Microsoft's Bell Takes Seat on DriverSide's Board of Directors

Auto Site to Announce Funding From Catamount Ventures

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Jeff Bell, who is leaving Microsoft at the end of the summer after two years as VP-global marketing for its interactive-entertainment business arm, is joining the board of directors of auto website DriverSide.
Jeff Bell
Jeff Bell

Mr. Bell, who has extensive auto experience after stints at Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler, told Advertising Age the site "is looking at making [vehicle] ownership easier with more transparency and saving people money." The Oklahoma City native said this marks his first time as a director of a start-up.

DriverSide offers a free suite of products aimed at assisting vehicle owners. Consumers can list their used cars or trucks for sale on the site at no cost, or find the trade-in value of their used vehicles, along with how that will change over the next five years in their market. Next week the site will add a cost-of-repair feature that outlines the price people can expect to pay for specific fixes in their area, said Mr. Bell.

The site has been in beta testing for a month and has had 100,000 unique visitors and 5,000 "garages" in which visitors have uploaded photos of themselves with their cars, he said. "This Web 2.0 initiative significantly benefits new- and used-car dealers, carmakers and all independent automotive product and service companies by creating better-informed and more confident consumers," Mr. Bell added.

Catamount's Silverman joining board
Also joining DriverSide's board is Mark Silverman, managing director of private equity firm Catamount Ventures. Mr. Bell said he met Mr. Silverman two years ago after leaving Chrysler in suburban Detroit and moving west.

DriverSide, based in San Francisco, will announce today its first round of funding from Catamount, although the amount wasn't revealed.

The site was founded last fall by internet entrepreneurs Trevor Traina, Adam Jackson and Jad Dunning. Mr. Traina and his grade-school pal, Mr. Dunning, are probably best known for founding Compare.Net in 1996 and selling it to Microsoft several years later.

Mr. Bell still isn't revealing plans for his next job after the summer.
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