A visionary with a passion for the automotive industry, Painter has raised hundreds of millions in venture capital for dozens of companies over the past 15 years. As founder and CEO of CarsDirect.com, and later as founder and chairman of Build-To-Order.com, Painter was instrumental in bringing car shopping online and is credited with being the first to introduce upfront pricing on the Internet.
In January 2005 Painter launched Zag, an independent technology and services business committed to dramatically improving the way cars are bought and sold. He assembled a team of experienced entrepreneurs in the automotive, auto finance and online worlds, and they’ve built a platform that brings more of the buying and selling processes online – giving consumers more control with a guaranteed upfront price, while making it easier and cheaper for dealers to acquire customers.
Zag is incrementally working its way toward the industry’s first full online transaction – everything from pricing and accessories to financing and insurance. During its first year in operation Zag raised nearly $40 million in total financing, sold more than $350 million in cars, and formed partnerships with some of the nation’s largest dealer groups and affinity organizations.
Before Zag, Painter was founder and chairman of Build-To-Order.com where he developed a plan to build a new brand of automobile that would minimize initial capital expenditures and fixed costs through contract engineering, modularity, and contract assembly.
In 1998, Painter founded CarsDirect.com, leading to the first generation of online car sites, and propelled the world’s major automotive manufacturers and their franchised dealers to embrace the Internet. Under Painter’s leadership, CarsDirect.com secured more than $350 million in funding and played a principal role in the transformation of the automotive retail industry into one driven by consumer expectations, customer service and trust.
Earlier in his career, Painter leveraged his expertise in direct response marketing and advertising as the innovator behind several well-known successes, including 1-800-DENTISTTM and 1-800-CAR-SEARCHTM. Painter also was founder and CEO of INFOAccessTM, Inc., an electronic classified service. Painter attended the West Point United States Military Academy, where he majored in political science and systems engineering. He was class president, which enabled him to develop a unique leadership style early in his career. Painter also attended the University of California at Berkeley, majoring in economics.