Scott Painter

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Scott Painter
Scott Painter.jpg
Born September 30, 1968 (1968-09-30) (age 49)
Seattle, Washington
Nationality American
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.[1]

In 2016, he founded Fair, a Los Angeles-based automotive financial technology company.

Previously, Painter founded and served as the CEO of TrueCar, Inc. NASDAQTRUE a negotiation-free car buying platform and analysis company.[2][3][4] Prior to TrueCar, he was the founder and CEO of, an online automotive research portal and car-buying service that introduced upfront pricing to auto retail.

He has advised a number of automotive businesses including Tesla Motors.[2][3][5] Painter regularly attends TED, All Things D, and is a member of the World Economic Forum.[6]

Automotive insights[edit]

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[edit]

Painter was born in Seattle on September 30, 1968 and grew up in Placer County, California, near Sacramento.[7] He started his first company, Scott's Auto Dealing, at the age of 14.[8][9] After high school, he joined the United States Army and trained to become a Spanish interrogator.[9] 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.[10]


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,, SharesPost, PriceLock,, US Digital Gaming, and Brighthouse.[3][7][10][11][12][13] Painter was also an early advisor to Tesla.[14][15]


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.


Painter at race track with TrueCar Racing

In 2005, Painter founded TrueCar, Inc.NASDAQ: TRUE, which was originally incorporated under the name Inc. and is headquartered in Santa Monica, California.[17] TrueCar was the first car buying platform[3] to provide car-buyers with a transparent insight into what other buyers paid, upfront pricing information, and a network of TrueCar certified dealers.[18]

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.[19] 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.[19]

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.[20]

Inc. Magazine ranked TrueCar as one of 5,000 fastest growing companies in the United States in 2010 and 2011.[21] 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,[22] 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.[23] In 2014, HIRED named TrueCar as one of the top ten companies to work for in Los Angeles.[24] TrueCar's website was named one of the 50 best websites of 2014 by TIME.[25]

On August 6, 2015, it was announced that Painter would step down as CEO of TrueCar by the end of 2015.[26]


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[42] [43]. 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[edit]

In late 2011, TrueCar raised significant debt and equity capital (>$200m) which enabled it to advertise nationally on television.[16] 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.[17][18] 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.[19] The industry resistance led to nearly a dozen states launching investigations into the company's practices and policies.[17][19][20] 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.[18][21] 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.[17][19] 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.[17]


The Technology Council of Southern California named Painter its 2009 and 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year.[22][23] 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.[24] Painter won the EY Award for Entrepreneur of the Year in consumer services for 2014.[24]

In 2011, Painter became a member of the Swiss non-profit organization known as the World Economic Forum.[25] In 2012, Painter was named a Technology Pioneer by the WEF.[25]


In 2011, Painter launched TrueCar Racing, an all-female racing team, co-sponsored by Penske Media Corporation and Virgin Group.[26][27] 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.[26]

Painter was one of the youngest members to join of the Board of Governors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.[28] In 2013, TrueCar sponsored and volunteered to build a learning garden at the Bud Carson Middle School[29] and donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Scott Painter lives in Los Angeles. He is twice divorced with 4 children (2 from each marriage).[31]


  1. ^ Muller, Joann. " Founder Gets A Do-Over After Almost Killing His Company". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-06-14. 
  2. ^ a b David A. Kaplan (January 5, 2012). "Car shopping: A better way?". CNN Money. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Harris, D. (2006). "CarsDirect founder back, this time to aid retailers". Automotive News, 80(6206), 6. 
  4. ^ Natalie Jarvey (2013-12-12). "TrueCar Raises $30 Million". Los Angeles Business Journal. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  5. ^ Edward Lewine (2014-02-22). "In His Office, There's Always Cause for Celebration". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  6. ^ "Scott Painter | World Economic Forum". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2017-06-14. 
  7. ^ a b DENISE GELLENE (January 14, 2001). "Venturing Where Others Before Him Have Failed". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  8. ^ Lan N. Nguyen (October 12, 2009). "How I made my first million with Scott Painter". Daily Finance. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b David Hochman (2014-02-26). "TrueCar CEO Scott Painter Talks Cars, Life And Saving His Company". Forbes. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  10. ^ a b "Executive Profile: Scott Painter". Bloomberg Businessweek. October 9, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Scott Painter Chief Executive Officer, Zag". iMedia Connection. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  12. ^ Mark Suster (July 1, 2010). "This Week in VC – Scott Painter, CEO of Zag & TrueCar". Both Sides of the Table. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  13. ^ Dignan, L. (2003). "DUDE, YOU'RE GETTIN' A CAR". Baseline, (21), 13. 
  14. ^ "How to Buy Stock in Facebook, Twitter Before They Go Public". Fox News. June 29, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  15. ^ Nauman, Matt. (2009). "DREAM MACHINE – TEST DRIVE: TESLA'S ELECTRIC – AND ELECTRIFYING – ROADSTER". San Jose Mercury News, CA. (1C). 
  16. ^ Robin Wauters (September 7, 2012). "Car Price Comparison Company TrueCar Raises $200M+, Gears Up For IPO". TechCrunch. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c d Joann Muller (November 20, 2012). " Founder Gets A Do-Over After Almost Killing His Company". Forbes. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  18. ^ a b David Barkholz (October 15, 2012). "Scott Painter says a rebuilt TrueCar has survived brush with disaster". Automotive news. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c Jim Henry (December 13, 2011). "Emperor's New Clothes: Sticker Price, Honda And TrueCar". Forbes. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  20. ^ "TrueCar raises over $200 million in debt, equity". Reuters. September 7, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  21. ^ "TrueCar, Inc". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  22. ^ "Entrepreneur of the Year". Technology Council. 2012. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  23. ^ "Award Recipients". Technology Council. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  24. ^ a b "EY Entrepreneur of the Year". EY. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  25. ^ a b "Scott Painter". World Economic Forum. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b "Virgin Group aligns with TrueCar Racing's IndyCar program, women's initiative". Autoweek. June 13, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  27. ^ "TrueCar Racing Channel". TrueCar/YouTube. Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  28. ^ Denise Gellene (January 14, 2001). "Venturing Where Others Before Him Have Failed". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Photos: New Gardens at Bud Carson Middle School in Hawthorne". Retrieved 2017-06-14. 
  30. ^ "Carson Daly Hosts Prepare or Beware Halloween Youth Run and Fair". American Red Cross. Retrieved 2017-06-14. 
  31. ^ Brant James (May 21, 2012). "New initiative is giving female drivers a chance". ESPN W. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]