A few months before he joined CarGurus, Sam Giroux sold his motorcycle.
“Using the usual listings sites was not a pleasant experience with the haggling, the scams, the flaky offers, people not showing up,” he said. “CarGurus may not sell motorcycles, but my experience helped me appreciate CarGurus’ vision right away in my first interview. It made perfect sense.”
For Giroux, two features of the wholesale product, CarGurus™ Instant Max Cash Offer, stood out in particular — the ability to sell your vehicle to a dealer with a firm offer, and a flexible scheduling tool for vehicle pickup. As a cross-functional team responsible for building and maintaining this simplified car sales product, the wholesale team was preparing to streamline and improve the process even further.
Giroux didn’t need much convincing. He was ready to become the wholesale team’s first Raleigh-based hire. After joining CarGurus as a senior engineering manager, he dug into customer reviews of people’s experience selling vehicles using the platform.
“The reviews solidified my gut reaction,” he said. “I wasn’t alone in having a bad selling experience. A lot of people go through this, and this product is solving a legitimate problem.”
How CarGurus™ Instant Max Cash Offer Works
Asaf Gendler, CarGurus’ director of product management and site lead for the Raleigh team, is also tuned into user feedback. “We have more than 2,000 reviews on our site with an average rating of 4.8 out of five,” he said. “It's a great consumer experience and delivers great value.”
And for Gendler, the force behind the product is CarGurus’ cross-functional team. In his very first meeting when he joined in 2019, he entered a conference room filled with people from across the company. “My colleagues from product management, engineering, sales and marketing were all on the same page.
“Everyone was collaborating to build a great product and deliver a strong consumer experience,” Gendler said. “I still see that collaborative spirit every day. It feels like a group of friends working together to achieve a shared goal.”
The collaborative team environment enables people to make significant contributions to the company, according to Gendler. “With just over 1,000 employees, we’re small enough to provide team members with a certain level of responsibility on one of our core products, and big enough that those products can have an impact on millions of people,” he said.
The collaborative and product-focused culture is exactly what drew Lata Ahuja, senior director of wholesale engineering, to CarGurus.
“It sounds cliche, but people here are smart, nice and helpful. I’ve worked with tons of engineers across my career, and the engineers at CarGurus stand out because they deeply understand the business context. This helps us build better products,” she said. “And I love that the teams can move quickly on their own projects while still being in sync with the broader company.”
While Ahuja anchors the team in CarGurus’ Cambridge headquarters, Gendler and Giroux are fostering a growing presence in Raleigh.
“It’s a cool experience,” Giroux said. “We are hiring our core team here, which will be a big part of how we build our culture.”
“We are hiring our core team here, which will be a big part of how we build our culture.”
Gendler nodded from his seat next to Giroux in a conference room at the WeWork space the Raleigh team currently calls home. “We need engineers, product managers and designers to round out our wholesale team, which we will continue working toward in 2023.
“I grew up with a lot of boundaries,” Lata Ahuja said. “I love the fact that at CarGurus, we try different things and don’t believe in boundaries.”
Ahuja, who is from Bangalore, India, has spent her career in the United States bringing cutting-edge products to market. She joined CarGurus last year and knew there was something special about the team right away.
“The only constant is change, and while we continue to evolve, the products also evolve.”
“CarGurus is extremely data-driven. Using data is embedded in our culture, top-down,” she said. “It’s been a rewarding experience to see how we test, provide insights, back up our hypotheses and move forward. We are true to our core values and move fast. Especially in our wholesale group — we are truly pioneering.”
“The only constant is change, and while we continue to evolve, the products also evolve.” Ahuja said. “Thanks to our ‘ideas man,’ Asaf, and the stellar team we’re building, we are constantly trying new things.”
Their Tech Stack
- Fully AWS-hosted
- Java backend
- React frontend
- SQL and NoSQL databases
- Snowflake with Looker dashboards
Asaf Gendler comes by the “ideas man” moniker honestly. Growing up in Tel Aviv as it boomed into a tech and startup hub, he started his career as a serial entrepreneur. In 2014, he moved to the United States while running his most recent company. After four years, he was ready for a new adventure.
“I joined CarGurus because I wanted to be part of a larger company. I wanted to focus on the product side and work with significant resources in order to achieve high impact with product launches,” he said. “My background as an entrepreneur helps me as a product manager because you learn to take educated risks and move quickly.”
CarGurus has offered Gendler the opportunities and resources to work on the types of complex projects that he was looking for. “The flow on the consumer experience side is very simple,” he said. “But the backend, with our workflows and processes, is much more complex. We have three teams in wholesale — customer experience, platform, and infrastructure and services. It is both an engineering and operational challenge, and we work hard to create an easy, flawless consumer product experience.”
Gendler smiled as he talked about the future of the CarGurus in Raleigh, where he relocated with his family in August. “It’s been a great experience so far both professionally and for my family,” he said. “The weather is great, of course, and our team is extremely talented and friendly. I look forward to the possibilities of living here, working here and growing the team.”
Passion and Support
Sam Giroux didn’t join CarGurus because of a love for the automotive industry, but rather for his passion for problem-solving.
“I'm an engineer at heart,” he said. “It’s about solving problems. At their core, the engineering problems are generally the same. We are building scalable solutions, working with cool new tech and collaborating with partners across the engineering organization who are doing interesting and exciting projects.”
During his first week with CarGurus, Giroux visited the Cambridge headquarters from Raleigh for CarGurus’ “First Gear” onboarding program. While there, he learned more about how the company works and connected with his colleagues on his team and beyond.
“When I thought about what we want to bring back to Raleigh, two main things shone through,” he said. “The passion that exudes from everyone when they are talking about the problems they are solving, and the support everyone offers.”
“We are building scalable solutions and working with cool new tech.”
That combination, Giroux said, created a positive impact in his first days and is something he wants to pass on to new hires on the Raleigh team. “Sometimes as a new hire, it can be overwhelming to come up to speed and contribute immediately. But at CarGurus, everyone has gone above and beyond to help make each other successful.”
As the wholesale team continues to expand, Giroux is optimistic about the opportunities offered for new hires. “Being able to grow as an individual and as a leader is a huge selling point for any company,” he said. “It’s especially true here because of all the support and collaboration from our colleagues, and the strong vision for the future.”