Car360 Cites Venture Atlanta as the Connection Event that Led to its Acquisition by Carvana

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

The Co-founders and CEO of innovative augmented reality company, Car360, Bruno and Rebecca Francois and John Hanger, tipped their hats to Venture Atlanta today for providing visibility and enabling a key introduction to Carvana CEO Ernie Garcia at the 2017 conference. That meeting ultimately led to the acquisition of Car360 by Carvana, which is the leading e-commerce platform for buying cars. The acquisition is a stellar example of the value of the connections that are made each year at the annual premier investment event and rounds out an impressive list of other successful relationships and resulting transactions that have been fueled by Venture Atlanta.

Bruno Francois and his spouse and business partner, Rebecca Francois, leveraged the technology behind their initial 360-degree, selfie-enhancing app (backed by Mark Cuban of “Shark Tank”) to create Car360, which uses 3D reconstruction and augmented reality to enable interactive visualization of cars and related data. Bruno Francois first unveiled the technology on the Venture Atlanta stage as a 2016 presenting company. That year, Venture Atlanta was also where Atlanta investor and experienced entrepreneur John Hanger first saw Car360’s presentation. Hanger later led a bridge financing round, with Cuban participating as well, and became the company’s CEO. Three months later Car360 raised a $3.55 million Series A financing round, propelling the company’s growth.

The following year at Venture Atlanta 2017, where Cuban and Carvana CEO Ernie Garcia were both keynote speakers, the Car360 founders were once again in attendance, this time with the hopes of meeting Garcia personally and convincing him to hear their sales pitch. After seeing a demo at the conference, Garcia fell in love with the product—so much so that he didn’t want to just buy from Car360 but rather he wanted to buy the company itself.

“Attending Venture Atlanta is a no-brainer—it’s a chance to get your company in front of hundreds of investors,” said Car360’s Hanger. “But beyond that it’s also a chance to get your company in front of people in the tech community who can help you. It’s a great place to make connections that you wouldn’t otherwise have been able to make. This is true if you’re an entrepreneur or if you’re an investor. It’s also a great learning opportunity for those going through the process of raising money for the first time. You get to experience delivering your pitch, receiving feedback, polishing it and then getting that final validation.”

“We receive tremendous satisfaction in providing a venue where meaningful, long-term connections are made that, in turn, directly fuel the innovation and growth of the technology industry in the Southeast,” said Allyson Eman, executive director of Venture Atlanta. “The Car360 acquisition by Carvana fully validates our mission, and we sincerely appreciate our alumni paying tribute to Venture Atlanta as a place where people come together and deals happen.”

The Car360 acquisition by Carvana joins an impressive roster of Venture Atlanta alumni companies with significant exits, including:

  • Pardot and ExactTarget (sold to Salesforce)

  • AirWatch (sold to VMWare)

  • Clearleap (sold to IBM)

  • Cloud Sherpas (sold to Accenture)

  • Contact at Once (sold to LivePerson)

  • Internet Security Systems (ISS) and Silverpop (sold to IBM)

  • JouleX (sold to Cisco)

  • Vitrue (sold to Oracle)

  • Vocalocity (sold to Vonage)