TrueCar Raises Series A

TrueCar, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based online provider of car-pricing data, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding. Backers include Zag.com, Anthem Venture Partners, Global Retail Partners, Capricorn, Capital One Auto Finance and Arcturus Capital. The company is run by Scott Painter, founder and ex-CEO of CarsDirect.com, and Tom Taira, co-founder and former chief strategy officer for Zag.com.

PRESS RELEASE

Tearing down the curtain of secrecy around new-car pricing, automotive and technology pioneers Scott Painter and Tom Taira launched a new company, TrueCar (http://www.truecar.com), at TechCrunch50.

In a related announcement, TrueCar unveiled the company’s flagship product – the TrueCar new-car pricing tool – at the TechCrunch50 conference.

TrueCar is the authority on new-car pricing. It goes beyond anything else available to show the full range of prices people have actually paid for particular cars in a local market area. Most important, it gives real guidance on what should be considered a good price, a great price and over-priced for specific cars. It’s unbiased and independent – TrueCar does not connect buyers with dealers, and TrueCar shares the full range of data itself rather than opinion about what prices should be. TrueCar will bring pricing transparency to auto retailing, much as Zillow has done in the real estate market.

TrueCar is based in Santa Monica, Calif. Series A investors include Zag, Anthem Venture Partners, Global Retail Partners, Capricorn, Capital One Auto Finance, Arcturus Capital, Painter and Taira.

Both Painter and Taira have been instrumental in the evolution of online car buying, sharing the goal of bringing together state-of-the-art technology, superior dealer and customer services, and a commitment to upfront pricing to usher in the era of total transparency in automotive retail.

Painter is TrueCar’s CEO and Taira is president. Another leader in automotive and technology ventures, Rob Taylor, joins TrueCar as chief operating officer.

“With TrueCar, we’re elevating new-car pricing transparency far beyond anything else available to consumers and dealers,” said Painter. “I can’t think of another commodity business where the bottom-line price has been kept so out of reach. That secretive, haggling approach is no longer a viable business strategy for dealers, now that buyers can search for cars online and don’t have to buy from the dealer down the street. We’re simply making the full spectrum of pricing information available to the marketplace – to buyers and to dealers. Market forces will take over and the best dealers will thrive in this new era of transparency. Isn’t that how it should be?”

Scott Painter, CEO

Painter is known as an entrepreneur drawn to game-changing ideas that solve big problems or make an experience better. As founder and CEO of CarsDirect.com, Build-to-Order and Zag, Painter has been instrumental in bringing car shopping online and is credited with being the first to introduce upfront pricing on the Internet.

Through Zag, Painter has introduced to the marketplace a new auto retail paradigm – and the technology platform that puts it into motion – that lets consumers shop for cars through affinity organizations they already trust and get upfront prices from a network of the best dealers in the country. It also gives dealers introductions to more-informed buyers who are ready to purchase.

Painter is also co-founder of Pricelock, an innovative company that is providing protection from rising gas prices; and co-founder and board member of BrightHouse, Inc., an incubator that discovers and methodically develops big ideas into market-changing companies.

Tom Taira, President

Prior to TrueCar, Taira was co-founder and chief strategy officer for Zag, responsible for the company’s product development and program management activities. Taira met Painter while working together at Build-to-Order, a new American car company formed on the notion of changing the way cars were developed, manufactured and distributed.

Taira began his automotive career more than eleven years ago at Toyota Motor Sales, where he held various corporate planning, product planning and ebusiness roles. His vast expertise in the automotive industry has made him a sought-after consultant in the areas of online retailing, advanced vehicle strategy, brand development and technology development. He has provided his strategic services to a dozen OEMs, including Cadillac, Chevrolet, HUMMER, Mazda, Nissan, Pontiac, Saturn, Subaru and Toyota.

Rob Taylor, Chief Operating Officer

Taylor has an extensive background in senior-level operations and management, specializing in product development, operational leadership and execution in preparing companies for rapid growth. Most recently, Taylor was chief operating officer/chief strategist for Pricelock, Inc., a venture-funded organization that allows business fleets to pre-purchase fuel at a set price at any retail gas station, eliminating price volatility risk.

He also has served as president of LC Group, a management advisory and investment firm; and chief operating officer for Quepasa Corp., a bilingual online community and social networking site targeting Latino markets worldwide. Previously he held management posts for CSC Index, a division of Computer Sciences Corp. and Michelin Tire Corp.

About TechCrunch50

Founded in 2007 by leading technology blog TechCrunch and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, the TechCrunch50 conference provides a platform for earlystage, and frequently unfunded, companies to launch for the first time to the technology industry’s most influential venture capitalists, corporations, angel investors, fellow entrepreneurs and the international media. Companies are selected to participate exclusively on merit. TechCrunch50 is supported by corporate sponsors Google, Microsoft, MySpace and Yahoo!, as well as venture capital firms including Sequoia Capital, Mayfield Fund, Clearstone Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, Founders Fund and Fenwick & West.

About TrueCar

TrueCar (www.truecar.com) is the authority on new-car pricing. It aggregates multiple data sources to show car buyers and dealers how much people actually paid for a particular car in their geographic area. It is offered online, free of charge – so anyone can know at any time what is considered a good or great price. Consumers no longer walk into the dealership only partially informed and fully suspicious: they walk in knowing exactly the price of a fair deal. Dealers gain real-time, unbiased information about marketplace pricing, helping them know how to price their cars to sell more and gain market share from other dealers. Founded by automotive and technology pioneers Scott Painter and Tom Taira, TrueCar is based in Santa Monica, Calif.

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