SANTA MONICA, Calif. — March 30, 2015 — An innovative peer-to-peer network that connects private car sellers to buyers secured the $20,000 grand prize at the third annual Hackomotive competition sponsored by car buying platform Edmunds.com. The three-day hackathon featured 18 teams from across the country competing in a "Shark Tank"-style format to develop and showcase ideas and products aimed at making car shopping easier.
The winning product, Zipflip, bills itself as "the Airbnb of car shopping." Similar to the popular home sharing network, Zipflip provides identity verification and a payment system so that private car buyers and sellers can feel more confident about the sale. The product was successfully pitched by Tennessee-based team members Tim Kelly, Joe Alegre, Dewey Hammond and Austin Van Rider.
"This year we hosted the most innovative teams that we've ever had in the three years of Hackomotive, so that only makes Zipflip's win all the more remarkable," said Edmunds.com CEO Avi Steinlauf. "There are several start-up companies in today's marketplace who have tremendous ideas for improving the car buying process, and these ideas offer a very optimistic future for both consumers and dealers."
Edmunds.com also awarded a $10,000 second-place prize to New York-based Dash for its platform that turns any car into a smart car by connecting to the vehicle's on-board diagnostics. The $5,000 third-place prize went to Kansas City-based BacklotCars for its networking marketplace for dealers that eliminates wholesale auctions.
In addition to the top three prize winners, Edmunds.com gave special $2,000 cash prizes to the winners of each of the following featured award categories:
Consumers Choice Award (chosen by a focus group of 27 recent and in-market car shoppers)
(tie) Zipflip and Wyper, which bills itself as the Tinder for car shopping by allowing users to swipe cars that they do or do not like on their mobile devices.
Dealers Choice Award (chosen by a car dealer secretly embedded in the consumer group)
Fispeed, a platform that speeds up the transaction process at the dealership by implementing electronic documents
Future Shoppers Choice Award (selected by a class of 8th graders from Maimonides Academy in Los Angeles)
CARmera, an image recognition app that identifies vehicles and calls up information on them instantly with just a snap of a photo from your smartphone
Throughout the course of the three-day event, teams refined their products with feedback from tech experts, design gurus, and everyday car shoppers. Winners were determined by a seven-judge panel comprised of tech, marketing and automotive business leaders. The judges evaluated participating teams on several criteria such as their products' demand in the marketplace, the extents to which they make car shopping easier, and the quality of their presentations.
About Edmunds.com, Inc.
Car-shopping website Edmunds.com serves nearly 18 million visitors each month. With Edmunds.com Price Promise®, shoppers can get an instant, upfront price for cars and trucks currently for sale at 10,000 dealer franchises across the U.S. Shoppers can browse not only dealer inventory, but also vehicle reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories on both Edmunds' wired site and on its acclaimed mobile apps. Regarded as one of the best places to work in Southern California, Edmunds.com was also named one of "The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Automotive" by Fast Company. Edmunds welcomes all car-shopping questions on its free Live Help Line at 1-855-782-4711 and firstname.lastname@example.org, via text at ED411 and on Twitter and Facebook. The company is based in Santa Monica, Calif. and has a satellite office in downtown Detroit, Mich., but you can find Edmunds from anywhere on YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Flipboard.