BMW is partnering with blockchain startup Bloom to simplify the car buying experience, including streamlining the process of getting a car loan. "Bloom announces its collaboration with BMW Group Financial Services to streamline its customer journey and lending experience as part of the BMW Collaboration Lab 2018," Bloom founder Shannon Wu wrote in a company blog last week.
The San Francisco, Calif.-based startup considers the traditional lending process as cumbersome. A few of its problems include placing consumer data at risk while struggling to accurately score borrowers. Wu said that Bloom's blockchain-powered mobile app will help BMW's customers secure their personal data on a local device and apply for credit. She said her firm is committed to a seamless onboarding process (for car buyers) and that blockchain technology doesn't have to involve a steep learning curve.
The first-ever BMW Financial Services Collaboration Lab works with six startups to potentially transform the automotive industry through a 10-week ideation process with industry experts in the automaker's Hilliard, Ohio offices.
BMW is also looking at disruptive payment solutions. The same announcement mentioned Supermoney, a blockchain venture that is developing a digital wallet that could possibly make its way to auto dealerships across the country — if the solution is adopted. "In-store and online, customers can pay with a simple QR scan," according to a company statement. "The product runs on a system of smart contracts that effectively and efficiently manage counterparty risk, protecting both buyer and seller."
If the Bloom and Supermoney partnerships succeed, it should be good news for car buyers. The German automaker's blockchain initiative is a bold move to differentiate itself from other automakers. Moreover, blockchain tech lends credence to a brand that positions itself as a high-end manufacturer of the "ultimate driving machine." The car buying experience has been known for long delays, gamesmanship by dealers and unethical practices that turn off many consumers. Blockchain is considered a disruptive way of streamlining
and digitizing archaic, manual processes.
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Streamlining Car Dealership Processes
BMW Financial Services, through its Bloom partnership, is expected to roll out a streamlined and easy lending experience to improve the customer journey. Ian Smith, CEO of BMW Group Financial Services USA, stated that BMW is "looking to examine any and all methods of how blockchain ledgers could support the transformation of current data warehousing, payment, and customer information tracking. Ultimately, our goal is to enable BMW to automate a lot of processing and increase the tracking and security of information."
Smith discusses collaborating with entrepreneurial companies to drive new thinking, explore new technologies and develop pioneering solutions. "Collaboration is where innovation and implementation meet." To help realize the partnership's goals, Bloom and five other startups will spend 10 weeks at BMW's offices in Hilliard, Ohio to leverage subject matter experts in the automotive and financial sectors.
Other partnerships from the same program include carLABS which uses cognitive, conversational AI-powered platform for automating and enhancing sales and marketing in the automotive vertical. A different startup, Omniscience, is building underwriting and capital modeling solutions as part of an innovative analytics platform.
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