DealerPolicy to Expand in Williston With $110 Million Infusion | Off Message

DealerPolicy to Expand in Williston With $110 Million Infusion

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Travis Fitzgerald, DealerPolicy CEO - COURTESY OF DEALERPOLICY
  • Courtesy of DealerPolicy
  • Travis Fitzgerald, DealerPolicy CEO
DealerPolicy, a Williston software company that started just five years ago, has obtained $110 million in investment funding and plans to hire about 100 people as it expands.

In Vermont, deals of around $5 million still garner notice. That $110 million is more than all of the combined venture investing in 31 companies in the state last year, said Cairn Cross, whose Shelburne company, FreshTracks Capital, was a minor player in the DealerPolicy deal.

The move could draw interest and build confidence in companies based in Chittenden County and in Vermont, said Jeff Couture of the Vermont Technology Alliance.



“Investment draws other investment, or at least draws the attention” of people who keep track of business deals nationally, said Couture. He noted that some employees drawn to Vermont by the fast-growing Dealer.com software company years ago started their own businesses in town. Dealer.com was eventually sold, the second time to Cox Automotive in 2015 in a $4 billion deal.

“I hope it’s the beginning of more to come” for other Vermont companies, Couture said.

About a dozen former executives at Dealer.com work at DealerPolicy. But CEO Travis Fitzgerald said there’s no connection between the two businesses.

DealerPolicy makes software that provides car dealers with insurance quote comparisons for customers. The company was started in 2016 by Fitzgerald, whose family owns an independent car dealership in Milton, and Jeff Mongeon, who was the vice president of a Winooski insurance company.
The DealerPolicy investment, announced August 26, would be the largest in the state’s history, by far, if it weren’t for the $368 million that BETA Technologies of Burlington, which makes electric aircraft, raised in May.

“Both things together in one year is unheard of,” said Cross.

Fitzgerald said Thursday that DealerPolicy plans to hire 100 people by year's end to work in the Williston headquarters or remotely. The company, which now employs 250, has customers in 48 states, and some of its workers live as far away as California in order to provide direct service to clients. But most of the new hires will work in Vermont, Fitzgerald said.

“Our preference is always that somebody live locally, and that they are able to spend time at the office,” he said. That’s not happening at the moment because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s just better collaboration; it’s a preferred way to work.”

The last few years have been busy ones in the Vermont tech sector despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. In June, a video conference company cofounded by a Champlain College professor received a round of investment worth $6 million.

In July, the Burlington software company Faraday announced it had received $4 million to help it grow. And on August 31, South Burlington hardware provider OnLogic announced plans to spend $50 million on a new 125,000-square-foot headquarters.

“Chittenden County, and to some extent the state, for its size, are sort of punching above our weight in terms of the types of businesses being formed, and in terms of attention,” said Couture.
While the pandemic did make it more difficult for people who are in business to do their research in person, Couture said, it might also have helped shine a light on Vermont. The state has consistently led the nation in COVID-19 safety measures and outcomes, earning national and even international press for its low per capita infection, hospitalization and death rates. The state's vaccination rate — 77.4 percent of residents over age 12 have been fully vaccinated — also has kept it at the top, or near the top, of national comparisons.

“The background of Vermont as a place that seems to be forward-thinking: That’s all part of recruiting for these companies,” said Couture.

Fitzgerald and Mongeon both graduated from Colchester High School and want to stay close to home.



“We may end up having local independent agencies scattered throughout the country to support our growth, but in terms of our primary headquarters, we intend to be in Vermont for the foreseeable future,” Fitzgerald said.

Correction, September 10, 2021: A previous version of this story misidentified Jeff Couture's technology group. And OnLogic makes hardware, not software.