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Leslie Osborne's Blinker puts you in the driver's seat

New economy app innovates to put people in control of private used-car experience





Leslie Osborne says overseeing product management is like living an MBA every day. “There's always something new to learn, try and do,” she says. “The competition never sleeps, so Blinker has to keep innovating on ways to put people in control of the private-party used-car experience.”


Blinker is a free mobile app that uses patent-pending, image-recognition technology to empower people to buy, sell, finance and refinance cars themselves with the snap of a photo. The technology pulls up information from the car’s license plate to show the mileage and estimated value of the car. Blinker can also post the car on online marketplaces, where interested buyers can message the seller via the app, and transfer payment and title through the app. The technology also encrypts the information for safety.


The used car market is a $465 billion industry in the U.S., and nearly one-third of all used car sales – roughly 12.5 million cars and $100 billion in sales – were between private parties in 2014. “Despite the huge number of people buying used cars privately every year, most find the process complicated and overwhelming,” Osborne says.

“This is what inspired Blinker. Our company was founded to put people in control of buying, selling, financing and refinancing used cars by making the entire process easier, quicker and safer” –Leslie Osborne

In mid-March, Blinker was selected as the winner of the 2017 SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards in the New Economy category.


Blinker has 48 employees and last year outgrew its first office space in Cherry Creek and moved into twice as much space downtown.  “Our culture is very collaborative, genuine, self-motivated and innovative – not just in product and quality assurance, but across the company as well,” Osborne says.


Consumers want to be in control, so more easy-to-use, peer-to-peer solutions such as Uber and AirBnB will grow.

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Nora Caley

Nora Caley is a freelance writer specializing in business and food topics.

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