TrueCar Inc. is stepping on the gas pedal.
The Santa Monica company, which publishes up-to-date prices of new and used vehicles, recently raised $217 million in debt and equity financing that it will use to make acquisitions and launch several products.
Current venture capital investor GRP Partners in Century City was part of the funding round. GR Match, a division of Santa Monica’s Guthy-Renker, provided equity financing, and Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara provided debt capital.
TrueCar, which works with dealerships around the country to provide customers with car pricing information, will use the funding to launch three divisions during the next year that will provide data on loan rates, leasing deals and trade-in values.
“We wanted to provide a more complete solution to customers,” said Scott Painter, the company’s chief executive. “We now want to help you finance your vehicle and help you trade in your old car.”
The fundraising came after a busy summer for TrueCar.
In August, the company acquired ALG Inc., a Santa Barbara company that predicts the future value of a car, from DealerTrack Holdings Inc. in Lake Success, N.Y.
TrueCar also acquired Carperks, a Jacksonville, Fla., company that operates employee car-buying programs for large corporations such as Wal-Mart and American Airlines.
Combined, the two acquisitions are valued at more than $100 million.
TrueCar, which became profitable in 2009, has been in growth mode over the last year. Painter said the 340-person company is hiring about 15 employees each week.
News of the company’s recent funding and growing business have sparked speculation of plans to go public at the beginning of next year.
But Painter said an initial public offering is not part of his near-term plans.
“Going public is certainly a conversation worth having,” he said. “But the company is under no pressure. We’re very well financed.”
Painter, an L.A. entrepreneur who is focused on the automotive industry, previously founded CarsDirect.com in El Segundo and Zag.com, which is now part of TrueCar. He is also a co-founder of Beverly Hills online poker company U.S. Digital Gaming.
JustFabulous, an El Segundo website that selects shoes and accessories for customers who pay a monthly membership fee, announced last week that it raised $33 million in a recent funding round.
The company will use money from the funding round, which was led by Waltham, Mass., private-equity firm Matrix Partners and Palo Alto venture capital firm Technology Crossover Ventures, to increase its product line and expand internationally.
JustFabulous, which already sells shoes, bags, denim and sunglasses, will add jewelry next month.
One of the company’s newest investors is Kimora Lee Simmons, a former model and reality TV star who worked with girls clothing line Baby Phat. In addition to her investment, Simmons will join the company as president and creative director.
Adam Goldenberg, the company’s co-chief executive, said JustFabulous has wanted to work with Simmons for a while.
“She has built a successful fashion brand before and she will be instrumental as we grow our brand and make it a household name,” Goldenberg said.
JustFabulous, which was started at El Segundo incubator Intelligent Beauty, is part of a growing number of L.A. Internet companies that charge a monthly fee to send women a customized selection of shoes, clothing and accessories based on their personal style. Its local competitors include Sole Society, a division of downtown L.A. flash-sale website HauteLook, and ShoeDazzle and BeachMint, both in Santa Monica.
Done Ventures has won the rights to the Women.com domain name after a lawsuit against NBCUniversal.
The Manhattan Beach incubator took control of the Women.com and Women.net websites last week after reaching a settlement with NBCUniversal.
Done founder Ben Padnos said he will announce his plans for Women.com in coming weeks. The site currently features health and diet information geared toward a female audience.
Padnos offered $1 million to NBCUniversal last year to purchase the domain names. According to Padnos, the media conglomerate agreed on the sale and then later backed out of that agreement.
Padnos sued NBCUniversal to force the sale and later added Cambridge, Mass., domain name broker Sedo to the suit, alleging Sedo failed to enforce the deal.
Padnos and NBCUniversal reached an undisclosed settlement agreement in August and NBCUniversal handed over the domain names Sept. 19.
NBCUniversal did not respond to a request for comment.
Padnos would not comment on the terms of the deal. But he told the Business Journal that he was happy he could resolve the issue by completing the sale.
“I didn’t make the offer in May 2010 with any thought about getting into litigation with NBCUniversal,” he said in an e-mail statement. “I simply wanted to buy the names, as I believe Women.com represents one of the most valuable domain names on the Internet.”
Staff reporter Natalie Jarvey can be reached at email@example.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 230.
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