Car-search startup iGrabberAutos is changing its name to Carsquare and moving its headquarters to Arlington after winning a pitch competition judged by Aneesh Chopra, Ted Leonsis and others.
The startup is most easily described as "Kayak for cars," aggregating listings from sites like Cars.com and eBay. Founder Khurrum Shakir said Carsquare now sweeps up roughly 70 percent of online automotive inventory, having recently added Detroit Trading Co. and classifieds search engine Oodle Inc. (which powers Facebook Marketplace) to its list of sources.
The name iGrabberAutos created confusion as to what the company actually did, said Shakir, a former AOLer. "Among other reasons, we found that it didn't resonate well with the public and people looking to buy cars," he said. "They didn't think it was a search engine for cars, it sounded more like an auto dealership." Carsquare, instead, "represents a gathering of a community."
Shakir said the seven-person startup, now based in Leesburg, is in talks with angel investors and plans to close a seed round in January.
Until then, a little cash from the Ballston Business Improvement District should tide it over. Carsquare is one of two winners of the Ballston BID's LaunchPad Challenge, alongside BuilDATAnalytics, a business intelligence platform for the commercial construction industry (whose name employs the elusive double portmanteau).
The LaunchPad winners, who were selected out of 14 semifinalists, successfully pitched their businesses to a panel composed of Leonsis, Chopra (former U.S. chief technology officer), Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Mark Gruhin of Saul Ewing LLP. The two winners get $15,000, office space in Ballston and legal services from Saul Ewing.