Online car dealer Carvana has acquired augmented reality software startup Car360 to accelerate technology offerings within the e-commerce platform’s 360-degree photo feature and digital tours of used cars.
Carvana currently offers a 360-degree digital tour of a car’s features and imperfections, but with Car360’s app-based photo capture and AR-powered vehicle imagery experience of car interior and exteriors, customers will be able to have a more immersive experience before making their purchase.
“As two innovators in auto tech, we’ve kept tabs on each other and admired each other’s work for a while now,” shares Carvana’s CEO Ernie Garcia. “With the hyper-growth Carvana has experienced and Car360’s desire to scale its technology, the timing worked out well for both of us.”
Carvana went public last summer with a $240 million stock offering after expanding to nearly two dozen markets and raising a combined $460 million in investment dollars. Earlier this year, the online car dealer, famous for its automated car vending machines, launched a curbside pickup option in both Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama.
“We still have a period of integration ahead of us, but once implemented, car buyers will experience a more immersive virtual vehicle tour, giving them even more details to assist in their purchase decision,” says Garcia. “High-definition, 3D renderings of every car on our website should allow for lots of fun new functionality that we’ll explore as we get further down the road.”
Car360, founded by Bruno Francois, employs technology originally used by Francois’ panoramic photography app, which allows the user to spin and capture photos hands-free. The popular photography app caught the attention of Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, who invested in both the app and later, participated in Car360’s Series A.
“The Car360 talent and technology builds on, and enhances, the 360-degree photo capabilities Carvana customers utilize to make purchasing decisions,” says Garcia. “We showed consumers the new way to buy a car via our proprietary digital tours and now we have the opportunity to make that experience even better with computer vision and AR.”
Following a $3.55 million Series A round last summer, the then-newly minted Car360 CEO John Hanger ramped up growth, product features, and talent acquisition.
“For consumers, the navigation we provide is more intuitive than manually sorting through 40+ pictures, watching videos, and scrolling through textual data,” Hanger told Hypepotamus last year. “No training required, and that is kind of the point. Car360 uses computer vision and augmented reality to provide a premium user experience.”
Hanger and the full Car360 team, including founder Bruno Francois, will transition into Carvana’s team.
“The Car360 mission is to change the way companies capture and tell a car’s story, which aligns perfectly with Carvana’s mission to change the way people buy cars,” Hanger shared in a statement.