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|Born||September 30, 1968 (age 49)
|Alma mater||West Point, University of California at Berkeley|
|Known for||Online auto retail entrepreneurship|
Scott Painter (born September 30, 1968) is an American investor and entrepreneur in the technology and automotive industries, and is recognized as an authority on the future of the automotive industry.
Painter has founded dozens of companies over the past 25 years, for which he’s raised over $1.27 billion in debt and equity capital.
In 2016, he founded Fair, a Los Angeles-based automotive financial technology company.
Previously, Painter founded and served as the CEO of TrueCar, Inc. NASDAQ: TRUE a negotiation-free car buying platform and analysis company. Prior to TrueCar, he was the founder and CEO of CarsDirect.com, an online automotive research portal and car-buying service that introduced upfront pricing to auto retail.
Painter believes the automotive industry is evolving from a traditional manufacturing and retail model to a service-oriented recurring-revenue model that connects companies and consumers for life. He champions the idea that personal car ownership consumer preference is steadfast and embedded in the U.S. infrastructure and economy; this is in stark contrast to those who believe car ownership is dead.
Early life and education
Painter was born in Seattle on September 30, 1968 and grew up in Placer County, California, near Sacramento. He started his first company, Scott's Auto Dealing, at the age of 14. After high school, he joined the United States Army and trained to become a Spanish interrogator. 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.
Painter left UC Berkeley prior to graduation to sell his first auto-related startup company, AUTOAccess, an electronic database of used cars for sale. Prior to founding TrueCar, he initiated and was involved in other ventures, including IdeaLab, eCompanies, Advertise.com, SharesPost, PriceLock, CarsDirect.com, US Digital Gaming, Zag.com and Brighthouse. Painter was also an early advisor to Tesla.
Founded in 1998 by Painter, CarsDirect was the first company to sell vehicles online directly to consumers, rather than referring consumers to brick-and-mortar dealers. It also was the first to introduce the concept of an upfront price on a new car.
In 2005, Painter founded TrueCar, Inc.NASDAQ: TRUE, which was originally incorporated under the name Zag.com Inc. and is headquartered in Santa Monica, California. TrueCar was the first car buying platform to provide car-buyers with a transparent insight into what other buyers paid, upfront pricing information, and a network of TrueCar certified dealers.
Since its launch, TrueCar has established a national network of more than 10,000 certified dealers and its users have purchased over 2 million cars. The company estimates that TrueCar users purchasing cars from certified dealers accounted for approximately 3.2% of all new car sales in the United States in the first quarter of 2014, excluding fleet car sales, an increase from 2.4% in 2013 and 1.5% in 2012.
Under Painter’s leadership, TrueCar acquired ALG, which is 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.
Inc. Magazine ranked TrueCar as one of 5,000 fastest growing companies in the United States in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, TrueCar was named by the Los Angeles Business Journal as the #1 fastest growing private company based in the Los Angeles area in 2013, and the company was ranked #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. In 2014, HIRED named TrueCar as one of the top ten companies to work for in Los Angeles. TrueCar's website was named one of the 50 best websites of 2014 by TIME.
On August 6, 2015, it was announced that Painter would step down as CEO of TrueCar by the end of 2015.
In 2016, Painter founded Fair, an automotive financial technology company. Along with several early key investments, Fair raised over $16 million in its first seed round . With over 90% of consumers financing their vehicles today, Fair’s focus is on reinventing the auto finance landscape, and transforming the way people finance, acquire and own vehicles.
Fair aims to revolutionize car ownership by redefining the Car as a Service (CaaS). This new model gives more people access to vehicles via an affordable personalized monthly payment, with no fixed term. The Fair app provides a digital experience from end-to-end, instantly prequalifying the consumer, and allowing them to acquire the vehicle all via their smartphone.
Fair is the first FinTech company to utilize Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to generate predicative car values and depreciations. By harnessing the power of big data, pattern learnings and predictive analytics the current and future value of a vehicle shifts from an art to a science. A.I. is also used to inform how much a consumer can afford on a monthly basis. This enables Fair to underwrite the contract and manage the financial terms.
Disruption with the auto industry
In late 2011, TrueCar raised significant debt and equity capital (>$200m) which enabled it to advertise nationally on television. 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 significant and well documented in a series of Automotive News articles. Painter, who is commonly associated with vehicle pricing transparency, up-front pricing and the value of big data in auto retail, received pushback from auto dealers and manufacturers over the fear that TrueCar was responsible for significant retail price discounting. The industry resistance led to nearly a dozen states launching investigations into the company's practices and policies. As a result, Painter and TrueCar underwent a nine-month regulatory compliance overhaul and initiated industry outreach programs. TrueCar went through a business turnaround in 2012 that resulted in the company reporting in its S-1 filing that it had generated positive adjusted EBITDA in 2013 after having lost over $40 million in 2012. In November 2012, Painter spoke directly to the industry about the current status of TrueCar in an Autoline TV interview and Painter was also recently featured in Forbes. 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.
The Technology Council of Southern California named Painter its 2009 and 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2011 and 2014, he was named a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Greater Los Angeles Area. Painter won the EY Award for Entrepreneur of the Year in consumer services for 2014.
In 2011, Painter launched TrueCar Racing, an all-female racing team, co-sponsored by Penske Media Corporation and Virgin Group. The racing team supported high-potential women aspiring to become premier race series race car drivers. TrueCar and its partners provided 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.
Painter was one of the youngest members to join of the Board of Governors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In 2013, TrueCar sponsored and volunteered to build a learning garden at the Bud Carson Middle School and donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross.
Scott Painter lives in Los Angeles. He is twice divorced with 4 children (2 from each marriage).
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