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Autobytel invests $2.5 million in young Miami company AutoWeb

Autobytel, the publicly traded company that helps automotive consumers and dealers connect online, announced it has invested $2.5 million in cash to help build, launch and grow AutoWeb’s pay-per-click, auction-driven automotive advertising marketplace, which is scheduled to go live in early 2014. Autobytel has an option to invest an additional $2.5 million as Miami-based AutoWeb grows.

As part of the agreement, AutoWeb has acquired the AutoWeb trademarks and domain name (www.AutoWeb.com) from Autobytel for $1.5 million in AutoWeb stock. As a result of the initial investment, Autobytel now owns about 16 percent of AutoWeb. Jeffrey Coats, president and CEO of Autobytel, has joined AutoWeb’s board.

Autobytel will become the first automotive publisher to benefit from AutoWeb’s pay-per-click  platform, receiving a revenue share generated by click-throughs at Autobytel’s websites. Autobytel said in its press release that the arrangement could represent a significant revenue opportunity over the next several years.

AutoWeb’s proprietary technology analyzes web traffic and adjusts advertiser costs accordingly based on traffic quality. Its founders, Matias de Tezanos, Julio Gonzalez-Arrivillaga and Jose Vargas, also built and grew BrokersWeb, an insurance-based PPC advertising marketplace, from $1 million to $55 million in revenue over a three-year period until it was acquired in 2011.

 “Our goal is to create a new client-driven advertising platform never before available in the automotive industry, focused on significantly enhancing client ROI by reaching consumers with the highest purchase intent,” said de Tezanos, CEO  of AutoWeb, which was founded this year. “We are confident that AutoWeb will quickly be established as the premier advertising solution for the growing automotive industry.”

Posted Sept. 18, 2013