Seeing a need for a quicker, simpler way to sell cars via trading, Cyrus Rafizadeh knew he could use his expertise to help. He then created CarSwap, the number one largest automotive classifieds marketplace.
Cyrus’ journey to his successful technology company began early. At age 15, he enrolled in the University of Houston and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration at 19 as their youngest Bachelors degree graduate. After graduating, he went on to Flinders University and earned his double Masters Degree in International Law & International Relations at age 21, as their youngest double masters degree graduate.
His strong work ethic was instilled in him early as he worked for both his parents throughout childhood. Firstly, at his father’s technology business before moving to work for his mother at her real estate business.
With a good viewpoint on how many industries operate, the need for an easier car selling platform was obvious.
“As I got older, I noticed there was no efficient or effective way to trade cars with other people. The only way was chat forums or car meets, which was very slow and difficult to matchmake with your desired car. So we envisioned an app where you could list your car, send or receive offers and match with someone who wanted your car within minutes.” Cyrus says.
Since starting CarSwap, Cyrus has been proud to have reached achievements with his app every year. In 2016, CarSwap raised $100 thousand dollars of pre-seed capital at a $1 million valuation. In 2019, CarSwap achieved their break even point, a big milestone for tech startups. This past year, though CarSwap was no longer in need of funding for operations -only expansion- they were able to raise additional funding at a $20 million dollar valuation to accelerate their growth.
With all of the successes Cyrus has found with securing funding, there have also been challenges, as there is with any new entrepreneurial venture.
“We’ve been lucky enough to have a relatively smooth (but mentally demanding) experience. Thanks to our team/advisors and effective strategy, we haven’t had what we would call a ‘big challenge’. However, in our opinion, the 2 biggest challenges for a startup would be, firstly, finding the right business partners, who wholeheartedly support/believe the vision, and don’t get lazy or give up before the finish line. Secondly,
It can be challenging learning to listen to the market, and be willing to adapt your vision to exactly what the users want. The latter was simple for us, but we have found can be quite difficult for others,” Cyrus outlines.
Beyond their ability to tackle every challenge that comes their way, Cyrus has also found success promoting CarSwap on social media. To date, they have the largest and most engaged social media following within the automotive classifieds industry with over 1,000,000 active followers across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, This allowed Cyrus and his business partners, including major co-founder Kane Ellis, to spread the word about his app without having a multi-million dollar marketing budget like their competition. Cyrus shared that their ‘cost per current active listing acquisition’ was a fraction of their competitors, thanks to their innovative and engaging social media content.
Even with his successes in raising capital and social media marketing, Cyrus is always looking to continuously advance his business.
“I enjoy cruising through the office at 80 (hours per week) not only because it brings forward future success sooner, but because it also enables our users and clients to receive better results from our products and services quicker,” Cyrus remarks.