Fivetran accelerates online auto trading for CarOnSale

Fast and frictionless access to data has been key for a fast-growing, disruptive pan-European platform for car dealers

Key Results

  • Data analytics fueled by Fivetran as the key differentiator from all competitors
  • Ability to build a recommendation engine based on past buying behaviour and activity to bring the right buyers to the right product at the right time
  • Daily personalized reports for all teams across the business
  • Immediate out-of-the-box setup and zero maintenance
  • Prepared for future growth with flexibility and scalability needed to expand to new markets and implement new use cases

Data stack

Pipeline: Fivetran

Source: Heroku Postgres, SendGrid, Stripe, Freshdesk, Google Sheets

Destination: Snowflake

Business Intelligence Tool: Tableau

Fivetran needs zero maintenance support and you can start immediately. It’s really fast in terms of performance and getting to the data because it does all the ELT work for you.

- Aynaz Bagherynezhad, Data Team Lead, CarOnSale

Founded in 2018, CarOnSale is an online B2B auction platform for used cars. Right now around 18,000 used car dealers are registered on the site and thousands of vehicles a month are auctioned off. CarOnSale is disrupting the way pan-European dealer networks have traditionally traded. By leveraging data analytics and unique re-marketing technology, the Berlin-based start-up is providing a frictionless, end-to-end service and growing fast across Europe.


Making data a market differentiator  

The founders of CarOnSale knew data was key to disrupting a traditional market. As an online platform it was always going to cut through the complexity of legacy car trading, but harvesting and analysing data around car auctions was going to be the big differentiator, empowering the business with unique market intelligence.

The company identified a centralised architecture, hosted in the cloud, as the best way to collect and analyse data at speed and scale. An exploration followed into the different options to support ELT (Extract, Load and Transform) as opposed to the more traditional ETL approach.  When Snowflake was selected as the cloud-based data warehouse, the next step was to find the ideal data integration solution.

Aynaz Bagherynezhad, Data Team Lead, had used Fivetran in a previous role and when Snowflake recommended it as the best way to connect to data sources, it confirmed her own experience. “People are switching to cloud-based infrastructure to get to data faster. I knew that as soon as we connected Fivetran to Snowflake we would have access to all of our raw data in a couple of hours,” she said.


Analysing insights faster

The three-way integration between Fivetran, Snowflake and Tableau provides the backbone for the startup’s business model. Data around key performance indicators and business logic is used to create visualisations that are shared across the company. Every team has access to personalised reports, typically on a daily basis but with weekly and monthly options, depending on the metrics being tracked.

Maximilian Schilling, Chief Commercial Officer, cited the platform’s recommendation engine as a strong example of how Fivetran helps. A challenge with any transaction web site is to bring buyers to the platform at the right time, when the right product is available, maximising the chance of sale.

Fivetran pulls data from various sources to enable automatic analysis. “The recommendation engine looks at past buying behaviour and activity on our platform to determine which cars would be of particular interest to a certain buyer,” he explained. “Armed with this information, we contact them via the app, text, email or our call centre. It's a super cool use case.”

Another key process takes data from the PostgreSQL database and SendGrid, the company’s email marketing tool, for campaign analysis. “We can understand how useful marketing emails were and how people reacted to particular events, whether or not they went on to purchase something from the platform,” said Aynaz Bagherynezhad.


Future-proof infrastructure

The combination of Fivetran and Snowflake has helped CarOnSale achieve market differentiation that is fundamental to its data-driven business model. The needs of buyers and sellers of second-hand cars are quickly met in an end-to-end service powered by analytics. Crucially, it is robust and reliable to use. “Fivetran needs zero maintenance support and you can start immediately. It’s really fast in terms of performance and getting to the data because it does all the ELT work for you,” said Bagherynezhad.

What excites the company about its data infrastructure is not what it can do today, but how it will enable them to differentiate further in the future as they continue to expand into other countries. The inherent flexibility and scalability of cloud-based data integration has already opened up markets in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Austria and the Netherlands.

“Fivetran is the best data integration tool on the market and we haven’t even tapped into a lot of the use cases yet,” said Maximilian Schilling. “Right now, it’s like buying a Ferrari when a Volkswagen would do, but, long term, we will be a lot happier because we can increase our speed as the market demands.”

About Fivetran: Our fully managed pipelines and automated connectors for databases, applications, events, files and functions help extract value more quickly from data, accelerating the path to becoming a data-driven business and achieving competitive advantage through insight-based decision making.

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