Practical Founders Podcast

#97: Bootstrapped Auto Dealer Software and Sold to Private Equity Buyer – Mike Trasatti

Mike Trasatti spent 10 years in the automotive dealer software business before he found an auto dealer in Iowa who had built is own complete software system. They partnered up in 2008, and Mike became the first CEO of the spinout software company, DealerBuilt.

DealerBuilt grew slowly as a bootstrapped startup in a market full of large incumbent competitors. They had a better approach to managing multiple dealers in a group with their dealer management system (DMS). DealerBuilt is powerful software that manages the entire financial operations of an auto dealer in the US. 

They grew steadily to 450 dealer customers and 100 employees in 10 years before deciding to partner with ParkerGale, a private equity investor, to help them with their next growth stage in 2019. Mike continued as CEO until 2023, navigating through the COVID years and acquiring several “tuck-in” products to extend the DealerBuilt solution. Mike is now an independent advisor to DealerBuilt and other organizations. 


Quote from Mike Trasatti, former CEO of DealerBuilt

“You’re constantly challenged in the entrepreneurial world. Do you really know what you’re doing? Self-doubt can be tremendously harmful to CEOs. I don’t think you can get into this business without a strong image of yourself and real confidence.

“But you have to balance confidence with humility because you’ll make mistakes. You’re going to have setbacks every week, and some very big ones, too. You can’t lose enthusiasm: You need enough confidence that you’re on the right path and that will carry you more than anything else. Those who don’t lose enthusiasm win.

“When you have both confidence and humility, you won’t be afraid to be around people who are better than you. And you’ll feel comfortable in that space, leading smart people who are championing your journey. They will look at you and think, I want to be there with you to champion this for you. That’s success as a leader.”



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Greg Head recorded this on episode on June 14, 2024 for the Practical Founders Podcast see all of the episodes.

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