Business

Local startup wants to offer used car consumers a smoother ride

iSeeCars.com co-founders Phong Ly (left) and Vineet Manohar stand in front of Ly’s 2003 BMW 530i. Ly’s three-month long search for a used car prompted the two to make the used car-buying process a little easier for consumers.
iSeeCars.com co-founders Phong Ly (left) and Vineet Manohar stand in front of Ly’s 2003 BMW 530i. Ly’s three-month long search for a used car prompted the two to make the used car-buying process a little easier for consumers.Credit: Phong Ly

When Phong Ly was shopping for a used car five years ago, he never expected the process to last three months.

Ly did all the requisite homework. He visited car-shopping sites like Cars.com, Carmax, and Autonation. He did comparisons to make sure the car he was interested in was reasonably priced. He looked at receipts for repairs, how many owners the car had, and whether the car was ever owned by a smoker – an important requirement for Ly.

Five years after his frustrating car-buying ordeal (that resulted with Ly getting a used BMW), he and his business partner Vineet Manohar have a plan to change used car shopping experience for everyone.

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Today, they are launching iSeeCars.com, a website that Ly calls “the Kayak of used car listings.” The site aggregates data from over 40,000 car dealers and looks at how many owners the vehicle has had and how many miles it accumulated per year.

In addition, the site also scans the text provided to describe the car to look for both positive and negative attributes, such as how many scratches are on the exterior or whether the previous owner had a pack-a-day habit.

Ly and Manohar are hoping iSeeCars will not only inform consumers, but empower them to land the best deal possible. The company’s algorithm can track how long a car has been listed and how many price changes it has undergone, which can offer consumers greater leverage when it comes to settling on a price.

iSeeCars will also rate used car dealers with more than 100 cars in their inventory. The site will calcuate what percentage of cars are a good deal compared with other dealers and rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.

During a phone interview Tuesday, Ly said he is already hearing positive feedback from consumers and claims that the site is already saving consumers between $5 million and $10 million per month.

“The site basically sorts cars out so that the best deals float to the top,” says Ly. “Consumers like how easy it is to go about finding a good deal.”

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