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Used cars marketplace targets consumers while parent company works with dealers, publishers
Vast, a company wielding big data for the used cars marketplace, has raised $14 million in funding from Capital One Growth Ventures. Jaidev Shergill, one of the firm’s managing partners, has joined the board of directors at Vast as part of the deal.
Previously, Vast primarily focused on its relationship with dealers, but the company has a new offering called CarStory dedicated to consumers.
CarStory lets you search among an inventory of 3.5 million used cars by make, model, "life style" (e.g. "Family Friendly" or "Great for Commuting), body type (e.g. sedan, coupe, convertible), or special features (e.g. cruise control, power locks) in a given radius around a zip code. The spending-conscious can also choose to browse by budget.
The company claims CarStory to be the first and largest vehicle discovery platform, though that’s hard to square with the existence of Autotrader, Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book, and, of course, Craigslist. But there’s no debating that CarStory has a modern, intuitive look and feel that will surely attract buyers and sellers of used cars.
Dealers are charged a monthly subscription to use the service. Thanks to Vast’s prior work with dealers, the company says CarStory includes data on used cars from over 6,000 participating dealerships nationwide.
Vast allows dealers to list on its network for free, though the company offers paid promotions for those dealers that want to boost their listings in the search results. The company also makes money by allowing publishers to add Vast's network of car listings to their site.
While used cars is Vast’s primary business right now, the company is already testing a real estate offering and plans to launch a new service for vacation rentals further down the line. The idea for these additional services will parallel their approach of using big data to connect buyers and sellers in the most significant (read: expensive) purchases they’ll ever make.
“Big data for life’s biggest purchases, that’s what Vast is all about,” said Vast CEO John Price in the press release for the announcement. “Our patented approach delivers critical discovery information, predicts alternatives and analyzes the local market to guide the purchase decision in service of the buyer.
So with the real estate offering, you can see listings for houses, complete with specifications, pricing, and a phone number to get in touch with the agent. Presumably, the vacation rentals service will work the same way.
Vast says it will use its new funds from Capital One Growth Ventures to continue building out CarStory while also expanding to real estate and vacation rentals.
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