SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- An innovative new tool that makes it easier for car dealers to connect with customers via text message took home the $20,000 grand prize at the second annual Hackomotive competition sponsored by Edmunds.com, the premier destination for car shopping. The three-day hackathon featured 12 teams from across the country competing in a "Shark Tank"-style format to develop and showcase ideas and products aimed at making car shopping easier.
The winning product submitted by Seattle-based Carcode.me is a website plugin that gives dealerships a phone number for mobile shoppers to text and provides the dealership with an app that allows staff to respond and manage conversations in a compliant environment. The product was successfully pitched by team members Nick Gorton, Prabode Weebadde, Steve Schwartz and Stefani Nowak.
"Our own research shows that the number of car shoppers using text message to connect with dealers continues to grow," said Edmunds.com CEO Avi Steinlauf. "Carcode offers a solution that helps dealers meet that growing demand. Innovations like this – not to mention all the others that we saw over the last three days – are important steps toward the industry's goal of building a better car shopping experience."
Edmunds.com also awarded a $10,000 second-place prize to Team Au.to for its automotive-specific search engine, and a $5,000 third-place prize to Team Showroom for its site that offers a "visceral car research experience."
Throughout the course of the rigorous three-day event, teams refined their products with feedback from tech experts, design gurus, and everyday car shoppers. Winners were determined by a seven-judge panel comprised of tech, marketing and automotive business leaders. The competing teams were evaluated on five criteria:
- Improvement to the existing car shopping process
- Perceived trustworthiness of the product
- Likelihood of real-world adoption
- Quality of product
- Quality of presentation
More information on Hackomotive 2014 can be found at http://www.hackomotive.com/ and on Twitter @hackomotive. All team presentations featuring the ideas and products showcased at this year's event will be posted to the event site within the next week.
About Edmunds.com, Inc.
Edmunds.com is a car-shopping Web site driven to make car buying easy. Almost 18 million visitors use our shopping tools every month to connect with over 9,500 dealer franchises across the U.S. Shoppers can browse our inventory listings for available cars and trucks, and with Edmunds.com's Price PromiseSM, they can get an instant, upfront price on those same vehicles. Recently named by Maritz Research as one of the most trusted online consumer review sites - and the only automotive site listed in the top ten - Edmunds.com is also home to comprehensive car reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories. Even when you're at the dealership, we're always by your side. Just call our free Live Advice Line at 1-855-782-4711 or use our acclaimed Edmunds.com iPhone and iPad apps or Edmunds.com Android App. We're based in Santa Monica, Calif., but you can connect with us from anywhere by following @Edmunds on Twitter or by becoming a fan of Edmunds.com on Facebook. You can also find us on Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Flipboard.