EDMUNDS.COM Continues to Innovate with Third Annual HACKOMOTIVE

Santa Monica-based EDMUNDS was recently named to Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Automotive Companies for “disrupting the car-buying process by making price and history more transparent.”

Constant disruption has kept this 50 year old company on the cutting edge of what has always been perceived as an analog business, from its early days as a printed booklet to its transition into a CD-ROM and award-winning website in the 90s, to THE 21st century mobile price comparison tool.

Even with such a successful legacy, Edmunds continues to operate as a lean startup, continuously seeking for new ways to innovate, both externally and within.

Edmunds recently hosted its third annual Hackomotive hackathon, which drew startup teams from across the nation to build apps and services that complemented Edmunds’s core business.

The mix of 18 entrants, from pre-existing businesses to early-stage startups, flew to LA to audition for a chance at cash prizes that ranged from $5,000 – $20,000. Most of these companies already piggyback on top of Edmund’s APIs, but it’s not mandatory for consideration.

Unlike a typical 5-minute Hollywood audition, the three-day event was more like a 72-hour boot camp for startups, with intense daily rounds of refining their products & presentations, mentor matching, speed dating (flash research with real-world consumers), a teen judging round, fireside chats with leaders in the automotive and tech industries, as well as numerous opportunities to network with the Edmunds staff and each other.

Among the entrants were Hackomotive winner Tennessee-based Zipflip, a Craigslist on steroids to help you sell your car, complete with mobile payment; Leasify, a car leasing app that offers a simplified deal score; and Kansas-based Backlot Cars, a wholesale marketplace for resellers that placed third in the competition. Dash, which when tethered to an add-on device, offers analytics for older vehicles plus local repair options & pricing, came in second.

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(photo credit: Scott Jacobs)

This is the third year for the Hackomotive event; the previous year yielded Carcode SMS (a website plugin that allows mobile website shoppers to text with dealership staff), as well as car shopping service I’ll Buy It.

Carcode has since been acquired via the Edmunds accelerator Fast Lane, and I’ll Buy It has set up shop within the Edmunds offices.

And the Edmunds offices not only embrace car culture, but keep a lean vibe as teams are clustered in modular workspaces by project — despite having around 600 employees, many work remotely since their tasks are based on the ROWE principal (Results-Only Work Environment).
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Their developers are constantly iterating product updates & new products on a quarterly basis, all with rotating launch dates to allow for a smooth-running service with minimal disruption.
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Of course the offices have the creature comforts of bright lights, open layout, workspaces named after cars, conference room garages, even a modified Cadillac meeting space.
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Even with three floors in a Santa Monica high rise, the company plans to shake things up once again when they move next year into a single-story space previously occupied by Yahoo.

Edmunds also has a number of jobs available across various departments, you can see the full listings here.

Author Description

Scott Perry -- LA Tech Digest founder

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