rid of can get rid of them so we aren't just for professional parts suppliers so that we have plenty of those. We are also designed for the anybody who has a car has about three to 10 boxes worth of parts sitting around in the back of a garage that is collecting dust and will never get used again. So hey, why not get those back in circulation and We've really built collect a price change to be able to help people do that. So you don't own any parts, you're not selling any parts, you're not buying any parts, you're providing a place for a seller to get eyeballs, and you're developing the eyeballs, and you're developing a place for the buyer to find what he may not be able to find out a Google search, and you're making sure that you're indexing well enough, or have proper content. So your sellers parts get found. So I'm assuming that the seller needs to have some kind of storefront or something. Yep, you're exactly right. So we've tried to make it as easy as possible, because, as I mentioned, we're dealing with people who are maybe not so tech forward. So we, I joke around that our UI is really based on those jitterbug phones, for the seniors, you know, it's, we've, we've tried to make it as dead simple as it can be. So to start a story, you just go in, create an account, and then there's a button on there that says create a store, and it walks you through the process, you have to give it a name and provide some information. And the thing where the the most complex thing you have to do is connect our payment system to your bank account. So when someone buys something, payment is automatically just deposited directly into your your bank. And, you know, so if you if you if you're a business person, you have to set it up with your your business information and things like that. So it doesn't take much time at all, most people can get a start a store running within 10 minutes. And is there a setup charge or licensing fee? What does it cost to start?
Absolutely not, there is no charge whatsoever to start a store. And there's no charge whatsoever to list apart. If a part that you have sells in at three, Nehalem was happy 5%. So, you know, we've tried to make it really fair, because I think there's a leak, that's not being greedy. And it also, we don't want to create a reason for people not to use the website, right? And I think if you were to ask around and someone said, Oh, if I list a part and you charge me 5% on it, they probably go, oh, okay, that's not bad, you know, probably 10% could get get away with but 5% is like a no brainer, and 50 bucks on 1500 bucks on 100 grand, especially to be able to find a buyer or find a part and you're doing this work to be relevant. And that's costing you money, no doubt. Yeah, exactly. And we think there's enough market space to make that very, very successful for all parties involved in and you know, I think one of the things that we've learned is people who use eBay and we have a lot of people who use eBay and now are moving over that CPS because they've made it really complex and really hard to list parts and it's really expensive. So there is a listing fee on eBay there is a store creation fee on eBay, there's if you want bold type in your headline, you have to pay extra for that there's just all these little incremental charges if you want more than three pictures, you have to pay extra You know, there's everywhere, everywhere in the transaction, they're trying to give another a few pennies here and there. And that gets that gets really old after a while. And the worst part is they don't allow you to really communicate easily between the buyer and seller. So we've tried to remove all of those barriers and and part of that is trusting the community on eBay, right eBay, they're brokering the texting going on in between it's going through their portal only it's blind email or, you know, it's like maybe even Uber drive you and your Uber driver going through their phone number. So you've opened it up based on trust. So I'm just assuming, if you found out someone went around you to avoid paying the 5% then they're just not a member anymore. I mean, yeah, no, that'll be the end of it. Is there any way to regulate it? I mean, yeah, do you there there isn't, you know, it's a it's a when you run a marketplace like this, the technical term is called disintermediation. And and all that is is when people use a marketplace then they go around it and that happens in Airbnb is a marketplace you know, once you bring in somebody's house, now you know who they are. And you go, Hey, Susie, can I have your cabin? All right, you know, I'll pay you 10% less and you'll still make a lot more money because you won't have to pay all those fees. And you know, that's normal. It's part of the part of the world and like I said, we're trying to make it so that people don't have an incentive to go around us they go oh, and I think you know, the business people in this world. kind of understand the game and and and yeah, it's Someone refers visits to you, you, you're always happy to take care of them. And we're just trying to keep it really fair and positive and make their lives better and make it better for the buyer too. Because you want to be able to ask those questions you want to know who you're buying from, you don't want to accidentally realize that Oh, shoot, I bought from this, you know, guy over in Croatia, who is making some crappy parts somewhere. I want to know that I'm dealing with this guy, Matt, who's down in Texas, and he's been in business for 38 years. And he's, you know, his parts have been supplied to some of the biggest people in the in the car collection world. And he has a reputation that Sterling so if you have that, then you have a lot to go on. And are you gonna add ratings? Yep, we already have them. There. You know, it takes a while for that to really have meaning. Yes, yes. Like I'm, of course, I'm stuck on this $380,000 Ferrari engine, right. So I'm not assuming we're going to get a whole bunch of transactions. Right to rate but you're already doing ratings. And how many stores? do you have? No. Yeah, we've got 125 right now. Nice. Good for you. Yeah. And how long have we been open? We're coming up on we're just over three months old now. Oh, come on. That's fabulous. 120? Yeah, we're getting it, we're getting a lot of interest in it. And we've got about $5 million in inventory already on on the site. And, you know, in time, we'll get that 250 million and, and the 1000s, of course, and I don't need to know revenue, and not that you'd tell me, but they say how many transactions you've been in the middle of a 90 day? You know, I would say we're averaging about
more than maybe a couple a day, right now. So it's nice, go easy on yourself, Chris, come on. No, you know, and I think that's one of the things that I'm, I'm in this for the long haul. And as I mentioned, you know, I started businesses, and I know there is no such thing as an overnight success. Like, I think people I like I've worked around startups, and I, and I mentor and teach and, and have, I'm very involved in that world. And I always get these new folks who are coming in and they think they're going to become wealthy and an overnight success. And I've been been around a long time, and there's no such thing as an overnight success, whether you think think it's true or not that usually people that you think are an overnight success of anatomy for about eight years, no, I no one has any idea what right, it's all about just grinding it out. You know, it's you just have to have a lot of grit to be able to start a business and, and have the gumption to kind of walk through the valley of death for for quite a few years, typically to get there. So I think if by 2023, we were we're pretty well known within the collector car community, and people are starting to use us and check us out. I'll be really happy. It's not going to happen by the end of this year. And it's not going to happen by the end of next year. If you want. Maybe it will, but more than likely it's not interesting. And I want to circle back to talking about the cars not the parts. Because you're definitely I mean like you're you're a car guy, I mean the parts of course, but the alpha, the maaser, the Ferrari but is there a kind of car or a category of cars that you feel to be most collectible? You know, it's interesting I just got back from Hershey and I was at Monterey this year and all of that the clicker part exchange right now is mostly focused on European sports cars from the 40s to the 80s just as a starting point we'll get into antique cars and us cars and all of that but I honestly think that's probably the most collectible range as well because there are lots of different varieties of cars so it isn't like you know, when you get into American cars, like how many Mustangs were produced I mean there's there were probably more Mustangs produced then there were cars in Italy produced in any given year you know, so it kind of becomes there's there's very minor variations. It's like Oh, you've got a little different Engine Setup or a different transmission or a sports package or whatever. In the the European stuff. There's so much variety that there is really uniqueness and differentiation within the market. So I think that dries up the valuations and makes it much much more collectible. So is your blanket answer European, European sports cars from the probably the 40s through the 70s I'd say maybe 80s and it doesn't have to be a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. My Alfa Romeo. I don't know I spent $17,000 on it. It's not like a very valuable car. But I tell you, I just on my blog, I wrote a lovely Letter to it the other day because I took it on a tour and it was so much fun to drive that car on that tour. Even though it only has 85 horsepower. I think it really annoys me watching all these new hypercars and things like that they are, they are Marvels, they are Engineering Marvels, but they kind of take the driving out of it. And they become basically a marketing ploy for fast zero to 60 times or Nurburgring laps and things like that. And they, they, you can't enjoy them in the real world. You just can't like even if you go to attract you, you don't have the capacity, I bet to drive those cars to their their extent. And if you try, you're going to pay deer. So that's right, you know, to take an 85 horsepower, four door sedan alpha male and rip it on some back roads, I'm going to be having a ball, whereas somebody in a modern Corvettes just going to be cruising and drinking that star cup of Starbucks, I'm going to be downshift in blipping the throttle, pulling it trying to carry momentum through the corners. And I will never exceed the speed limit. And I'll be having a blast. Back to see PX that what else is on there besides parts? Yeah,
well, we've already talked a little bit about we've got some Project CARS on there. And that's becoming a more popular category we have, I think something that really makes us special in different is we offer new parts, new old stock parts, rebuilt parts. And the thing that I'm actually most excited about is we offer services right alongside the parts. So sometimes people go out and they search for a new part when they don't realize it, but they can take the old part that they have and send it to somebody and had it rebuilt and it'll come back operating like new but it's still the same exact word. It's a much cheaper price. And it's the maximum originality so we've got folks who do that or build upholstery like custom upholstery, so they you can order people to make you a leather upholstery for your vintage car. And you can do it right through our site. And you know, another thing that we've got going on is automobilia is really popular and there is a fair number of books and manuals and different items on there that I think are really fun and and I believe we're going to get a lot of pickup from people listing automobilia on there. I like that. So it's you know, it's your online exchange in and I'm not trying to downgrade it but automotive flea market. I mean, you know, we're, you know, the automobilia, the vintage toys, maybe? Oh, yeah, we've got a lot of car models on there, and dinky toys and all sorts of stuff. And there's some when I see some of those Come on, I get pretty tempted and models, we just sold a very expensive model. Like somebody ordered us there was a $750 model of a Rolls Royce that was up there. It's a 1/5 scale. So it's a really large model. And complex. That's why it costs so much. And yeah, just sold. So yeah, it's fun to see those sorts of things on there. Because I don't know anybody who's into cars, who doesn't love to have, you know, I'm looking at the wall behind you. And you've got, you know, that ceramic car behind you and a bunch of posters and all sorts of cool stuff. You're right. You're right. I love it. I mean, if I had unlimited space and unlimited budget less kids. Yeah. I want to tell my kids, you know how many pedal cars I could have if you weren't here? Okay. I'll make sure to remind them every day. Yeah. Do they appreciate that? Yes, yes. Well, they all three of them know that they're my fourth or fifth favorite kid in the neighborhood? Have you been able to measure yet? And I mean, I know you have geoip information and you know where your customer is? Who set up a store. But if you measured where they are your sellers and your buyers course Yeah, no, I think something that really surprised us and actually, in a pleasant way, of course, is the amount of interest we've gotten from international markets. So over in Europe, those folks if you're a seller, getting into the US market is a pain, you have to set up a website and that that has good English on it and transacts easily and all sorts of stuff. And we've got a number of vendors who are listing their inventory on our site as a way of reaching the US market. So that's been really cool. And actually the very first part that we sold on collector part exchange was sold to a guy in the Denmark, I believe. And so we've had a number of international sellers, but also international buyers. And you know, when I look at the traffic we get, obviously there's folks from Europe are paying attention, but more surprisingly, or unexpectedly, I guess is we have a lot of traffic coming out of Australia and New Zealand and South Africa. They're not Africa. Yeah, there's huge car collector communities down there. And what's hard for them is they're isolated, they don't have a lot of inventory and sellers in their particular geography. So they, they're compelled to find things outside of their own country. So yeah, that's, that's been really fun. So we actually when we started figuring this out, had to put a pause on when we were going to launch and go and build out a bunch of currency conversion and being able to put in shipping information that's in international format, and all sorts of different things. So we don't have full language translation yet, but you know, eventually, I'm sure we'll be able to have have those sorts of features as part of the site.
How do people find you? Yeah, well, we're at collector part exchange Comm. So go, go check us out there, that's the first place but when you're on there, and you check us out, set up an account or you'll, you can sign up for our email and we send out a weekly newsletter, and I don't know they're pretty fun I basically it's a lot of me talking about places that I've been in the last week or riffing on how stupid Some things are. Sometimes I rant sometimes I it's a travel log, sometimes it's a personal story from my history. But if you go ahead and sign up, and I would say, go find something that you find interesting or and you can mark it and save it for later like a car model or something like that. Or go ahead and just put one item in there at all It doesn't take that much time. If you have the intention. Go into one and you'll see how easy it is to do and then you'll go Okay, this is this isn't so hard. What is your background and you must have some background in writing because your blog I've, I've enjoyed looking at we have Hershey 2021 No Country for young men how I accidentally won best in class at a local car show you got a letter an email that I want to write to Penske you got to think about her belly tank and it's racer and it's good you're good. Oh thanks you're reasonable so I'd love to be on your email list it's because you're not matter of fact I'll I'll put my email because it's not spam I mean it can be Hey, you know, to me that's it's probably the most fun part of the whole job is getting to share those thoughts and connect with people. I've gotten so many comments and so it made so many connections through my writing that I don't know I really value it and I think it helps people get to know what we're about and what I'm about and who they're dealing with and you know I think we move beyond the the idea of using a blog to be like go buy this or sell this or whatever if you do that people won't tune in they just want to they want to learn they want to experience things or live vicariously through you and and you know that's what you're doing with your podcast you're talking to people that they want to talk to you and you're you become their vessel for for having that conversation if by proxy and that's what I try to do in the blog is just but but I try not to hold back either it's pretty authentic I it I don't edit it down or anything I just kind of like really want to and and here you go any journalistic background or school now no you're good you're good folks. Yeah no it Thank you That's very kind of you Yeah, I do enjoy it and it you know, I do have a marketing background so you know languages okay then come on now marketing background for God's sake. Okay. Yeah, Madison Avenue basically liar. No, no. Chesterfield Sager, okay. Legal software. I can I can. I can write about legal software. So Chris, we're good unless you have anything you wish we talked about or your popped in your mind while we were talking? I thought we covered a lot of ground that was really fun.
Unknown Speaker 49:43
This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
My earliest memories are filled with Hot Wheels and Indy 500s on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Life changing events include watching the Lambo in the opening scene of Cannonball Run and the R&T cover story on the Ferrari 288 GTO. My first interesting car was a Porsche 928 which I drove every day and put 175K miles on.
I most recently was co-founder of Zapproved, a legal software company, which is now part of the Vista Equity portfolio. Prior to that, I was with Pixelworks, a semiconductor company that went public in 2000, and co-founded a marketing agency serving tech startups. Currently, I also am an executive partner at Elevate Capital.
Here are some great episodes to start with. Or, check out episodes by topic.