Vanarama founder set for new venture

The founder of Vanarama, which was acquired by Auto Trader in 2022, has hinted that he’s set to help other entrepreneurs tackle digitalisation, scaling up businesses and fostering healthy corporate cultures now that he has ended his garden leave.

Andy Alderson said the past few months have given him thinking time, and he’s decided to neither ‘go again’ building a new business nor to take early retirement. He wants to share the lessons learned in almost 20 years building up an automotive tech business with other entrepreneurs, and said he will announce soon just how he’ll do that and who with.

Bidding goodbye to Vanarama left a hole in his identity, he said. “Saying goodbye and walking away wasn’t easy. Not after I gave so much over so many years. Since I started the business from scratch in 2004, we leased over 140,000 vehicles, employed nearly 1,100 people, won countless awards, and built a brand that became a household name. Oh, and let’s not forget the £200m exit,” Alderson write on LinkedIn this week.

He’s been thinking hard how to best deploy his skills, knowledge and wealth. “Distilling down what it actually took to go from a Portakabin on a used car lot all the way to getting acquired by a FTSE 100 behemoth, filled me with gratitude, pride, and a new sense of identity. The identity of someone who can help and guide others on similar journeys.”

Those learnings he’s distilled include understanding what a brand really is, the hiring of brilliant people and the firing of toxic talent, creating a culture, raising money and how to choose the right investors, building a board, and managing shareholders, navigating a digital transformation and the power of being tech-enabled and scalable.

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