Autoist finds your car so you don't have to
All the cars for sale on the internet -- in one convenient place
Where: Denver / Web: www.autoist.com / founded: 2014
Initial Lightbulb: Autoist co-founders Chris Loar and Mike Simon have known each other since they were kids.
“We’ve lived together, worked together, and done a couple of startups and exits together,” says Loar.
The pair started their software development firm, the D&T Group, after their most recent exit, selling Original Wraps to 3M in 2011.
The idea for Autoist sprung from D&T’s startup – and a serious case of automobile enthusiasm. “I’m a huge car guy,” says Loar.
He says he found himself scouring the Internet for hours in pursuit of specific makes and models. “I thought, ‘This is insane. I’m shocked someone hasn’t fixed this yet,’” Loar recalls.
So he came up with Autoist as a means of making it easier for himself. Loar realized he was onto something when he was able to buy a collectible car from an Illinois seller from the comfort of a Friday night poker game. By Saturday morning, the seller was inundated with offers that were higher than the asking price, but the deal was done.
Loar is now CEO, and Simon serves as VP of marketing for the five-employee company.
In a Nutshell:
Autoist released a beta version in summer 2015, then launched its official app and browser-based versions in November. The company’s technology now combs through about 800 URLs, ranging from Craigslist to eBay to Auto Trader. Searches remain active until users shut them down.
“We find 2,000 to 3,000 cars a day,” says Loar. “We just want to be that simple component where you put something in and the system does the rest. Having a real-time snapshot of high-low and where a vehicle falls in this marketplace, we feel is really unique.”
Autoist is a good fit for the changing used car market, he adds. “In general, people are getting a little smarter and are willing to spend more time to find a quality car.”
The business plan is to develop a user-base before monetizing the concept. “If we have 1 million users, we can monetize it in 1,000 different ways,” says Loar, citing a possible commission-based model or selling data to third-party buyers.
There are more than 40 million used car sales in the U.S. in a calendar year, and there’s a crowded field of publications, websites and forums that advertise. “You’ve got five to 10 really big players, and they probably make up 80 percent of the marketplace, maybe 90 percent,” says Loar.
The startup was self-financed by the founders, but the company is “pursuing outside capital,” says Loar. “In a perfect world, we would not do that, but it’s becoming big enough that we might need it.”