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MANHATTAN, Kansas — A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is expected to help homegrown auction tech company Purple Wave scale into the global brand its co-founders always dreamed it could be, said Aaron McKee.
Purple Wave on Tuesday announced a “significant” investment from Copart, Inc., as well as a trajectory-boosting strategic partnership with the global leader in online auto auctions.
“We chose this partnership because it helps us gain an international footprint, an unparalleled international auction community, advanced technologies, and domain knowledge that absolutely no other partner could bring to the table,” said McKee, co-founder of online equipment marketplace Purple Wave alongside his wife, Suzy McKee.
The deal allows Purple Wave — a pioneer in the online auction industry, selling items directly from the seller’s location through no-reserve online auctions — to build upon the community of equipment buyers and sellers it has assembled since the Manhattan company’s founding in 2000.
Financial details of the investment and partnership were not disclosed.
“We have worked together to build a partnership that we are all very proud of,” McKee said. “This represents a significant investment, but we are all in from a capital and personal standpoint looking to the future. Capital was not our limiting factor, in fact Suzy and I are literally not taking a dollar of cash off the table in connection with the investment by Copart.”
Click here to check out Purple Wave’s auction platform, which applies its solutions across multiple industries — construction contractors, agricultural producers, fleet owners, and governmental agencies.
Copart leaders recognized the uniqueness of Purple Wave’s digital-first approach, said Jeff Liaw, co-CEO of Dallas-based Copart.
“This collaboration allows us to leverage our collective expertise for the betterment of our respective marketplaces,” said Liaw. “Most importantly, it reflects our shared commitment to creating long-term value through excellence and innovation.”
Copart’s involvement will support Purple Wave’s mission as it continues to be the easiest, most straightforward way to buy and sell equipment, said McKee, noting the founders and leadership team of Purple Wave will continue to lead the company.
“This is all part of the founder-led culture that is deep in the fiber of Copart’s DNA,” said McKee. “We have put together a partnership that is designed for us to continue to operate Purple Wave as partners in an independent company and brand, while still benefiting from shared efficiencies and resources that help both companies better serve our buyers and sellers.”
As a longtime member of Pipeline Entrepreneurs, McKee said, it’s difficult to imagine where Purple Wave would be without the resources provided by the elite network of Midwest founders.
McKee was among the finalists for Pipeline’s 2023 Member Growth Award.
“It’s been a pivotal factor for Purple Wave to achieve the growth, market presence and experience to achieve an opportunity like this,” said McKee. “I have relied on regular mentorship from my Pipeline network at every step of the way through the process of scaling Purple Waves community, and especially while putting together this partnership.”
“It is awesome to look back at the accomplishments and how Pipeline has been there to support me since 2015 when I joined the program,” he added.
This story is made possible by Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures.
Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV) is a business unit of NetWork Kansas supporting innovative, high-growth entrepreneurs in the State of Kansas. NetWork Kansas promotes an entrepreneurial environment by connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with the expertise, education and economic resources they need to succeed.