Summer of StartUps: TrueCar

Today’s Summer of Startup gives car shoppers a unique confidence in their purchase decisions and strives to create more informed customers. Find out more about TrueCar and what you might gain from a position at their company:

Can you share the company’s elevator pitch with us?

Truecar.com is a new car pricing site that gives car shoppers absolute price confidence around their purchase decision by showing them what other people have paid for the same car within the last 30 days. The site is beneficial for both consumers and dealers because it provides trust and clarity around the car buying transaction. Informed consumers are more likely to buy, and dealers who embrace upfront pricing are likely to sell more cars without sacrificing margin. In addition, Truecar.com conducts some of the most accurate automotive sales forecasting in the industry and conducts and distributes notable research on industry trends. Truecar.com is the authority in new car pricing.

How did the company get started?

Truecar.com was incubated out of Zag.com in 2009 to further CEO/Founder Scott Painter’s mission of improving the car buying process for both consumer and dealers. Zag.com powers auto buying programs for some of the nation’s leading and far-reaching brands including USAA, American Express, several AAA Clubs, Ovestock.com and 45 others. Today, over 90% of car shoppers begin their process on the internet. The industry and the web get an A plus for the distribution of product information. As a result of this, the primary online activity of in-market car shoppers has shifted to price discovery, the immediate step prior to making a purchase. This is where TrueCar.com comes in to play. Much like sites like Zillow and Pricegrabber, TrueCar.com is a pricing tool for consumers and retailers.

Who had the idea?

The idea belongs to Scott Painter. Scott Painter is passionate about cars, direct-to-consumer businesses and technology, and his expertise lie where those three converge. He is drawn to big, game-changing ideas that solve big problems or make an experience better and he lives by one rule: Transform the car buying process by bringing truth and transparency to the automotive industry. Scott’s a car guy, he even started his own detailing business when he was 14, just for the thrill of driving the nice cars in his neighborhood up his driveway. Scott later founded Carsdirect.com, leading to the first generation of online car sites and propelling the world’s major automotive manufacturers and their franchised dealerships to embrace the internet. What Scott realized through these businesses was that the joy and excitement of owning a new car was antithetical to the car buying process, that’s why zag.com and truecar.com were born, to make car buying easier, better and dare we say, more fun.

Was there an “A Ha!” moment?

The “aha” moment was when Scott realized that there was a vacuum in the industry for the robust, detailed pricing information that truecar.com offers. Product information is easy to find, but pricing information isn’t. In the end, every consumer wants the peace of mind of knowing what a good price is for a product, especially on a high-ticket item where negotiation is involved. Scott believes that the new car has become a commodity, the same BMW 5 series you buy in Dallas, is the same BMW 5 series you buy in Beverly Hills, so why is it that two people visiting the same dealership on the same day pay two vastly different prices? That’s why pricing information is so valuable, and that’s why Truecar.com is so valuable.

Tell us about your funding history.

Truecar.com is a fully funded company and recently closed a $30M round of financing. This financing will provide the company with additional expansion and acquisition capital.

How many employees do you have?

We are 40 and growing. In October 2009 there were only 17 employees.

Where are they based?
Santa Monica, California.

How would you describe work life at the company?
Collaborative, fast paced, flexible, adaptable, pro-active, and meaningful. As a company, we’re upbeat, passionate and energetic.

For which roles or functions are you hiring?
Technology:
System Administrator
Quality Assurance
And, always Developers (mostly Flex &/or Python)

What do you look for in potential employees?

First the experience, knowledge, education and skills (we only hire SMEs), then where they have worked (is it a natural segue?) and for how long (will they stick around?). After that we screen for determination, initiative, innovation, passion, integrity, customer focused, excellence of execution & collaboration.

Do you have any advice for folks new to startup employment?

It’s a very personal atmosphere. You’ll work hard and you will see the fruits of your labor and you’ll probably be wearing a few hats. It’s an exciting place to be. If you’re at Truecar.com, you’ll watch the company grow in size and stature and you will be a crucial part of the success. We are constantly recognizing the hard work of our employees, they are what drives us forward.

What’s the one thing you would like readers to remember about the company?

TrueCar is focused on improving the time-consuming and frustrating task of buying a car so consumers know they received a fair deal. If you’re passionate, dedicated, you work hard and you like to have fun, then we would like you to come along for the ride with us.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Go to Truecar.com and check out what we do. We hope you’re as excited as we are.

One Response to “Summer of StartUps: TrueCar”

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