Former Tesla CIO Jay Vijayan's start-up Tekion joins unicorn club

Jay Vijayan, CEO of Tekion
Cloud technology company Tekion, founded by former Tesla CIO Jay Vijayan, has become the latest start-up to join the unicorn bandwagon after it raised $150 million in a Series C financing round at a valuation of over $1 billion. The funding round was led by Advent International, with participation from Index Ventures, Exor (the holding company of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ferrari), Airbus Ventures and FM Capital.

While the company is headquartered in Silicon Valley, a majority of its R&D work is done in India, out of its centres in Chennai and Bengaluru. The four-year-old firm employs around 450 engineers globally.

“Today’s consumers receive outstanding personalised retail experiences from companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Disney. Why shouldn’t they expect the same in their vehicle acquisition and service needs? We believe Tekion will be the trailblazer in enabling the modernisation of the entire consumer journey and providing the best experiences and operational efficiencies, period,” said Jay Vijayan, CEO of Tekion.

Apart from Tesla, Chennai-born Vijayan, who is a post graduate in science from University of Madras, also worked with several leading technology firms including Oracle and VMware before launching Tekion in February 2016. During his stint at Tesla, where he was reporting into Elon Musk, Vijayan and his team were instrumental in building the entire digital and IT systems at the company, ground-up.

Tekion’s cloud-based platform brings the consumer, dealer and OEM ecosystem together by seamlessly connecting every part of the automotive retail journey through its automotive retail cloud. In addition, Tekion provides open APIs and gives dealers access to their data to get insights to help improve processes and experiences for their customers.

“From the moment we started talking to Tekion’s dealers, we were blown away by the ease and speed of the migration process, especially from the multiple dealers, who transitioned in a month’s time, remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic. Their dealer-friendly approach to contract terms and data ownership will be a breath of fresh air for dealers,” said Eric Wei, a managing director on Advent’s technology investment team in Palo Alto.

As part of the investment deal, Jon McNeill, Advent Advisory Partner, former chief operating officer of Lyft and former president of global sales, marketing, delivery and service at Tesla are joining Tekion’s Board of Directors with Eric Wei of Advent.

Prior to Advent’s investment, Tekion had raised $65 million in equity financing from  investors including Index Ventures, Storm Ventures, General Motors, Alliance  Ventures, BMW iVentures, Exor, AME Cloud Ventures, alongside other dealer groups.

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