YAA aims to simplify car-buying process, grows into $4.2M venture

(Video: ‘There is a frenzy currently’: This is why it’s a tough market for buying cars)BALTIMORE — What started as a YouTube channel with video tutorials and livestreams that help guide people through the car-buying process is quickly growing with the help of $4.2 million in seed funding.YAA, formerly known as Your Auto Advocate, provides digital tools and on-demand expert support to its growing membership base, imparting information from Ray Shefska’s more than four decades of experience in the auto dealership industry.The YAA YouTube channel, created in December 2019, has more than 113,000 subscribers and almost 17 million video views.Members of the YAA community can engage with Ray and his son, Zach Shefska, through their YouTube livestream videos that include live chat and call-in segments. Users can access YAA at JoinYAA.com, which includes tools and services that can help them negotiate a fair deal using detailed information about cars for sale.Zach Shefska, CEO and co-founder of YAA, announced Monday that their effort raised $4.2 million in seed funding led by investor Flybridge Capital and joined by NextView Ventures, Long Journey Ventures and other investors.”We’ve come so far in such a short period of time, and while we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people already, we know that changing the automotive industry will take a long time. Today’s funding is a major milestone in our effort to move the industry forward and empower consumers everywhere,” Zach Shefska said.Ray Shefska worked for 43 years in retail auto sales before retiring. Then, his son pressed him into service with videos that many have said they found entertaining and informative. Users can find videos that explain how to get a fair car deal, find quotes on extended warranties and work through the entire car-buying process.”I’m still in shock that millions of people watch our videos, go to our website and join our community. At my age, to know that we are helping this many people, and that I get to do it with my son, it’s hard to put into words how rewarding it is,” Ray Shefska said.YAA plans to invest in growing its online community forum, training for “auto advocates” to answer car questions in real-time and improving its car-buying software, which includes market price reports and trade-in valuations. YAA is hiring for multiple positions from auto advocates to member support and marketing staff at an office soon to be opened in Bethesda, Montgomery County.”Investing in YAA fits perfectly with a core value we have — empowering the consumer. We see every car buyer and owner benefiting from YAA over the coming weeks, months and years,” said Jesse Middleton, general partner at Flybridge Capital.”What gets us out of bed in the morning is the idea that we can help people. We realize and appreciate how fortunate we are to have this opportunity,” Zach Shefska said in his announcement of the new funding.

(Video: ‘There is a frenzy currently’: This is why it’s a tough market for buying cars)

BALTIMORE — What started as a YouTube channel with video tutorials and livestreams that help guide people through the car-buying process is quickly growing with the help of $4.2 million in seed funding.

YAA, formerly known as Your Auto Advocate, provides digital tools and on-demand expert support to its growing membership base, imparting information from Ray Shefska’s more than four decades of experience in the auto dealership industry.

The YAA YouTube channel, created in December 2019, has more than 113,000 subscribers and almost 17 million video views.

Members of the YAA community can engage with Ray and his son, Zach Shefska, through their YouTube livestream videos that include live chat and call-in segments. Users can access YAA at JoinYAA.com, which includes tools and services that can help them negotiate a fair deal using detailed information about cars for sale.

Zach Shefska, CEO and co-founder of YAA, announced Monday that their effort raised $4.2 million in seed funding led by investor Flybridge Capital and joined by NextView Ventures, Long Journey Ventures and other investors.

“We’ve come so far in such a short period of time, and while we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people already, we know that changing the automotive industry will take a long time. Today’s funding is a major milestone in our effort to move the industry forward and empower consumers everywhere,” Zach Shefska said.

Ray Shefska worked for 43 years in retail auto sales before retiring. Then, his son pressed him into service with videos that many have said they found entertaining and informative. Users can find videos that explain how to get a fair car deal, find quotes on extended warranties and work through the entire car-buying process.

“I’m still in shock that millions of people watch our videos, go to our website and join our community. At my age, to know that we are helping this many people, and that I get to do it with my son, it’s hard to put into words how rewarding it is,” Ray Shefska said.

YAA plans to invest in growing its online community forum, training for “auto advocates” to answer car questions in real-time and improving its car-buying software, which includes market price reports and trade-in valuations. YAA is hiring for multiple positions from auto advocates to member support and marketing staff at an office soon to be opened in Bethesda, Montgomery County.

“Investing in YAA fits perfectly with a core value we have — empowering the consumer. We see every car buyer and owner benefiting from YAA over the coming weeks, months and years,” said Jesse Middleton, general partner at Flybridge Capital.

“What gets us out of bed in the morning is the idea that we can help people. We realize and appreciate how fortunate we are to have this opportunity,” Zach Shefska said in his announcement of the new funding.