Car selling app Blinker lays off one-third of its staff

Rod Featured

Co-founder Rod Buscher. (Courtesy Blinker)

A Denver-based startup whose app allows users to buy, sell and finance used cars has shifted into reverse.

Blinker co-founder and CEO Rod Buscher told BusinessDen Tuesday that the company laid off approximately 20 employees in March in an effort to reduce expenses before raising another round of funding.

“We just cut our burn (rate) while we were going through this capital raise,” Buscher said. “Over the next year, we expect our workforce to be larger than it was before we made the cuts. Based on our new partnerships, we could be in excess of 100 (employees).”

Buscher said the startup was at approximately 55 employees this January before he went out to raise money and decided to reduce the startup’s operations.

He said the layoffs extended across all the company’s departments, including marketing, engineering and product development. A reporter’s review of former Blinker employees on LinkedIn found at least 24 stopped working at the company in March.

“We had to make adjustments while we went through it, but some of these people will be eligible to be rehired,” he said. “We did what we had to do.”

Buscher declined to comment on how much money Blinker has raised from investors. In 2016, the company was named a “Denver Gazelle” by the Denver Office of Economic Development for being one of the city’s fastest-growing companies. At the time, the startup had raised $35 million in funding, according to a city news release.

Buscher and Tony Wilbert co-founded Blinker in 2013. Buscher previously worked at John Elway Dealerships in Denver. Wilbert left the company in 2016.

Blinker allows car buyers and sellers to scan license plates and pull up information such as year, make and model, and suggest a price estimate. Users then can buy and sell cars through the app, including transferring the title and money.

At one point, Blinker’s revenue came from financing and refinancing car loans for customers purchasing cars through its app, in addition to charging buyers a $200 fee. The startup also has started buying cars from users, then trying to resell them.

On Tuesday, Blinker’s website showed more than 900 cars for sale.

Buscher said the startup is finalizing agreements with three to four national partners in the automotive industry that will help take the company to all 50 states. Now, users can buy and sell cars through Blinker in Colorado, Florida, California and Texas, according to its website.

“It’s never easy to make cuts, but I could never be more excited about where the company is and where we’re headed,” he said.

The startup is still in its office at 1675 Larimer St. in LoDo, where it moved into an 11,000-square-foot space three years ago from Cherry Creek.

Rod Featured

Co-founder Rod Buscher. (Courtesy Blinker)

The startup’s CEO said the March layoffs were an effort to reduce expenses as Blinker tries to raise more money.

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