A Best of Show winner from FinovateFall 2016 – and a veteran of our FinDEVr developers conference, as well – Irvine, California-based AutoGravity specializes in leveraging smartphone technology to make it easier to buy a car.
Why? In part because that’s where the money is. AutoGravity CMO Serge Vartanov explained from the Finovate stage that 85% of new cars are purchased with a loan or lease, “and there’s over 1 trillion dollars in auto loan originations outstanding in the U.S. alone.” Saying that the auto financing industry is where the travel industry was 10 years ago and where the taxi industry was five years ago, Vartanov explained how AutoGravity developed a smartphone-based solution that streamlines every step of the car buying process – from model selection to securing financing. “We empower consumers to take control of the process and know their financing options before they go to the dealership,” AutoGravity CTO Martin Prescher added.
- Founded in 2015
- Headquartered in Irvine, California
- Has 50 employees
- Raised $50 million in seed funding
- Andy Hinrichs is CEO
At FinovateFall, AutoGravity’s Vartanov and CTO Martin Prescher showed how their technology helps close both the consumer experience and technology gaps. Prospective car buyers can use AutoGravity to search for vehicles by make and model, simultaneously comparing available loan and lease financing options. Consumers can estimate their prospective monthly payments with a calculator that allows them to change downpayment amounts, term lengths, APR, and more. The AutoGravity app shows buyers the location of dealerships – locally and nationwide – that have the preferred vehicle as available.
The AutoGravity technology even allows consumers to fill out the financing application using their smartphone by scanning their drivers license and connecting to LinkedIn (for employment information). AutoGravity includes an optional e-contracting solution that financed buyers can use to scan the VIN, negotiate a final buying price, submit both to the lender, and get a signable e-contract that enables the customer, in the words of Vartanov (and game show hosts everywhere), “drive away in a brand new car!”
“We bring to the table a unique blend of beautiful design, cool and cutting edge technology, and strong business partnerships with our lenders,” Prescher said. “They’ve put us in a unique position to reinvent car financing as it is done today.”
Pictured: AutoGravity CMO Serge Vartanov demonstrating his company’s technology at FinovateFall 2016.
We talked with AutoGravity CMO Serge Vartanov during rehearsals at FinovateFall and then followed up with a few questions by email. Below are our questions and his responses.
Finovate: What problem does AutoGravity solve?
Serge Vartanov: AutoGravity empowers car shoppers to browse cars, connect with local dealers, apply for financing, and see up to four auto financing offers – all from the comfort of their smartphones. AutoGravity partners with the world’s leading lenders to make it easy for our users to see up to four personalized car loan or lease offers in minutes, anytime, and anywhere they want. With AutoGravity, approved customers can walk into the dealership with offers in hand and drive off the lot confident they received a fair deal.
Finovate: Who are your primary customers?
Vartanov: AutoGravity serves a growing and influential segment of digitally savvy car shoppers who want to save time and take control with personalized car financing options in hand before they go to the dealership. Our platform offers convenience, transparency, and choice to empower our users with a seamless digital car shopping and financing experience.
Finovate: How does your AutoGravity solve the problem better?
Vartanov: AutoGravity is the first and only platform that equips customers with access to indirect auto financing offers before they go to the dealership. With AutoGravity, car shoppers can select the rate and lender that’s right for them, so they can drive off the dealership lot with the peace of mind of knowing they got a fair deal. Our first-of-its-kind native platform are powered by cutting-edge design and technology.
Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your solution.
Vartanov: In addition to our AutoGravity branded iOS, Android and web apps, AutoGravity is proud to have partnered with the Fletcher Jones Auto Group to offer Fletcher Jones Drive (FJ Drive) for Android and iOS. With FJ Drive, luxury car shoppers can browse the nation’s largest selection of Mercedes-Benz vehicles and see their financing offers before visiting their favorite Fletcher Jones store to close the deal and drive off the lot.
Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?
Vartanov: AutoGravity was founded by an international team of automotive industry veterans and digital natives. Our executive team has over half a century of automotive finance experience and has a unique understanding of the challenges and pain points experienced by car shoppers, dealers and lenders. We are one team with one dream – to reinvent the way people buy and finance their cars.
Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from AutoGravity that we can look forward to over the next few months?
Vartanov: AutoGravity is powered by agile product development methodology and our product, design, and engineering teams are constantly working on new features to enhance our user experience and better serve a broader segment of customers. Download AutoGravity and sign up for our e-mail list to be the first to find out about new features!
Finovate: Where do you see your company a year or two from now?
Vartanov: AutoGravity makes it easy for car shoppers to find the car of their dreams and see their car financing options in minutes, anytime, and anywhere they want. Over the coming years, we will continue to enhance our platforms, launch new platforms, and extend our reach to empower all car shoppers.
AutoGravity CMO Serge Vartanov and CTO Martin Prescher demonstrating AutoGravity at FinovateFall 2016.