Skip to Main Content
Alumni · Pat Morden

HBA ’08s Re-write the Car Buying Ritual

Sep 1, 2014


The Ivey grads at use technology to make car buying hassle-free.

You know the routine. You go into the car dealership looking for a new car. After the test drive, you and the salesperson sit down to negotiate. When you finally leave with the car ordered and the contract signed, you’re left wondering if you got the best deal you could.

As Andrew Tai, HBA ’08, points out, it’s a ritual that really hasn’t changed, despite the advent of online shopping for almost everything else. “We book our hotels on, order our books at Amazon, order shoes at, but most people still buy a new car like our parents did. And most people are still convinced that if you don’t negotiate, you’ll over-pay.”

Enter Tai and his fellow HBA ’08s, Radek Garbowski, Neal Shah and Leslie Wong. Garbowski, Tai and Shah were all on a trajectory for successful careers in finance, and Wong was starting law school. Instead, in 2011 they launched, a website that provides new car buyers with the data they need to feel comfortable about the experience. provides everything from information on current incentives and average prices, to monthly payment calculators. “You end up with a very clear picture of what a fair deal is, before you even step into the dealership,” says Tai. “Consumers are more confident, and dealers find that better informed consumers are easier to work with.”

The company, which started in the basement of Tai’s parents’ home, now has downtown Toronto offices and is growing rapidly. “In the first couple of years, we were just trying to survive, to figure out if people would pay for our product,” he says. “Now we’re at a key inflection point – we’ve got a product that consumers love, and a business model that makes money and can scale. We want to be to new car buying what is to travel.”

Tai says the entrepreneurship courses he and his co-founders took at Ivey have proved very useful, and the shared experience helped them meld as a team. “There’s no question the Ivey experience is a rigorous and challenging one. It made us a more close-knit group and helped us understand how we work together and complement each other’s skill sets.” Tai continues to recruit at Ivey.

Photo: Nation Wong
Art Direction: Greg Salmela, Aegis