Scott Painter

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Scott Painter
Born September 30, 1968 (1968-09-30) (age 45)
Seattle, Washington
Nationality American
Alma mater West Point, University of California at Berkeley
Known for Online auto retail entrepreneurship

Scott Painter (b. 1968) is an American investor and entrepreneur in the technology and automotive industries. He is the founder and CEO of TrueCar, an automotive pricing information and analysis company that creates a better buying experience for dealers and consumers.[1][2]

Painter is a serial entrepreneur having incorporated 37 companies and having raised over $1.25 billion in debt and equity capital for those businesses over the last 20 years.[3] His primary focus is auto-retail and he was the founder and CEO of and Build-To-Order as well as having been an early adviser to numerous automotive businesses including Tesla motors.[1][2] Painter regularly attends TED, All Things D, and is a member of the World Economics Forum, where he has both attended and spoken at Davos.[1][2]

Painter is one of the first customers to reserve a seat on Virgin Galactic, the sub-orbital spaceflight company owned by Sir Richard Branson.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Scott Painter was born in Seattle on September 30, 1968 and grew up in Placer County, California, near Sacramento.[5] He started his first company, a car-detailing service, at the age of 14.[6] After high school, he joined the United States Army and trained to become a Spanish interrogator.[7] He attended West Point, where he studied military strategy and systems engineering. While at West Point he served as class president before transferring to UC Berkeley where he studied political economics.[7][8]


Prior to graduating Berkeley, Painter dropped out to sell his first auto-related startup company, AUTOAccess, an electronic database of used cars for sale. Painter was also an IdeaLab CEO and an eCompanies CEO. His other ventures include, SharesPost, PriceLock,, US Digital Gaming, and Brighthouse.[2][2][5][8][9][9][10][11] Painter was also an early advisor to Tesla[12][12][13]


Painter at race track with TrueCar Racing

Scott Painter is the founder and CEO of TrueCar, Inc., headquartered in Santa Monica, California. TrueCar is an automotive pricing information and analysis company that creates a better buying experience for dealers and consumers.[1] As an online publisher of new and used car transaction data, provides price reports that enable dealers and consumers to agree on the parameters of a fair deal by supplying a transparent understanding of what others recently paid for identically equipped new cars in their geographic area. TrueCar also owns ALG, the benchmark for vehicle value information to the automotive industry, and has been forecasting residual values for nearly 50 years in both the U.S. and Canadian markets. TrueCar was founded in 2005 and through its dealer partners has sold over 600,000 vehicles. It has a national network of more than 5,000 certified dealers.[14]

Inc. Magazine ranked TrueCar as one of 5,000 fastest growing companies in the United States in 2010 and 2011.[15] In 2012, TrueCar was named by the Los Angeles Business Journal as the #1 fastest growing private company based in the Los Angeles area and has been listed at #99 on Deloitte's Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. TrueCar grew 1193 percent during this period.[16][17]

In 2011, Painter launched TrueCar Racing, an all-female racing team, co-sponsored by Penske Media Corporation and Virgin Group.[18][19][20] The racing team supports high-potential women aspiring to become premier race series race car drivers.[21] TrueCar and its partners provide full sponsorship support, professional coaching and training, marketing exposure, and top-tier racing team opportunities throughout the U.S. with the goal of winning races and championships.[19]

Disruption with the auto industry[edit]

In late 2011, TrueCar raised significant debt and equity capital (>$200m) which enabled it to advertise nationally on television.[22][23] Response from consumers and dealers was strong. Consumer usage increased in response to the television campaign that was developed in conjunction with TrueCar investor Guthy-Renker, but dealer and industry criticism was immediate and well documented in a series of Automotive News articles.[3][24] Painter, who is commonly associated with vehicle pricing transparency, up-front pricing and the value of big data in auto retail was nearly boycotted by auto dealers and manufacturers over the fear that TrueCar was responsible for massive discounting.[25] The industry resistance lead to nearly a dozen states launching investigations into the companies practices and policies.[3][22][25] As a result, Painter and TrueCar underwent a nine-month overhaul to ensure national compliance and cooperation with the industry. It has been widely published that TrueCar went through a business turnaround in 2012 that resulted in a return to profitability after having lost nearly $40mm in the first half of the year.[24] In November 2012, Painter spoke directly to the industry about the current status of TrueCar in an Autoline TV interview and Painter was recently featured in Forbes.[3][25] In November 2012, TrueCar went back on television with new commercials and a completely new version of its web experience for both dealers and consumers.[3]


The Technology Council of Southern California named Scott Painter its 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year.[26] He was also listed as a Worth Elite Automobile Innovator in 2009-2010.[27] In 2011, he was a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Greater Los Angeles Area.[28] In 2011, Scott became a member of the Swiss non-profit organization known as the World Economic Forum.[29] In 2012, Painter was named a Technology Pioneer by the WEF.[29]


As part of the Women Empowered initiative, Painter and TrueCar pledged to help fund six female professional racecar drivers.[30] Painter also serves on the boards of several public, private, and nonprofit organizations.,[31] including Save Cal Rugby.

Painter was one of the youngest members to join of the Board of Governors at Cedar Sinai Medical Center.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Scott Painter is married and lives in Los Angeles with his four children.[30]


  1. ^ a b c d David A. Kaplan (January 5, 2012). "Car shopping: A better way?". CNN Money. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Harris, D. (2006). "CarsDirect founder back, this time to aid retailers". Automotive News, 80(6206), 6. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Joann Muller (November 20, 2012). " Founder Gets A Do-Over After Almost Killing His Company". Forbes. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Branson reveals space tourism mothership". 2008. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b DENISE GELLENE (January 14, 2001). "Venturing Where Others Before Him Have Failed". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  6. ^ Lan N. Nguyen (October 12, 2009). "How I made my first million with Scott Painter". Daily Finance. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Scott Painter". Business Rockstars. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Executive Profile: Scott Painter". Bloomberg Businessweek. October 9, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Scott Painter Chief Executive Officer, Zag". iMedia Connection. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  10. ^ Mark Suster (July 1, 2010). "This Week in VC – Scott Painter, CEO of Zag & TrueCar". Both Sides of the Table. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ Dignan, L. (2003). "DUDE, YOU'RE GETTIN' A CAR". Baseline, (21), 13. 
  12. ^ a b "How to Buy Stock in Facebook, Twitter Before They Go Public". Fox News. June 29, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  13. ^ Nauman, Matt. (2009). "DREAM MACHINE – TEST DRIVE: TESLA’S ELECTRIC – AND ELECTRIFYING – ROADSTER". San Jose Mercury News, CA. (1C). 
  14. ^ "Scott Painter: Driving Force for True Change". CSQ. July 1, 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  15. ^ "True Car". Inc. 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  16. ^ "True Car, Inc.". PrivCo. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  17. ^ "True Car". Crunch Base. May 2, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  18. ^ "True Car Racing: Women Empowered". True Car. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b "Virgin Group aligns with TrueCar Racing's IndyCar program, women's initiative". Autoweek. June 13, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  20. ^ "TrueCar Racing Channel". TrueCar/YouTube. Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  21. ^ "TrueCar Racing "Women Empowered" Initiative". True Car Racing. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b "TrueCar raises over $200 million in debt, equity". Reuters. September 7, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  23. ^ Robin Wauters (September 7, 2012). "Car Price Comparison Company TrueCar Raises $200M+, Gears Up For IPO". TechCrunch. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  24. ^ a b David Barkholz (October 15, 2012). "Scott Painter says a rebuilt TrueCar has survived brush with disaster". Automotive news. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b c Jim Henry (December 13, 2011). "Emperor's New Clothes: Sticker Price, Honda And TrueCar". Forbes. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  26. ^ "TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ANNOUNCES RECIPIENTS OF ANNUAL TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY AWARDS: Entrepreneur of the Year – Scott Painter". Technology Council. May 1, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Scott Painter – Understanding the Investment Angels". Metal International. Dec 5, 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  28. ^ "2011 Greater Los Angeles Area finalists". Ernst & Young. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b "Scott Painter". World Economic Forum. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  30. ^ a b Brant James (May 21, 2012). "New initiative is giving female drivers a chance". ESPN W. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  31. ^ Brant James (May 21, 2012). "Our People". Bright House. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  32. ^ Denise Gellene (January 14, 2001). "Venturing Where Others Before Him Have Failed". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 

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