Former Tesla CIO Jay Vijayan's Startup Tekion Turns Unicorn

CIOReviewIndia Team | Wednesday, 21 October 2020, 13:27 IST

Tekion, the cloud technology company, which is founded by former Tesla CIO Jay Vijayan, becomes the latest startup to join the unicorn bandwagon, when it raised $150 million in a Series C financing round at a valuation of $1+ billion. Advent International led the funding round, where Index Ventures, Exor, Airbus Ventures and FM Capital also participated.

Tekion is headquartered in Silicon Valley, but its major R&D work is progressed in India in Chennai and Bengaluru. It is a four year old firm which has 450+ engineers globally.

Jay Vijayan, CEO Tekion, said, “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.”

In addition to working at Tesla, Vijayan completed post-graduation in science from the University of Madras and worked at the leading technology firms which include Oracle and VMware. After that he launched Tekion in February 2016. While working at Tesla, he reported directly to Elon Musk, and he and his team were instrumental in developing the entire digital and IT systems of Tesla.

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

Eric Wei, a managing director on Advent’s technology investment team in Palo Alto, said, “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.”

As a 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.

Before the Advent’s investment, Tekion had raised $65 million in equity financing from investors, which include Index Ventures, Storm Ventures, General Motors, Alliance Ventures, BMW iVentures, Exor, AME Cloud Ventures, and other dealer groups.

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