Channel | Auto Industry News

AutoGravity Names New CEO, CTO

IRVINE, Calif. — AutoGravity named replacements for its chief executive and chief technology officer (CTO), who reportedly left about two months ago.

Alex Mallmann, who most recently served as president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Auto Finance China, replaces AutoGravity’s co-founder and CEO Andy Hinrichs, who left in May, according to the Orange County Business Journal. The fintech firm also announced that Jason Bonifay will replace Sheng Wang, who reportedly left two weeks after Hinrichs’s departure.

A company spokesman only confirmed Hinrichs has left the company, but offered no further details. The former chief executive lists himself as a fintech entrepreneur and digital executive on his LinkedIn page, which notes that his time as head of AutoGravity ended in May 2018.

“Alex has the unique ability to translate vision and strategy into world-class execution, which enables a compelling consumer experience,” said Benedikt Schell, chief experience officer and member of the Daimler Financial Services AG’s board of management. “With millions of users embracing AutoGravity, the company has paved unprecedented digital roads in the industry. Under Alex’s leadership, adoption of AutoGravity’s award-winning technology is expected to accelerate exponentially.”

Schell also serves as chairman of AutoGravity’s board of directors.

The new appointments come as the startup hit a new milestone, reaching two million users in less than two years since its initial launch. According to the company, the milestone represents more than $2 billion in financing requests.

The company also claims to have partnered with more than 2,200 dealerships across the U.S. and more than 20 of the nation’s largest banks and captive lenders, including Hyundai Finance, Mercedes-Benz Financial Service, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., TD Auto Finance, US Bank, and Volkswagen Credit

Hinrich was coming off a nearly 20-year career with Daimler Financial Services when he and AutoGravity COO Nicholas Stellman, another Daimler Financial Services veteran, founded the fintech firm with the backing of Daimler AG in October 2015. The first version of the firm’s tool was silently released in early 2016. It allows shoppers to secure vehicle financing or a lease on their mobile device before visiting a dealership.

In July 2017, the fintech firm announced that VW Credit made a $30 million equity investment in the company. Earlier that year, Daimler announced it was investing a “double-digit million euro amount” into AutoGravity.

This past March, the company earned the Orange County Business Journal’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award. Hinrichs also received Automotive News’ All-Star Award in 2017 and the publication’s 2018 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award. AutoGravity also took home the grand prize in F&I and Showroom’s F&I Digital Media Awards at last year’s Industry Summit, and was named Entrepreneurial Company of the Year in May 2017 by Frost & Sullivan.

Wang, whose LinkedIn page notes that she left the company this month, was one of five honored in May at the Orange County Business Journal’s 24th annual Women of the Year awards. She joined the company in March 2016 as head of product and was named CTO this past December.

Mallmann was appointed as president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Auto Finance China in 2014. He began his career in 1998 with Mercedes-Benz in Brazil and held several senior management and managing director positions in the American and Europe, including president and CEO for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services in Spain and Portugal.

“I’m extremely excited to join the AutoGravity team and further revolutionize the digital car-buying experience for customers,” he stated in the company’s press release. “The company is full of amazingly talented people, market-leading technology, and unmatched momentum. With our focus on constantly exceeding the expectations of consumers, dealers, and lenders, AutoGravity will become the digital standard for car buying and financing.”

Bonifay joined the AutoGravity leadership team in May as vice president of engineering. He previously served as vice president of development for product and engineering at CDK Global. He also spent five years as vice president of software engineering at Bankruptcy Management Solutions. Before that, he served as CTO at Propero Software.

“AutoGravity has established a reputation as a leading innovator in the automotive industry. The opportunity to provide technical leadership and drive innovative solutions during this era of rapid growth is an exciting and welcome challenge for me,” he said. “I look forward to contributing to AutoGravity’s mission to revolutionize the digital car-buying experience.”

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