CarsOnTheWeb is the fastest-growing company in Flemish Brabant
Every year the Belgian business magazine ‘Trends’ puts the fastest growing Belgian businesses - also called Gazelles - in the spotlight. CarsOnTheWeb, the online car auction website, is this year’s fastest growing company in Flemish Brabant in the category ‘large companies’. This is a great accolade that this pan-European company is very proud to win.
Photo: Fasseur Koen
CarsOnTheWeb (Cotw) was founded in Belgium at the end of 2004 by car dealer Steven Lismont. The company quickly expanded to Germany (2006), France, Spain, Italy (2007) and the Netherlands (2013). The Belgian head-office in Tienen organises the transport and after-sales process to buyers in central Europe and offers support services for the group such as IT and customer service. The local branches are responsible for the communication with car suppliers and for business development.
The company behind CarsOnTheWeb, the European group “European Car Auction and Distribution Solutions”, or “ECADIS”, takes home the prize for fastest-growing company in the category ‘large company’ in Flemish Brabant.
“To us the client’s user-experience comes first and foremost”, says Johan Meyssen, CEO of the Cotw group. “In our company, we have 15 different nationalities who speak 16 different languages. This means that we can talk to clients in their own language. One of Cotw’s key values is neutrality. We made a conscious choice to be an intermediary between sellers and buyers of vehicles”.
In 2010, CarsOnTheWeb received a substantial capital injection. ING Activator Fund and Ark Angels Fund, two institutional shareholders, took a minority stake in the business. That investment was necessary to fully develop the innovation map and expand the services in a competitive market. With the addition of major players in leasing, Hugo Levecke and Alain Vervaet and internet pioneer Luc De Vos in the board of directors, all the necessary know-how was gattered in the board room.
Upon Meyssen’s arrival in 2008, CarsOnTheWeb was selling 8,000 cars. In 2015, this grew to 32,500 units. This year, the online auction platform is aiming for 39,000 vehicles sold. “It is still our ambition to double sales in four to five years” says Meyssen. CarsOnTheWeb wishes to achieve this feat by expanding its international network and for example by buying vehicles in central Europe. Since last year, Cotw has started purchasing cars from individuals through a collaboration with Autoscout24 and more cars that come from fleets and governments are auctioned off. “In the States around a quarter of the professional car trade operates through auctions and in Europe, this is only one in ten or even one in fifteen”, says Meyssen. The growth potential for Cotw is clearly still very big.