Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Online auto marketplace CarGurus today raised $150 million in an IPO, and has seen shares pop by more than 70% (bringing its market cap to nearly $3 billion). Axios spoke with chief financial officer Jason Trevisan about the IPO, its unusual funding history and how it's become so big without using traditional advertising until very recently. The quick read:

  • The IPO is to improve public branding, enable acquisitions and to provide liquidity to early employees.
  • The company has relied on "aggressive algorithmic traffic acquisition" to achieve its 23 million monthly unique visitors.
  • Trevisan isn't worried the company left money on the table, saying volatility may be high because CarGurus offered relatively few shares.

AXIOS: Why go public now?

TREVISAN: "We've gone public for three reasons. Number one is as a branding event for both consumers and dealers. We've become the largest online auto marketplace, yet have been under the radar, so this is an opportunity to grow our brand. Second, this gives us currency for acquisitions. We are a platform model, and believe we're well positioned to acquire tech and content businesses. Third is liquidity for early investors and employees, who have worked their butts off for years."

How has an "under the radar" company managed to attract 23 million unique visitors per month?

"Aggressive algorithmic traffic acquisition. We have a team of 10 developers and mathematicians who've built homegrown technology that allows us to acquire consumers when they're at the point of cash search. For example, we bid on about half a billion keywords per day -- and have tested over a billion keywords over the last couple of months. We also have great word of mouth, which is the second-most cited reason for people coming to the site. This year we began investing in television for the first time."

CarGurus raised around $130 million from T. Rowe Price and Fidelity beginning in 2015 but before that was bootstrapped for nearly a decade. Why the change in funding strategy?

"From 2006 to 2010 the company had a different business model, which was more content-oriented. In 2011 we shifted more into actual car shopping, and that model began to scale very quickly. In 2015 we raised capital from T. Rowe to both solidify the balance sheet and provide some liquidity to friends and family who had invested. Then we added Fidelity for more liquidity, and also because we knew at some point we wanted to go public, so it was important to have great partners with us."

The stock is up more than 70% after just a couple hours of trading. Thoughts on leaving so much money on the table?

"We were most focused on getting a great investor base..."

You could have maybe gotten a better one at $2 per share.

"Well, I can't imagine getting a better group of investors. But, overall, share price volatility in the first six months is really more about supply and demand working itself out than about long-term value. Also we did a very low float, which we knew would create more volatility early on, but it was right for the company."

Go deeper

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, which has been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin.

2 hours ago - Technology

Race and technology in America

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The technology industry is famously determined to change the world — but its efforts to diversify its workforce and remove bias from its products haven't changed nearly enough.

Biden: "Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been"

President Biden speaks during the 40th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the U.S Capitolon Oct. 16. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden speaking at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday honored members of law enforcement who died in the line of duty in 2019 and 2021 and saluted those who are currently serving.

Driving the news: "We expect everything of you, and it's beyond the capacity of anyone to meet the total expectations. Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been," Biden said.