If a photo is worth a thousand words, what’s a 360-degree video? Augmented reality software Car360 provides an augmented reality-powered vehicle imagery experience of car interior and exteriors, with a customer base including car auction buyers, inspection companies, insurance claim processors, dealers, manufacturers, and of course, the car buyer.
The interactive visualization company has had a busy few months, hiring a new CEO/President, John Hanger, and now finalizing a $3.55M Series A round led by Atlanta’s BIP Capital.
Customers can employ Car360’s product before they buy a car or right before picking it up from body repairs. No more squinting while looking at low-res photos or cell phone videos.
“Disconnected collections of pictures, videos, and textual data make it really hard for people to navigate and digest vehicle information,” says Hanger. “Car360 makes it quick and easy.”
The Atlanta Tech Village-based startup was spun out from founder Bruno Francois‘ previous app: Cycloramic, a panoramic photography app with patented technology that allows the user to spin hands-free. Cycloramic appeared in ABC’s Shark Tank, even receiving an investment from the show’s Mark Cuban. Cuban has backed Car360 in this round as well.
Now, Hanger is developing Car360’s go-to-market strategy and plans to leverage the funding to increase the team to 60 people, growing in sales and marketing. Here, Hanger shares more about his chance meeting with Car360’s founder at Venture Atlanta and the market impact of this technology on the auto industry.
How did you connect with Car360 founder Bruno Francois and joined the team as CEO?
I met Bruno at Venture Atlanta in November 2016, just one week removed from LivePerson (the company that acquired my previous company, Contact At Once!, which I co-founded in 2005). I liked the product first, then I came to like Bruno, and eventually after helping with the strategy as a consultant, I really liked the market opportunity. In March, I came on board as CEO and as an investor.
As a recent addition to the team, what are your immediate goals for the company, from vision to product development?
The first priority was to raise Series A financing so that the company could actually go after the market opportunity. Now that we’ve raised $3.55M, the next priority is simply — grow. Growing will require new product features, hiring sales and marketing talent, scaling internal processes and infrastructure, and much more.
This is my sixth early-stage company and third as CEO. This is the phase I like most!
How does Car360 improve the car buying experience for consumers?
There are many use cases where people need to navigate and digest vehicle information. As obvious use case is merchandising, where consumers (or dealers, in the case of wholesale auctions) are shopping for a new or used car. Data shows that cars merchandised in a premium way will sell quicker and for a higher price. Other use cases include vehicle inspections (when cars come off lease, for example), and insurance claims processing for collision repair, both of which are processes that benefit from streamlined capture of imagery and data.
What’s the market impact of this technology, both on consumers and on the auto industry?
For auto merchandising, 360 degree imagery and augmented reality will soon be table stakes for dealers, as common as photos and videos are today. Consumers like it and the return on investment is so compelling.
For consumers, the navigation we provide is more intuitive than manually sorting through 40+ pictures, watching videos, and scrolling through textual data. No training required, and that is kind of the point. Car360 uses computer vision and augmented reality to provide a premium user experience.
What’s next for Car360 in the next 6-12 months?
Growth, going the extra mile in customer service, and maintaining an awesome culture that continues to attract Atlanta’s most talented and motivated people.