Pictured above: (from the left) Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Steve Case, Michael Bor, and Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey.
Michael Bor is founder and CEO of CarLotz, Inc. based in Richmond, VA with stores in Midlothian, Richmond and Chesapeake, Virginia. Michael has an extensive background in the automotive space and over a decade of experience in the financial services industry working with entrepreneurial companies going through transition. Prior to founding CarLotz, Michael led the Transportation & Logistics group at Harris Williams & Co., a leading middle-market Mergers & Acquisitions advisory firm, where he worked for 7 years. At Harris Williams & Co., Michael worked with mid-sized entrepreneurial businesses in the automotive space as well as other industries and helped clients execute a variety of financial transactions. Prior to Harris Williams & Co., Michael was an investment banker with Lehman Brothers and a financial fraud investigator with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Michael holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS, cum laude from Lehigh University. Michael lives in Richmond with his wife and three young sons.
CIT: Tell us about your current venture.
Bor: CarLotz aims to redefine the used car marketplace by providing customers with private market values, superior customer service, and transparency while creating an enriching, challenging, and fun career for its employees. Using a consignment model, CarLotz is a physical marketplace that allows used car buyers and sellers to transact safely, efficiently, and anonymously. The CarLotz service enables customers to buy and sell used cars privately without the traditional hassle of arranging meetings, test drives, and negotiations with other buyers and sellers. CarLotz also offers financing, warranties, and other after-market services that aren't typically available in the private market. With its consignment model, CarLotz saves people money and makes used car transactions enjoyable and convenient for both buyers and sellers.
CIT: What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
Bor: Entrepreneurship is, almost by definition, a risky undertaking. Before embarking on your risky venture, make sure all of your ducks are in a row. Have you saved up enough money to go without pay for a while? Is your family supportive of your endeavor? Do you have options in case your venture doesn't work out? Do you have a plan B if your original business plan needs to be tweaked? You don't necessarily have to answer ALL of these questions satisfactorily, but answer as many as you can. Then, put all the hesitation aside and jump right in and don't look back!
CIT: What events/meetup groups are essential for startups?
Bor: A strong support group is important as you go out on your own. Make sure you socialize your concept, your strategy, and your difficulties as much as possible to solicit advice and support. Aside from groups and meetups, create your own group of closer friends and business professionals who you trust and who can help you through the tough times. Finally, family and friends who are supportive of your venture can be your most important group.
CIT: How important is collaboration and knowledge sharing to you?
Bor: It is critical. At CarLotz, we take advantage of the startup ecosystems in the cities in which we have operations. We have also partnered with other local startups that are on the same timeline that we are on and we get together every 60 days to exchange notes and let off some steam. Understanding what others are doing to crash through the same walls that we have to go through enhances our ability to successfully break through those walls. It's also great to cheer for others and have cheerleaders rooting for you.
CIT: What makes Richmond’s tech scene unique?
Bor: We call it a Startup scene, versus a tech scene...technology is important but we think some of the coolest startups are not technology companies!! What makes the Richmond area so unique is how small and supportive the community is and how creative it is. We rely heavily on creative groups and organizations within the community to help us further define our brand, better present our value proposition, and evangelize our business. Richmond also has a deep bench of entrepreneurs and investors that are very giving of their time and advice. We wouldn't have been able to launch our business so quickly without the help from local entrepreneurs who spent a lot of time with us as we were drawing up our business plan.
To contact and learn more about Michael, email him or view his LinkedIn page.