Car search engine Carsnip has promised to help dealers challenge the traditional classified advertising websites by directly connecting them with buyers.
And the business has now gained $1m (£700,000) of investment ahead of its launch in the UK this spring, and says it is on track to raise a further $5m.
The investors behind Carsnip have previously backed the likes of Pinterest, Square and Wavii, and include Adrian Aoun , head of special projects at Google’s parent group Alphabet and Hank Vigil of Microsoft.
The $1m secured during initial funding rounds enabled Carsnip to index over 500,000 UK cars and build the first version of its natural language search.
It plans to use the the next round of investment to build out tools to better connect consumers with car dealers, to improve its natural search and to conduct user experience testing and build a dealer customer base in the UK.
Alastair Campbell, Carsnip chief executive, said: “We’re extremely pleased to welcome our new investors onboard. Their support enables us to continue building out our unique car crawl, natural language search and power our online marketplaces in time for a full launch in May.
“Many industries have already gone through their intelligent search revolution, combining big data and machine learning to optimise user experience (UX). The car industry is next.”
Campbell previously built Company Check, an online business which allowed browsers to see business data and credit reports on companies.
Stuart Noad, Carsnip co-founder, said: “Our research shows that middlemen take as many as 4 billion car buyer clicks away from dealers’ websites every year and cost consumers and sellers, on average, £1,200 per car.
“Carsnip has been built to re-establish the lost connection between buyers and sellers to deliver an awesome user experience. Our long-term vision is to drive down the cost of motoring and this second round of funding helps us get ever closer to that goal.”