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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM                      TO                   

Commission File Number 001-38233

 

CarGurus, Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

04-3843478

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

 

2 Canal Park, 4th Floor

Cambridge, Massachusetts

 

02141

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (617354-0068

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

 

Trading Symbol

 

Name of Exchange on Which Registered

Class A Common Stock, par value $0.001 per share

 

CARG

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (Nasdaq Global Select Market)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes     No   

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit such files). Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  

Small reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes      No  

The aggregate market value of the registrant’s Class A common stock, par value $0.001 per share, held by non-affiliates of the registrant based on the closing price of the registrant’s common stock as reported on the Nasdaq Global Market on June 30, 2019 was $2,464,065,369. Shares of voting and non-voting stock held by executive officers, directors and holders of more than 5% of the outstanding stock have been excluded from this calculation because such persons or institutions may be deemed affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not a conclusive determination for other purposes.

As of February 6, 2020, the registrant had 91,983,435 shares of Class A common stock, and 20,314,644 shares of Class B common stock, par value $0.001 per share, outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for its 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Such Proxy Statement will be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which this report relates. Except with respect to information specifically incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K, the Proxy Statement is not deemed to be filed as part of this Form 10-K.

 

 

 


Table of Contents

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

2

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

13

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

34

Item 2.

Properties

34

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

34

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

34

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

35

Item 6.

Selected Consolidated Financial Data

37

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

40

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

64

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

65

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

111

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

111

Item 9B.

Other Information

113

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

114

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

114

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

114

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

114

Item 14.

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

114

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

115

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

115

 

 

 


SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward‑looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, which statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties. Forward‑looking statements generally relate to future events or our future financial or operating performance. In some cases, you can identify forward‑looking statements because they contain words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “likely,” “may,” “might,” “plans,” “potential,” “predicts,” “projects,” “seeks,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would,” or similar expressions and the negatives of those terms. Forward-looking statements contained in this report include, but are not limited to, statements about:

 

our future financial and business performance, including our expectations regarding our revenue, cost of revenue, gross profit or gross margin, operating expenses, ability to generate cash flow, and ability to achieve, and maintain, future profitability;

 

the value proposition of our product offerings;

 

our ability to deliver quality leads at a high volume for our dealer customers;

 

our ability to maintain and acquire new customers;

 

our anticipated growth and growth strategies and our ability to effectively manage that growth;

 

our ability to grow our audience, as well as to maintain and build our brand;

 

our ability to continue to expand internationally;

 

our ability to realize benefits from our acquisitions and successfully implement our integration strategies;

 

the impact of competition in our industry and innovation by our competitors;

 

the impact of accounting pronouncements;

 

the impact of litigation;

 

our ability to hire and retain necessary qualified employees to expand our operations;

 

our ability to adequately protect our intellectual property;

 

our ability to stay abreast of and effectively comply with new or modified laws and regulations that currently apply or become applicable to our business;

 

our ability to overcome challenges facing the automotive industry ecosystem, including global supply chain challenges, changes to trade policies and other macroeconomic issues;

 

failure to maintain an effective system of internal controls necessary to accurately report our financial results and prevent fraud;

 

our expectations with respect to the occupancy of our recently leased properties;

 

our expectations regarding cash generation and the sufficiency of our cash to fund our operations; and

 

the future trading prices of our Class A common stock.

You should not rely upon forward‑looking statements as predictions of future events. We have based the forward‑looking statements contained in this report primarily on our current expectations and projections about future events and trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition, operating results, and growth prospects. The outcome of the events described in these forward‑looking statements is subject to risks, uncertainties, and other factors described in the section titled “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks and uncertainties emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all risks and uncertainties that could have an impact on the forward‑looking statements contained in this report. Further, our forward‑looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers, dispositions, joint ventures, or investments we may make. We cannot assure you that the results, events, and circumstances reflected in the forward‑looking statements will be achieved or occur, and actual results, events, or circumstances could differ materially from those described in the forward‑looking statements.

The forward‑looking statements made in this report relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward‑looking statements made in this report to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this report or to reflect new information or the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law.

 

 

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PART I

Item 1. Business.

BUSINESS

Overview

CarGurus is a global, online automotive marketplace connecting buyers and sellers of new and used cars. Using proprietary technology, search algorithms, and innovative data analytics, we believe we are building the world’s most trusted and transparent automotive marketplace and creating a differentiated automotive search experience for consumers. Our trusted marketplace empowers users with unbiased third‑party validation on pricing and dealer reputation as well as other information that aids them in finding “Great Deals from Top-Rated Dealers.” Our selection of car listings provides the largest number of car listings available on any of the major U.S. online automotive marketplaces. In addition to the United States, we operate online marketplaces under the CarGurus brand in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Spain. In the United Kingdom, we also operate the PistonHeads online marketplace as an independent brand.

A core principle of our marketplace is transparency. For consumers considering used vehicles, we aggregate vehicle inventory from dealers and apply our proprietary analysis to generate a Deal Rating as one of: Great Deal, Good Deal, Fair Deal, High Priced, or Overpriced. Deal Rating illustrates how competitive a listing is compared to similar cars sold in the same region in recent history. We determine Deal Rating principally on the basis of both our proprietary Instant Market Value, or IMV, algorithm, which determines the market value of a used vehicle in a local market, and Dealer Rating, a measure of a dealer’s reputation as determined by reviews of that dealer from our user community. As the only major U.S. online automotive marketplace that defaults to sorting organic search results based on a used car’s Deal Rating, we enable consumers to find the most relevant car for their needs. For new cars, we help our users understand deal quality by providing price analysis and our Dealer Rating. We also provide our users information historically not widely available, such as Price History, Time on Site, and Vehicle History. We believe this approach brings greater transparency, trust, and efficiency to a consumer’s car research and buying process, leading to higher engagement and a more informed consumer who is better prepared to purchase at the dealership.

Our large, engaged, and predominantly mobile user base presents an attractive audience of in‑market consumers for our dealers. By presenting consumers with data such as our Deal Ratings, Price History, Time on Site, and Vehicle History, we believe our consumer audience is comprised of more informed, ready-to-purchase shoppers. By connecting dealers with more informed, ready-to-purchase consumers, we believe we provide dealers with an efficient customer acquisition channel and attractive returns on their marketing spend with us. Dealers can list their inventory in our marketplace for free or with a subscription to one of our paid Listings packages. Non-paying dealers receive anonymized email connections and access to a subset of the tools on our Dealer Dashboard at no cost. Dealers with a paid subscription receive connections with consumers that are not anonymous and can be made through a wider variety of methods, including phone calls, email, managed text and chat, links to the dealers’ website, and map directions to dealerships. The primary objective of our traffic acquisition and site improvement efforts is to generate greater volumes of consumer leads to dealers. Leads are a subcategory of connections that we define as user inquiries via our marketplace to dealers by phone calls, email, or managed text and chat interactions. Dealers with our paid Listings packages are able to display their dealer name, address, and dealership information on their listings on our websites to gain brand recognition, which promotes walk‑in traffic to the dealer. We also provide paying dealers with full access to our Dealer Dashboard, including inventory pricing tools informed by real‑time market conditions, which helps them more effectively price, merchandise, and sell their cars. Our success with dealers is evidenced by the number of paying dealers in our U.S. marketplace. Our U.S. marketplace had 28,990 paying dealers as of December 31, 2019 compared to 27,534 and 25,122 as of December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017, respectively.

Our scaled online marketplace model drives powerful network effects. The industry‑leading inventory selection offered by our U.S. dealers attracts a large and engaged consumer audience. The value of robust connections to this audience incentivizes dealers to purchase our paid Listings packages. Displaying listings from more paying dealers provides consumers with more dealer information and methods to contact them. More consumers – 36.8 million average monthly U.S. unique users in 2019 – and connections – 65.3 million in the U.S. in 2019 – drive greater value to paying dealers on our platform. Driven by these network effects, we continue to amass more data, which we use to continuously improve our search algorithms, the accuracy of Deal Ratings, our user experience, and, ultimately, the quality of the connections between consumers and dealers.

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We generate marketplace subscription revenue from dealers through subscriptions to our products, including our paid Listings packages (which include optional features and enhancements such as Delivery) and products marketed under our Real-time Performance Marketing suite, including our Dealer Display advertising and audience targeting products and our Dealer Search Engine Marketing product. We also generate advertising and other revenue from auto manufacturers and other auto‑related brand advertisers, as well as from non-dealer products such as through our consumer financing partnerships and our peer-to-peer marketplace. Our rapid revenue growth and financial performance over the last several years exemplify the strength of our marketplace. We generated revenue of $588.9 million in 2019, $454.1 million in 2018, and $316.9 million in 2017, representing year-over-year increases of 30% in 2019 and 43% in 2018In 2019, we generated net income of $42.1 million and our Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP financial measure, was $77.0 million, compared to net income of $65.2 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $49.7 million in 2018 and net income of $13.2 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $24.1 million in 2017. See “Selected Consolidated Financial Data — Adjusted EBITDA” for more information regarding our use of Adjusted EBITDA and a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to our net income (loss).

Consumer Challenges

As consumers determine the car they would like to purchase, the key questions they ask are:

 

What type of car should I buy?

 

Where can I buy a car like this?

 

What is a fair price for this particular type of car?

 

Have others had a good experience buying from this dealer?

In answering these questions, consumers historically had limited access to unbiased information on specific vehicles, car pricing, and dealer reputation. Every used car is unique, and so for consumers searching for used cars, it is difficult to aggregate the relevant inventory of available cars across sellers, a difficulty exacerbated by the lack of consistency in the way that dealers characterize a car’s attributes. Traditionally, dealers had more information about car prices than consumers did, as consumers had limited resources and tools to determine an appropriate price. Selecting the right dealer was also challenging for consumers as dealer reputations were historically based primarily on word‑of‑mouth. The lack of clear, unbiased, transparent information made it difficult for consumers to effectively compare vehicles, find the vehicles that best suited their needs and transact with well-regarded dealers.

Dealer Challenges

The economics of dealerships depend largely on sales volume, gross margin, and customer acquisition efficiency. To achieve a high return on their marketing investments, dealers must find in‑market consumers; yet because car purchases are infrequent, only a small percentage of consumers are shopping for a car at any given point in time. Traditional marketing channels, including television, radio, and newspaper, can effectively target locally but are inefficient in targeting the relatively small percentage of consumers who are actively in the market to buy a car. In addition, used car pricing is fluid because it is based on rapidly shifting supply and demand dynamics. Dealers need to find ways to manage constantly changing inventory and adjust pricing strategies to adapt to frequently changing market conditions.

Our Strengths

We believe that our competitive advantages are based on the following key strengths:

Trusted Marketplace for Consumers.  We provide consumers with unbiased information, intuitive search results, and other tools that empower them to find “Great Deals from Top-Rated Dealers.” We offer the largest online selection of new and used car listings of any major U.S. online automotive marketplace. We aggregate and analyze these listings using proprietary technology and data along with innovative data analytics to create a differentiated automotive search experience for consumers. We believe that providing a transparent consumer experience with unbiased information has instilled trust in us among our users, helping us to become the most visited online automotive marketplace in the United States according to data from Comscore. In 2019, we experienced over 99.4 million average monthly sessions in the United States. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Key Business Metrics” for how we define average monthly sessions. We believe this user traffic, an indicator of consumer satisfaction and engagement, is critical to our marketplace success and will continue to strengthen our market position. We attract our audience from a diverse range of acquisition channels including, but not limited to, direct navigation, mobile applications, email, organic search, paid search advertising, social media advertising, display advertising, audience targeting, and brand advertising

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campaigns. In addition, we focus our efforts on attracting users that we believe are near a car purchasing decision, resulting in a higher quality audience to which our dealers can market. For our United States marketplace, in 2019 we generated 65.3 million connections and 38.5 million leads, compared with 62.2 million connections and 33.8 million leads in 2018. We define (i) connections as interactions between consumers and dealers via our marketplace through phone calls, email, managed text and chat, and clicks to access the dealer’s website and map directions to the dealership and (ii) leads as user inquiries via our marketplace to dealers by phone calls, email, or managed text and chat.

Proprietary Search Algorithms and Data‑Driven Approach.  We have built an extensive repository of data on cars, prices, dealers, and the interactions between consumers and dealers that is the result of many years of data aggregation and regression modeling. Our proprietary search algorithms and data analytics allow us to use this valuable data to bring greater transparency to our platform. The primary product of this analysis is our determination of a used car’s IMV, which, together with Dealer Rating, drives our Deal Rating. We calculate IMV by applying more than 20 ranking signals and more than 100 normalization rules to tens of millions of data points, including the make, model, trim, year, features, condition, history, geographic location, and mileage of the car. We apply the knowledge gained from analyzing the growing volume of connections between consumers and dealers on our platform to build new features for our consumers and products for our dealers.

Strong Value Proposition to Dealers.  We believe that our marketplace offers an efficient customer acquisition channel for dealers, helping them achieve attractive returns on their marketing spend with us. We provide our dealer base with connections to prospective car buyers; most of these connections have historically been for used cars. The primary objective of our traffic acquisition and site improvements is to generate greater volumes of consumer leads to our dealers. These leads include phone calls, email, and managed text and chat interactions to dealers, which we believe yield the highest value engagement for dealers. We provide all dealers with tools that are informed by real‑time market conditions that help them merchandise and sell their cars, and our paying dealers get access to additional valuable information from our Pricing Tool and Market Analysis tool. Our strong value proposition to the dealer community is evidenced by our 19% growth in average annual revenue per subscribing dealer, or AARSD, in the United States in 2019 compared to 2018.

Network Effects Driven by Scale.  With the majority of dealers in the United States listing inventory on our platform and having built the most visited online automotive marketplace in the United States according to data from Comscore, we believe that our scale creates powerful network effects that reinforce the competitive strength of our business model. Our large consumer audience increases our appeal to dealers and incentivizes more dealers to subscribe to our paid Listings packages to access the numerous benefits unavailable to non‑paying dealers. Displaying listings from more paying dealers on our websites provides consumers with more dealer information and methods to contact those dealers. More consumers and connections drive greater value and a higher return to paying dealers’ marketing spend on our platform. Driven by these network effects, we continue to amass data points, which we use to further strengthen our traffic acquisition efforts and marketplace search algorithms, the utility of analysis complementing each listing, the quality of our user experience, the value of connections between consumers and dealers, and the efficacy of our dealer digital marketing products.

Attractive Financial Model.  We have a strong track record of revenue growth, profitability, and capital efficiency. We generated revenue of $588.9 million in 2019, $454.1 million in 2018, and $316.9 million in 2017, representing year-over-year increases of 30% in 2019 and 43% in 2018. A significant portion of our revenue is recurring due to the subscription nature of our products. In 2019, 2018, and 2017, dealer marketplace subscription revenue from our Listings packages, our Dealer Display advertising and audience targeting products, and our Dealer Search Engine Marketing product, all of which we consider to constitute recurring revenue, comprised 89% of total revenue in each year. Furthermore, our revenue base is highly diversified due to the fragmented nature of the automotive dealer industry. We also have been able to grow and invest in our future growth while improving profitability due to the operating leverage in our business model. On a consolidated basis, while our revenue grew 30% in 2019 and 43% in 2018, our Adjusted EBITDA grew 55% in 2019 and 106% in 2018. As a percentage of revenue, our Adjusted EBITDA margin expanded to 13% in 2019 from 11% in 2018 and from 8% in 2017. In the United States, which is our most developed market, we grew our revenue by 27% in 2019 and 42% in 2018 while increasing our income from operations to $73.9 million in 2019 from $58.4 million in 2018 and $41.6 million in 2017.

Founder‑Led Management Team with Culture of Innovation.  Our founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Langley Steinert, co‑founded and was previously chairman of TripAdvisor, an online marketplace for travel‑related content based on the mission of using technology and a data‑driven approach to provide transparency for consumers’ travel planning. Led by Mr. Steinert and a management team with extensive experience guiding technology companies in evolving industries, we bring the same commitment to fostering a culture of innovation and delivering data-driven transparency to the automotive market.

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Our Products

Consumer Marketplace

We provide consumers an online automotive marketplace where they can search for new and used car listings from our dealers. With our U.S. marketplace’s peer-to-peer offering, consumers also have access to additional car listings from private sellers, and are able to sell their car to other consumers. Through our marketplace, we provide consumers with information that helps them find the most relevant car for their needs. A user accesses our marketplace through our websites or, in the U.S. and certain international markets, by using our mobile applications. Most users specify whether they are searching for used, certified pre‑owned, or new cars and then provide their desired vehicle make and model and their postal code. Our product offerings described below are available through our U.S. marketplace; their availability internationally varies by country. We also offer paid listings subscriptions for dealers and display advertising products through the PistonHeads website.

Used and Certified Pre‑Owned Cars

Using our proprietary search algorithms, we immediately display the results of the consumer’s search, ranked by Deal Rating, on a search results page, or SRP. Eligible used car listings in our marketplace are assigned one of five Deal Ratings: Great Deal, Good Deal, Fair Deal, High Priced, or Overpriced. Deal Rating illustrates how competitive a listing is compared to similar cars sold in the same region in recent history. A listing’s Deal Rating is based primarily upon the IMV of the vehicle and the Dealer Rating of the dealer.

Instant Market Value.  IMV is a proprietary algorithm that determines the market value of a used vehicle in a local market and is a key input for determining a vehicle’s Deal Rating. The IMV algorithm is the product of many years of regression modeling utilizing millions of used car data points. IMV takes into account a number of factors, including comparable currently listed and previously sold used cars in the local market and vehicle details including make, model, trim, year, features, condition, history, and mileage. Our algorithm uses more than 20 ranking signals and more than 100 normalization rules that distill unstructured data from hundreds of sources across thousands of dealers.

Dealer Ratings.  Dealer Ratings are derived from user‑generated content from our users’ experiences with dealers with which they have connected. To promote high‑quality reviews, we require that a user have interacted with the dealer via our marketplace to submit a review. We believe this requirement, together with additional qualification standards, results in a more valuable Dealer Rating. Dealer Rating is an important component of a listing’s Deal Rating and as a result can impact the organic search position of a listing.

Search Results Page.  In addition to each car’s Deal Rating, our SRP provides users with other useful information, including the difference between the listing price and the IMV that we have determined for the car, mileage, Dealer Rating, and dealer location for paying dealers. We provide in‑depth search filters, including price, year, mileage, trim, color, options, condition, body style, miles per gallon, seating capacity, vehicle ownership history, usage history, seller type, and days on market, among others, which we believe deliver the most comprehensive search capability among major U.S. online automotive marketplaces. We also provide our users with additional features to aid their search, including similar vehicle recommendations, side‑by‑side vehicle comparisons, expert reviews, and user rankings. Our platform also gives users the ability to save searches and receive alerts that keep them informed of relevant developments in the market, including newly available inventory and price changes to cars they are monitoring.

Vehicle Detail Page.  If a user clicks on one of the listings on the SRP, the user is taken to that listing’s vehicle detail page, or VDP. VDPs are designed to provide numerous photos and a comprehensive description of the vehicle, dealer name, address, and dealership information for paying dealers, detailed dealer reviews, methods to contact the dealer, payment calculators, and helpful information about the vehicle, including:

 

Price History.  Changes to a vehicle’s price on our platform. We also offer price change alerts to consumers on searches they have saved, which allow them to respond quickly to changes in the market.

 

Time on Site.  Length of time a vehicle has been on our platform and how many users have saved the vehicle to their list of favorite listings, indicators of the likely demand for the car.

 

Vehicle History.  Title check, accident check, number of owners, and fleet status of the vehicle, giving consumers data that helps them better understand the car’s condition.

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New Cars

Search results for new car listings are sorted by price of inventory matching the user’s search, with the lowest priced listings sorted first. Our new car VDPs include our Dealer Rating and many of the other features of our used car listings, such as Price History and Time on Site. Deal Rating is not applicable to new car listings because it utilizes data not relevant to new cars. Instead, we analyze data on manufacturers’ suggested retail prices, or MSRPs, and recent sales of similar new vehicles, accounting for trade-ins, incentives, and other factors that can affect the price of a new car, to provide users with comparative price information.

Sell My Car

We also allow our consumer users to list their cars in our peer-to-peer marketplace in the United States. Our Sell My Car offering enables individual car owners to easily merchandise their vehicles, determine an appropriate selling price with our proprietary price guidance, and manage their listings and communications with prospective buyers from our audience. We offer services to facilitate financing, processing payment, titling, and other aspects of the private-sale transaction. We collect a fee from the selling consumer for these services.

Dealer Marketplace

Our marketplace connects dealers to a large audience of informed and engaged consumers. We offer multiple types of marketplace Listings subscriptions to dealers through our platform: Restricted Listings, which is free, and various levels of Listings packages, each of which requires a paid subscription. We price our paid Listings packages as a monthly, quarterly, semiannual, or annual subscription based on the dealer’s inventory size, region, and our assessment of the return on investment, or ROI, our solution will provide them.

 

Restricted Listings.  We allow non‑paying dealers to list their inventory in our marketplace as Restricted Listings (formerly referred to as Basic Listings). Restricted Listings do not display the name, address, website URL, or phone number of the relevant dealer and are subject to other limitations. Consumers can contact these dealers only through an anonymous, CarGurus‑branded email address so the dealer does not receive any of the consumer’s personal contact information from our platform.

 

Listings Paid Subscriptions.  Paying dealers are able to subscribe to one of four Listings package levels: Standard, Enhanced, Featured or Featured Priority. These paid Listings packages are designed to provide dealers with a higher volume and quality of connections and leads from consumers than our Restricted Listings option. Dealers that subscribe to a paid Listings package gain the opportunity to connect with consumers directly through email, phone, and – excluding Standard Listings subscriptions – managed text and chat. Listings for all paying dealers on our websites include a link to their website, dealership branding and information such as name, address, and hours of operation, and map directions to their dealership, helping consumers easily contact or visit the dealer, which we believe results in increased local brand awareness and walk‑in traffic. A dealer that subscribes to our Featured or Featured Priority Listings package receives the same benefits of the Standard and Enhanced Listings packages, as well as opportunities for promotion of their Great Deal, Good Deal, and Fair Deal inventory in a clearly labeled section at the top of the SRP. Featured Priority listings are specifically promoted in the first position of the SRP. This premium placement for Featured and Featured Priority listings generates increased connection volume relative to Standard or Enhanced Listings. In addition, a dealer that pays for our Enhanced, Featured or Featured Priority Listings packages may subscribe to our Delivery feature, which expands the visibility of a dealer’s inventory in the search results beyond its local market.

Dealer Dashboard and Merchandising Tools

All dealers with inventory on CarGurus may access the following Dealer Dashboard features and merchandising tools:

 

Performance Summary.  Provides dealers with real‑time and historical data concerning the connections and consumer exposure they have received in our marketplace and through our digital marketing products. This enables dealers to analyze connections and SRP and VDP views at a granular level to inform the dealer’s sales and merchandising efforts.

 

Dealer Insights.  Provides pricing analysis of the dealer’s inventory, as well as a summary of a vehicle’s missing information such as price, photos, or trim. This information helps dealers better merchandise their vehicles.

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User Review Management.  Allows dealers to track and manage their dealership reviews from our users. Dealers can respond to users, report potentially fraudulent reviews, and publish positive reviews to social media platforms for broader exposure.

Dealers subscribing to a paid Listings package also have access to the following additional features and tools:

 

Pricing Tool.  Helps dealers evaluate the impact of pricing changes for each used vehicle in their inventory and the resulting impact on the car’s Deal Rating, empowering dealers to make informed pricing decisions based on market data in their local area.

 

Market Analysis.  Informs dealers of local market trends in used cars, such as the most searched makes and models in their local market. This information helps dealers align with local consumer preferences and inform strategies for increasing inventory turnover and efficient vehicle acquisition.

Dealer Digital Marketing and Customer Acquisition Products

We offer dealers subscribing to one of our Enhanced, Featured or Featured Priority Listings packages the following additional advertising and customer acquisition products and enhancements marketed under our Real-time Performance Marketing suite:

 

Dealer Display Advertising and Audience Targeting.  Dealers are able to buy display advertising that appears in our marketplace, on other sites on the internet, and/or on Facebook, a high-converting social platform, to build brand awareness and acquire customers. Advertisements can be targeted by the user’s geography, search history, CarGurus website activity (including showing users relevant vehicles from a dealer’s inventory that they have not yet discovered on our marketplace), and a number of other targeting factors, allowing dealers to increase their visibility with in-market consumers and drive qualified traffic to their websites.

 

Dealer Search Engine Marketing.  Leveraging the capabilities that we have developed for our own algorithmic traffic acquisition, we offer a product that delivers search engine marketing, social media advertising, and retargeting to programmatically drive qualified traffic to dealer websites. Utilizing algorithmic bidding strategies and automated keyword list management, we help dealers to optimize traffic acquisition.

Auto Manufacturer and Other Advertiser Products

Our platform offers auto manufacturers and others the ability to purchase display advertising on our sites to execute targeted marketing strategies:

 

Brand Reinforcement.  We allow auto manufacturers to buy advertising on our sites and target consumers based on the make, model, and postal code of the cars that a specific consumer is searching for, in order to increase exposure to interested consumers.

 

Category Sponsorship.  To address evolving priorities influenced by industry dynamics, seasonality, and other factors, we offer the ability to sponsor exclusively prominent high traffic pages on our sites, such as the New Car front page, Used Car front page, and Research Center.

 

Automobile Segment Exclusivity.  To support the introduction of new models or the success of existing models, we allow manufacturers to target specific automobile segments, such as SUV, sedan, hybrid, luxury, truck, and minivan.

 

Consumer Segment Exposure.  Auto manufacturers can target consumers both on CarGurus and third‑party websites based on various parameters, including estimated household income and vehicle specifications, such as make or model, and postal codes.

Consumer Financing Partnerships

Through our partnerships with automotive lending companies, we allow eligible consumers on our U.S. website to pre-qualify for financing on cars from dealerships that offer financing from these partners. We primarily generate revenue from these partnerships based on the number of funded loans from consumers who pre-qualify with our lending partners through our site.

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Marketing

Our marketing initiatives aim to drive brand awareness and engagement among consumers and dealers and to position us as a trusted online automotive marketplace.

Consumer Marketing

We have built our audience on the strength of our user experience, and we remain focused on delivering an engaging consumer marketplace. The strength of the consumer experience that we offer is one of our most powerful marketing tools. By providing an intuitive search experience in our marketplace and relevant content, updates, and tools to consumers during their car search, we believe that the users who comprise our large and engaged audience provide informal endorsements to other consumers, more powerful than most marketing messages.

Historically, our consumer marketing efforts were focused primarily on algorithmic traffic acquisition. We employ a team of strategists, engineers and data scientists that optimizes our user acquisition through search engines, social media, and other digital marketing channels and has tested over 1 billion keywords on various search engines as well as sophisticated, personalized remarketing, to nurture consumers toward finding the right car for them. We believe our expertise in this area constitutes a competitive advantage over less sophisticated competitors and those who outsource these capabilities.

We augment our marketing efforts with brand‑building investments in media, including television and online video, as well as ongoing efforts to convey our unique brand value proposition throughout our core site experience. These brand efforts launched more recently than our algorithmic traffic acquisition efforts, resulting in brand awareness that remains lower than some other major U.S. online automotive marketplaces in the United States despite our large monthly audience and high user engagement. We have made significant progress in closing our brand awareness gaps since launching brand marketing in 2017 and believe that we are well‑positioned to continue to strengthen our brand by continuing to invest in brand building efforts, particularly given our trusted product, which delivers well on the brand promises we convey.

Our vehicle listing data, on‑site user behavior, connections between consumers and dealers, and opinion data from our users create significant opportunities for us to develop and publish car shopping insights and information about industry trends. We consistently gain earned media coverage in national, regional, and trade press outlets as well as social channels by leveraging our proprietary data to inform newsworthy content.

Dealer Marketing

The primary goals of our dealer marketing initiatives are to acquire dealers not yet in our marketplace, convert non‑paying dealers into paying dealers, retain our existing paying dealers, and increase annual subscription revenues from our paying dealers. Our dealer marketing efforts aim to:

 

Educate Dealers on the Quality of Our Audience and Attractive ROI.  We educate dealers on our industry‑leading monthly visits in the U.S., our strong user engagement, and the large number of connections that we facilitate through our marketplace. We also highlight to dealers how unique features of our platform, such as our intuitive user interface and our proprietary technology and data analytics, yield consumers that we believe are more informed and better prepared to purchase at the dealership, which can lead to a higher ROI for the dealers’ marketing spend.

 

Provide Best Practices to Assist Dealers in Becoming Successful in Our Marketplace.  We provide ongoing communications through email, webinars, white papers, testimonials, and videos, which show dealers how to use our products to position their inventory for success on our platform and beyond. We maintain consistent communication with dealers via email, events and our Dealer Dashboard to ensure awareness of account performance and recent product updates.

 

Provide Thought Leadership that Educates Dealers on Marketplace Trends.  We generate insightful content on market trends and best practices in digital advertising that are shared through webinars, dealer forums, dealer advisory councils, and our participation in industry conferences and events. We also from time to time host thought leadership events in local markets and an automotive conference, Navigate, to continue to share our insights and help build our brand among dealerships.

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Sales

Our sales team is responsible for bringing dealers onto our marketplace and converting non-paying dealers to paid subscriptions. We have built an efficient inside sales and account management team of approximately 350 employees worldwide who sell our marketplace products to franchise and independent dealers. We have built a field sales team that works with strategic franchise and national dealership groups in large metropolitan areas in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. In addition, we have advertising sales employees based in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Detroit, Michigan; Los Angeles, California; and certain foreign locations.

We have a comprehensive dealer account management process to assist dealers in becoming successful in our marketplace. We assign a Customer Success Associate to every new paying dealer to assist with onboarding and integration with any relevant software systems. The designated Customer Success Associate spends time educating dealers on a range of topics, including effectively using the Dealer Dashboard, tracking sales, and measuring ROI for their marketing spend. After the onboarding period, a Dealer Relations Account Manager is designated to assist the dealer in utilizing our tools and maximizing ROI from our offerings, including optimizing inventory acquisition, effectively pricing vehicles, vehicle merchandising, and keeping inventory up to date with complete vehicle information. We believe this active communication with our dealers fosters customer satisfaction and increases customer retention.

Culture and Employees

Our company culture has developed out of our data‑driven and innovative approach to the automotive market. We leverage data to drive innovation across all facets of our business and continuously optimize our products and processes to serve our consumers, dealers, advertisers, and partners. Our approach emphasizes original thought, impact, and collaboration across our organization, and we recognize and award employees who drive positive impact across these constituencies. We encourage collaboration across our entire workforce and invest in creating a work environment that facilitates partnership among our employees and promotes diversity, equity and inclusion. In that spirit, we have identified our core values as follows:

 

We are pioneering. From the beginning, we set out to radically change how people buy and sell cars. We tackle difficult problems head on. We are curious. We are risk takers. We embrace change even if it’s uncomfortable.

 

We are transparent. We believe transparency is the foundation of trust and enables better decision making. We communicate clearly and honestly. We deliver unbiased guidance. Our products, services and company culture are built on these principles. 

 

We are data-driven. We rely on data, not hunches, to make decisions. We listen to our instincts but we validate through rapid testing, learning and optimizing. We translate complex data into actionable insights for our users, our customers and our people. 

 

We are collaborative. We celebrate our individual strengths and perspectives but know that our success requires teamwork. We partner, we listen and we leverage feedback from each other, our users and our customers.

 

We move quickly. We believe there’s power in speed. We iterate quickly and often, continuously improving as we go. We are not afraid to break things. If we fail, we do it fast, learn from it and move on. 

 

We have integrity. We act responsibly and consider the impact of our actions on each other, our partners and the world around us. We believe empathy, respect and fairness are essential. We set high ethical standards and expect principled leadership from our people. 

We have won a number of awards recognizing our strong culture, including Fortune’s “Best Places to Work” in 2019, Computerworld’s “Best Places to Work in IT” in 2019, Boston Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” for five years in a row from 2015 to 2019, Boston Globe’s “Top Place to Work” in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 and the Mass TLC Company of the Year award in 2018.

As of December 31, 2019, we had 921 full‑time employees, 105 of whom were based outside the United States. None of our employees is represented by a labor union or covered by a collective bargaining agreement. We have not experienced any work stoppages, and we consider our relations with our employees to be good.

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Technology and Product Development

We are a technology company focused on innovative, actionable data analysis. We design our mobile and web products to create an unbiased, transparent experience for both consumers and dealers. We believe in rapid development, release frequent updates and have internal tools and automation that allow us to efficiently evolve our products. Our software is built using a combination of internally developed software, third‑party software and services, and open source software.

Our Search Technology

Our search and ranking technology is served by a proprietary in‑memory search index solution that is scalable, fast, and extensible, allowing us to expand more easily into new markets, as demonstrated by our international marketplace launches. We have highly flexible interfaces that allow dealers to automatically add their inventory to our index, enabling us to quickly integrate hundreds of inventory sources with minimal effort and easily support inventory growth.

Our Mobile Technology

We have designed our marketplace to appeal to mobile users by developing our products with a mobile‑first mindset. All of our search results pages use a single‑page application type approach to eliminate page reloads and improve responsiveness. We also use techniques to load content onto a user’s mobile device more efficiently.

Our Integrations

We make available several application program interfaces and web widgets that integrate with customer relationship management and inventory management solutions, among other platforms. These integrations allow dealers to incorporate designated data and tools into the fabric of their marketing and customer engagement strategies. For example, our Deal Rating Badges are used on dealer websites, which show our Deal Rating for cars that have been rated as a Great Deal, Good Deal, or Fair Deal. Our Deal Rating serves as trusted, third‑party validation on dealer websites.

Infrastructure

Our development servers and U.S. and Canadian websites are hosted at third-party data centers near Boston, Massachusetts, as well as through third-party cloud services in the U.S. Our European websites are hosted on third-party cloud computing services near London, England. We use third-party content distribution networks to cache and serve many portions of our sites at locations across the globe. We monitor and test at the application, host, network, and full site levels to maintain availability and promote performance. We use third-party cloud computing services for many data processing jobs and backup/recovery services.

Competition

We face competition to attract consumers and paying dealers to our marketplace and to attract advertisers to purchase our advertising products and services. Our competitors offer various marketplaces, products, and services that compete with us. Some of these competitors include:

 

major U.S. online automotive marketplaces: AutoTrader.com, Cars.com, and TrueCar.com;

 

other U.S. automotive websites, such as Edmunds.com, KBB.com and Carfax.com;

 

online automotive marketplaces and websites in international markets;

 

internet search engines;

 

digital marketing providers;

 

peer to peer marketplaces, such as Craigslist;

 

sites operated by individual automobile dealers; and

 

online dealerships, such as Carvana and Vroom.

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Competition for Consumers and Dealers

We compete for consumer visits with other online automotive marketplaces, free listing services, general search engines, and dealers’ websites. We compete for consumers primarily on the basis of the quality of the consumer experience. We believe we compete favorably on user experience due to the number of our vehicle listings, the unbiased transparency of the information we provide on cars, prices, and dealers, the intuitive nature of our user interface, and our mobile user experience, among other factors.

We compete for dealers’ marketing spend with offline customer acquisition channels, other online automotive marketplaces, dealers’ own customer acquisition efforts on search engines, and other internet sites that attract consumers searching for vehicles. We compete primarily on the basis of the ROI that our marketplace provides. We believe we compete favorably due to our large user audience, high user engagement, and the volume and quality of connections we provide to well‑informed consumers, which results in an attractive ROI for dealers.

Competition for Advertisers

We compete for a share of advertisers’ total marketing budgets against media sites, websites dedicated to helping consumers shop for cars, major internet portals, search engines, and social media sites, among others. We also compete for a share of advertisers’ overall marketing budgets with traditional media, such as television, radio, magazines, newspapers, automotive guide publications, billboards, and other offline advertising channels. We compete for advertising spend based on the marketing ROI that our marketplace provides. We believe we compete favorably due to our large user audience size, high user engagement, and the effectiveness and relevance of our advertising products.

Intellectual Property

We protect our intellectual property through a combination of patents, copyrights, trademarks, service marks, domain names, trade secret protections, confidentiality procedures, and contractual restrictions.

We have three pending U.S. patent applications and one pending international patent application. These applications cover proprietary technology that relates to various functionalities on our platform, generally in connection with pricing, ranking and detecting fraud in online listings. We intend to pursue additional patent protection to the extent we believe it would be beneficial to our competitive position.

We have a number of registered and unregistered trademarks, including “CarGurus,” the CarGurus logo, the CG logo, and related marks, which we have registered as trademarks in the United States and certain other jurisdictions. We pursue additional trademark registrations to the extent we believe doing so would be beneficial to our competitive position.

We are the registered holder of several domestic and international domain names that include “CarGurus” and variations of our trade names.

In addition to the protection provided by our intellectual property rights, we enter into confidentiality and proprietary rights agreements with our employees and relevant consultants, contractors, and business partners. We control the use of our proprietary technology and intellectual property through provisions in contracts with our customers and partners and our general and product-specific terms of use on our websites.

Regulatory

Various aspects of our business are, may become, or may be viewed by regulators from time to time as subject, directly or indirectly, to U.S. federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations. In particular, the advertising and sale of new or used motor vehicles is highly regulated by the states and jurisdictions in which we do business. Although we do not sell motor vehicles and we believe that vehicle listings on our sites are not themselves advertisements, regulatory authorities or third parties could take the position that some of the laws or regulations applicable to dealers or to the manner in which motor vehicles are advertised and sold generally are directly applicable to our business. These advertising laws and regulations, which often originated decades before the emergence of the internet, are frequently subject to multiple interpretations, are not uniform across jurisdictions, sometimes impose inconsistent requirements with respect to new or used motor vehicles, and the manner in which they should be applied to our business model is not always clear. Regulators or other third parties could take, and on some occasions have taken, the position that our marketplace or related products violate applicable brokering, bird‑dog, consumer protection, or advertising laws or regulations.

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In order to operate in this regulated environment, we develop our products and services with a view toward appropriately managing the risk that our regulatory compliance, or the regulatory compliance of the dealers whose inventory is listed on our websites, could be challenged.

We consider applicable advertising and consumer protection laws and regulations in designing our products and services. With respect to paid advertising, other than Featured Listings, Featured Priority Listings and Dealer Display advertising and audience targeting products marketed under our Real-time Performance Marketing suite, we believe that most of the content displayed on the websites we operate does not constitute paid advertising for the sale of motor vehicles. Nevertheless, we endeavor to design the content in a manner that would comply with relevant advertising regulations and consumer protection laws if, and to the extent that, the content is considered to be vehicle sales advertising.

Our websites and mobile applications enable us, dealers, and users to send and receive text messages and other mobile phone communications, which requires us to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, in the U.S.  The TCPA, as interpreted and implemented by the Federal Communications Commission and federal and state courts, imposes significant restrictions on utilization of telephone calls and text messages to residential and mobile telephone numbers as a means of communication, particularly when the prior express consent of the person being contacted has not been obtained.  

In addition, we are subject to numerous federal, national, state, and local laws and regulations in the United States and around the world regarding privacy and the collection, processing, storage, sharing, disclosure, use, cross-border transfer, and protection of personal information and other data.  While the scope of these laws and regulations is changing and remains subject to differing interpretations, we seek to comply with industry standards and all applicable laws, policies, legal obligations, and industry codes of conduct relating to privacy and data protection.  We are also subject to the terms of our privacy policies and privacy-related obligations to third parties.  

Corporate Information

We were originally organized on November 10, 2005 as a Massachusetts limited liability company under the name “Nimalex LLC.” Effective July 15, 2006, we changed our name to “CarGurus LLC.” On June 26, 2015, we converted into a Delaware corporation and changed our name to “CarGurus, Inc.”

Our principal executive offices are located at 2 Canal Park, 4th Floor, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02141, and our telephone number is (617) 354-0068. Our U.S. website is www.cargurus.com. Information that is contained on, or that can be accessed through, our websites is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and you should not consider information on our websites to be part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

CarGurus, the CarGurus logo, and other trademarks or service marks of CarGurus appearing in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of CarGurus, Inc. Trade names, trademarks, and service marks of other companies appearing in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of their respective holders. We have omitted the ® and ™ designations, as applicable, for the trademarks used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Additional Information

The following filings are available on our investor relations website after we file them with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC: Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Proxy Statements for our annual meetings of stockholders.  These filings are also available for download free of charge on our investor relations website. Our investor relations website is located at http://investors.cargurus.com.  You may obtain copies of these documents by mail from the Public Reference Section of the SEC, 100 F Street, N.E., Room 1580, Washington, D.C. 20549. The SEC also maintains a website that contains reports, proxy statements and other information about issuers, like us, that file electronically with the SEC.  The address of that website is https://www.sec.gov.

We webcast our earnings calls and certain events that we participate in or host with members of the investment community on our investor relations website.  Additionally, we provide news and announcements regarding our financial performance, including SEC filings, investor events, press and earnings releases, on our investor relations website.  Corporate governance information, including our policies concerning business conduct and ethics, is also available on our investor relations website under the heading “Governance.” No content from any of our websites is intended to be incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file with the SEC, and any reference to our websites is intended to be an inactive textual reference only.

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Item 1A. Risk Factors.

Investing in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should consider carefully the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information contained in this Annual Report, including “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes, before evaluating our business. Our business, financial condition, operating results, cash flow, and prospects could be materially and adversely affected by any of these risks or uncertainties. In that event, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline. See “Special Note Regarding Forward‑Looking Statements.”

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

Our business is substantially dependent on our relationships with dealers, and our subscription agreements with these dealers do not contain long-term contractual commitments.  If a significant number of dealers terminate their subscription agreements with us, our business and financial results would be materially and adversely affected.

Our primary source of revenue consists of subscription fees paid to us by dealers for access to enhanced features on our automotive marketplace.  Our subscription agreements with dealers generally may be terminated by us with 30 days’ notice and by dealers with 30 days’ notice at the end of the committed term.  While we are transitioning many of these dealers to contracts with one-year committed terms, the majority of our contracts with dealers currently provide for one-month committed terms.  The contracts do not contain contractual obligations requiring a dealer to maintain its relationship with us beyond the committed term.  Accordingly, these dealers may cancel their subscriptions with us in accordance with the terms of their subscription agreements.  If a significant number of our paying dealers terminate their subscriptions with us, our business and financial results would be materially and adversely affected.

If we fail to maintain or increase the number of dealers that pay subscription fees to us, or fail to maintain or increase the fees paid to us for subscriptions, our business and financial results would be materially and adversely affected.

If paying dealers do not experience the volume of consumer connections that they expect during their subscription period, or do not experience the level of car sales they expect from those connections, they may terminate their subscriptions at the conclusion of the committed term or may only be willing to renew their subscriptions at a lower level of fees.  Even if dealers do experience increased consumer connections or sales, they may not attribute such increases to our platform.  If we fail to maintain or expand our base of paying dealers or fail to maintain or increase the level of fees that we receive from them, our business and financial results would be materially and adversely affected.

We allow dealers to list their inventory in the CarGurus marketplace for free; however, we impose certain limitations on such free listings, such as excluding dealer identity and contact information, and these dealers do not receive access to the paid features of our marketplace.  In the future we may decide to impose additional restrictions on free listings. Many dealers start with us on a non-paying basis and then become paying customers in order to take advantage of the features of our paid Listings packages.  If dealers do not subscribe to our paid offerings at the rates we expect, or if a greater than expected number of paying dealers elect to terminate their subscriptions or reduce their fees, our business and financial results would be materially and adversely affected.

If dealers or other advertisers reduce their advertising spending with us and we are unable to attract new advertisers, our business would be harmed.

A significant amount of our revenue is derived from advertising revenues generated primarily through advertising sales, including display advertising and audience targeting services, to dealers, auto manufacturers, and other auto-related brand advertisers.  We compete for this advertising revenue with other online automotive marketplaces and with television, print media, and other traditional advertising channels.  Our ability to attract and retain advertisers, and to generate advertising revenue, depends on a number of factors, including:

 

our ability to increase the number of consumers using our marketplace;

 

our ability to compete effectively for advertising spending with other online automotive marketplaces;

 

our ability to continue to develop our advertising products;

 

our ability to keep pace with changes in technology and the practices and offerings of our competitors; and

 

our ability to offer an attractive ROI to our advertisers for their advertising spend with us.

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Our agreements with dealers for display advertising generally include terms ranging from one month to one year and may be terminated by us with 30 days’ notice and by dealers with 30 days’ notice at the end of the committed term.  The contracts do not contain contractual obligations requiring an advertiser to maintain its relationship with us beyond the committed term.  Our other advertising contracts, including those with auto manufacturers, are typically for a defined period of time and do not have ongoing commitments to advertise in our marketplace beyond the committed term.  We may not succeed in capturing a greater share of our advertisers’ spending if we are unable to convince advertisers of the effectiveness or superiority of our advertising services as compared to alternative channels.  If current advertisers reduce or end their advertising spending with us and we are unable to attract new advertisers, our advertising revenue and business and financial results would be harmed.

If we are unable to provide a compelling vehicle search experience to consumers through our platform, the number of connections between consumers and dealers using our marketplace may decline and our business and financial results would be materially and adversely affected.

If we fail to continue to provide a compelling vehicle search experience to consumers, the number of connections between consumers and dealers through our marketplace could decline, which in turn could lead dealers to stop listing their inventory in our marketplace, cancel their subscriptions, or reduce their advertising spend with us.  If dealers stop listing their inventory in our marketplace, we may not be able to maintain and grow our consumer traffic, which may cause other dealers to stop using our marketplace.  This reduction in the number of dealers using our marketplace would likely materially and adversely affect our marketplace and our business and financial results.  As consumers increasingly use their mobile devices to access the internet and our marketplace, our success will depend, in part, on our ability to provide consumers with a robust and user-friendly experience through their mobile devices.  We believe that our ability to provide a compelling vehicle search experience, both on the web and through mobile devices, is subject to a number of factors, including:

 

our ability to maintain an attractive marketplace for consumers and dealers, including on mobile platforms;

 

our ability to continue to innovate and introduce products for our marketplace on mobile platforms;

 

our ability to launch new products that are effective and have a high degree of consumer engagement;

 

our ability to maintain the compatibility of our mobile applications with operating systems, such as iOS and Android, and with popular mobile devices running such operating systems; and

 

our ability to access and analyze a sufficient amount of data to enable us to provide relevant information to consumers, including pricing information and accurate vehicle details.

 

If the use of our marketplace, particularly on mobile devices, does not continue to grow, our business and operating results would be harmed.

We rely on internet search engines to drive traffic to our websites, and if we fail to appear prominently in the search results, our traffic would decline and our business would be adversely affected.

We depend, in part, on internet search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to drive traffic to our websites.  The number of consumers we attract to our marketplace from search engines is due in part to how and where our websites rank in unpaid search results.  These rankings can be affected by a number of factors, many of which are not under our direct control and may change frequently.  For example, when a consumer searches for a vehicle in an internet search engine, we rely on a high organic search ranking of our webpages to refer the consumer to our websites.  Our competitors’ internet search engine optimization efforts may result in their websites receiving higher search result rankings than ours, or internet search engines could change their methodologies in a way that would adversely affect our search result rankings.  If internet search engines modify their methodologies in ways that are detrimental to us, or if our competitors’ internet search engine optimization efforts are more successful than ours, overall growth in our traffic could slow or our traffic could decline.  In addition, internet search engine providers could provide dealer and pricing information directly in search results, align with our competitors, or choose to develop competing products.  Search engines may also adopt a more aggressive auction-pricing system for keywords that would cause us to incur higher advertising costs or reduce our market visibility to prospective users.  Our websites have experienced fluctuations in search result rankings in the past, and we anticipate fluctuations in the future.  Any reduction in the number of consumers directed to our websites through internet search engines could harm our business and operating results.

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Any inability by us to develop new products, or achieve widespread consumer and dealer adoption of those products, could negatively impact our business and financial results.

Our success depends on our continued innovation to provide products and services that make our marketplace, websites, and mobile applications useful for consumers and dealers or that otherwise provide value to consumers and dealers.  These new products must be widely adopted by consumers and dealers in order for us to continue to attract consumers to our marketplace and dealers to our products and services.  Accordingly, we must continually invest resources in product, technology, and development in order to improve the attractiveness and comprehensiveness of our marketplace and its related products and effectively incorporate new internet and mobile technologies into them.  These product, technology, and development expenses may include costs of hiring additional personnel, engaging third-party service providers and other research and development activities.  In addition, revenue relating to new products is typically unpredictable and our new products may have lower gross margins, lower retention rates, and higher marketing and sales costs than our existing products.  We are likely to continue to modify our pricing models for both existing and new products so that our prices for our offerings reflect the value those offerings are providing to consumers and dealers.  Our pricing models may not effectively reflect the value of products to consumers and dealers, and, if we are unable to provide a marketplace and products that consumers and dealers want to use, they may become dissatisfied and instead use our competitors’ websites and mobile applications.  Without an innovative marketplace and related products, we may be unable to attract additional, unique consumers or retain current consumers, which could affect the number of dealers that become paying dealers and the number of advertisers that want to advertise in our marketplace, which could, in turn, negatively impact our business and financial results.

We may be unable to maintain or grow relationships with data providers, or may experience interruptions in the data they provide, which may create a less valuable or transparent shopping experience and negatively affect our business and operating results.

We obtain data from many third-party data providers, including inventory management systems, automotive website providers, customer relationship management systems, dealer management systems, governmental entities, and third-party data licensors.  Our business relies on our ability to obtain data for the benefit of consumers and dealers using our marketplace.  For example, our success in international markets is dependent in part upon our ability to obtain and maintain inventory data and other vehicle information for those markets. The large amount of inventory and vehicle information available in our marketplace is critical to the value we provide for consumers. The loss or interruption of such inventory data or other vehicle information could decrease the number of consumers using our marketplace. We could experience interruptions in our data access for a number of reasons, including difficulties in renewing our agreements with data providers, changes to the software used by data providers, efforts by industry participants to restrict access to data, and increased fees we may be charged by data providers.  Our marketplace could be negatively affected if any current provider terminates its relationship with us or our service from any provider is interrupted.  If there is a material disruption in the data provided to us, the information that we provide to consumers and dealers using our marketplace may be limited.  In addition, the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of this information may suffer, which may lead to a less valuable and less transparent shopping experience for consumers using our marketplace and could negatively affect our business and operating results.

The failure to build, maintain and protect our brand would harm our ability to grow our audience and to expand the use of our marketplace by consumers and dealers.

While we are focused on building our brand recognition, maintaining and enhancing our brand will depend largely on the success of our efforts to maintain the trust of consumers and dealers and to deliver value to each consumer and dealer using our marketplace.  Our ability to protect our brand is also impacted by the success of our efforts to optimize our significant brand spend and overcome the intense competition in brand marketing across our industry, including competitors that may imitate our messaging in response to our success. If consumers were to believe that we are not focused on providing them with a better automobile shopping experience, or if we fail to overcome brand marketing competition and maintain a differentiated value proposition in consumers’ minds, our reputation and the strength of our brand may be adversely affected.

Complaints or negative publicity about our business practices, our management team and employees, our marketing and advertising campaigns, our compliance with applicable laws and regulations, the integrity of the data that we provide to consumers, data privacy and security issues, and other aspects of our business, irrespective of their validity, could diminish consumers’ and dealers’ confidence and participation in our marketplace and could adversely affect our brand.  There can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain or enhance our brand, and failure to do so would harm our business growth prospects and operating results.

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Portions of our platform enable consumers and dealers using our sites to communicate with one another and other persons seeking information or advice on the internet.  Claims of defamation or other injury could be made against us for content posted on our websites.  In addition, negative publicity and user sentiment generated as a result of fraudulent or deceptive conduct by users of our marketplace could damage our reputation, reduce our ability to attract new users or retain our current users, and diminish the value of our brand.

 

Our recent, rapid growth is not indicative of our future growth, and our revenue growth rate will continue to decline in the future.

Our revenue increased to $588.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 from $454.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, representing a 30% increase between such periods, and increased to $454.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 from $316.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2017, representing a 43% increase between such periods. In the future, our revenue growth rates will continue to decline as we achieve higher market penetration rates, as our revenue increases to higher levels, and as we experience increased competition.  As our revenue growth rates decline, investors’ perceptions of our business may be adversely affected and the market price of our Class A common stock could decline.  In addition, we will not be able to grow as expected, or at all, if we do not accomplish the following:

 

increase the number of consumers using our marketplace;

 

maintain and expand the number of dealers that subscribe to our marketplace and maintain and increase the fees that they are paying;

 

attract and retain advertisers placing advertisements in our marketplace;

 

further improve the quality of our marketplace and introduce high quality new products; and

 

increase the number of connections between consumers and dealers using our marketplace.

If we fail to expand effectively into new markets, both domestically and abroad, our revenue, business, and financial results will be harmed.

We intend to continue to expand our operations to target new markets, both domestically and abroad, and there can be no assurance that our expansion into these new markets will be successful.  Our expansion into new markets places us in unfamiliar competitive environments and involves various risks, including the need to invest significant resources and the likelihood that returns on such investments will not be achieved for several years, or possibly at all.  In attempting to establish a presence in new markets, we expect, as we have in the past, to incur significant losses in those markets and face various other challenges, such as obtaining and maintaining access to data, competition for consumers and dealers using our products, new and different competitors, monetizing dealers and other customers, new regulatory environments and laws, different consumer behavior than we are familiar with, and our ability to expand the number of our account managers to cover those new markets.  Our current and any future expansion plans will require significant resources and management attention.  Furthermore, expansion into international markets may not yield results similar to those we have achieved in the United States.

Our international operations involve risks that are different from, or in addition to, the risks we may experience as a result of our domestic operations, and our exposure to these risks will increase if we continue to expand internationally.

We may expand our international operations by continuing to enter new markets and expanding our offerings in new languages.  In most international markets, we would not be the first entrant, and our competitors may be more established or otherwise better positioned than we are to succeed.  Our competitors may offer services to dealers that make dealers dependent on them, such as hosting dealers’ websites and providing inventory feeds for dealers, which would make it difficult to attract dealers to our marketplace.  Dealers may also be parties to agreements with other dealers and syndicates that prevent them from being able to access our marketplace.  In addition, we may also face litigation from competitors in new markets.  Any of these barriers could impede our expansion into additional international markets, which could affect our business and potential growth.

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In addition to English, we have made portions of our platform available in French, German, Italian, and Spanish, and we will need to make all or portions of our platform available in additional languages as we launch in new countries.  We may have difficulty modifying our technology and content for use in non-English-speaking markets or fostering new communities in non-English-speaking markets.  Our ability to manage our business and conduct our operations internationally requires considerable management attention and resources, and is subject to the particular challenges of supporting a rapidly growing business in an environment of multiple languages, cultures, customs, legal and regulatory systems, alternative dispute resolution systems, and commercial infrastructures.  Expanding internationally may subject us to new risks or increase our exposure in connection with current risks, including risks associated with:

 

recruiting, managing and retaining qualified multilingual employees, including sales personnel;

 

adapting our websites and mobile applications to conform to local consumer behavior;

 

increased competition from local websites, mobile applications and periodicals and potential preferences by local populations for local providers;

 

compliance with applicable foreign laws and regulations, including different privacy, censorship, and liability standards and regulations, and different intellectual property laws;

 

providing solutions in different languages and for different cultures, which may require that we modify our solutions and features so they are culturally relevant in different countries;

 

the enforceability of our intellectual property rights;

 

credit risk and higher levels of payment fraud;

 

compliance with anti-bribery laws, including compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the United Kingdom Bribery Act;

 

currency exchange rate fluctuations;

 

foreign exchange controls that might prevent us from repatriating cash earned outside the United States;

 

political and economic instability in some countries;

 

adverse changes in trade relationships among foreign countries and/or between the United States and such countries;

 

double taxation of our international earnings and potentially adverse tax consequences arising from the tax laws of the United States or the foreign jurisdictions in which we operate; and

 

higher costs of doing business internationally.

 

We participate in a highly competitive market, and pressure from existing and new companies may adversely affect our business and operating results.

We face significant competition from companies that provide listings, information, lead generation, marketing, and car-buying services designed to help consumers shop for cars and to enable dealers to reach these consumers.  Our competitors offer various marketplaces, products, and services that compete with us.  Some of these competitors include:

 

major United States online automotive marketplaces: AutoTrader.com, Cars.com, and TrueCar.com;

 

other United States automotive websites, such as Edmunds.com, KBB.com, and Carfax.com;

 

online automotive marketplaces and websites in international markets;

 

internet search engines;

 

digital marketing providers;

 

peer to peer marketplaces, such as Craigslist;

 

sites operated by individual automobile dealers; and

 

online dealerships, such as Carvana and Vroom.

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We compete with these and other companies for a share of dealers’ overall marketing budget for online and offline media marketing spend.  To the extent that dealers view alternative marketing and media strategies to be superior to our marketplace, we may not be able to maintain or grow the number of dealers subscribing to, and advertising on, our marketplace, and our business and financial results may be adversely affected.

We also expect that new competitors will continue to enter the online automotive retail industry with competing marketplaces, products, and services, or that existing competitors will expand to offer competing products or services, which could have an adverse effect on our business and financial results.

Our competitors could significantly impede our ability to expand the number of dealers using our marketplace.  Our competitors may also develop and market new technologies that render our existing or future platform and associated products less competitive, unmarketable, or obsolete.  In addition, if our competitors develop platforms with similar or superior functionality to ours, and our web traffic declines, we may need to decrease our subscription and advertising fees.  If we are unable to maintain our current pricing structure due to competitive pressures, our revenue would likely be reduced and our financial results would be negatively affected.

Our existing and potential competitors may have significantly more financial, technical, marketing, and other resources than we have, and the ability to devote greater resources to the development, promotion, and support of their marketplaces, products, and services.  They may also have more extensive automotive industry relationships than we have, longer operating histories, and greater name recognition.  As a result, these competitors may be able to respond more quickly with new technologies and to undertake more extensive marketing or promotional campaigns than we can.  Additionally, to the extent that any competitor has existing relationships with dealers or auto manufacturers for marketing or data analytics solutions, those dealers and auto manufacturers may be unwilling to partner with us.  If we are unable to compete with these competitors, the demand for our marketplace and related products and services could substantially decline.

In addition, if one or more of our competitors were to merge or partner with another of our competitors, the change in the competitive landscape could adversely affect our ability to compete effectively.  Our competitors may also establish or strengthen cooperative relationships with our existing or future data providers, technology partners, or other parties with whom we have relationships, thereby limiting our ability to develop, improve, and promote our solutions.  We may not be able to compete successfully against current or future competitors, and competitive pressures may harm our business and financial results.

Our business could be adversely affected if dealer associations or auto manufacturers were to discourage or otherwise deter dealers from subscribing to our marketplace.

Although the dealership industry is highly fragmented, a small number of interested parties have significant influence over the industry.  These parties include national and regional dealership associations, national and local regulators, automotive manufacturers, consumer groups, independent dealers, and consolidated dealer groups.  If and to the extent these parties believe that dealerships should not enter into or maintain subscription agreements with us, this belief could become shared by dealerships and we may lose a number of our paying dealers.

Furthermore, auto manufacturers may provide their franchise dealers with financial or other marketing support conditioned upon such dealers’ adherence to certain marketing guidelines.  Auto manufacturers may determine that the manner in which certain of their franchise dealers use our platform is inconsistent with the terms of such marketing guidelines, which determination could result in potential or actual loss of the manufacturers’ financial or other marketing support to the dealers whose use of our platform is deemed objectionable.  The potential or actual loss of such marketing support may cause such dealers to cease paying for our paid features, which may adversely affect our ability to maintain or grow the number of our paying dealers.

Dealer closures or consolidations could reduce demand for our products, which may decrease our revenue.

In the past, the number of United States dealers has declined due to dealership closures and consolidations as a result of factors such as global economic downturns.  When dealers consolidate, the services they previously purchased separately are often purchased by the combined entity in a lesser quantity or for a lower aggregate price than before, leading to volume compression and loss of revenue.  Further dealership consolidations or closures could reduce the aggregate demand for our products and services.  If dealership closures and consolidations occur in the future, our business, financial position and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

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We rely on third-party service providers and strategic partners for many aspects of our business, and any failure to maintain these relationships or to successfully integrate certain third-party platforms could harm our business.

Our success will depend upon our relationships with third parties, including our payment processor, our data center hosts, our information technology providers, our data providers for inventory and vehicle information, our human resources information system provider, our billing subscription software provider, our customer relationship management software provider, our financial planning and analysis software provider, our information integration platform providers, our marketing platform providers, our business intelligence and data analytics providers, our search engine and social media advertising providers, our invoice and expense provider, our equity administration provider, and our general ledger provider, as well as our strategic partners, including consumer lenders.  If these third parties experience difficulty meeting our requirements or standards, have adverse audit results, violate the terms of our relationship or applicable law, fail to obtain or maintain applicable licenses, or if the relationships we have established with such third parties expire or otherwise terminate, it could make it difficult for us to operate some aspects of our business, which could damage our business and reputation.  In addition, if such third-party service providers or strategic partners were to cease operations, temporarily or permanently, face financial distress or other business disruptions, increase their fees, or if our relationships with these providers or partners deteriorate or terminate, we could suffer increased costs and we may be unable to provide consumers with content or provide similar services until an equivalent provider could be found or we could develop replacement technology or operations.  In addition, if we are unsuccessful in identifying or finding high-quality partners, if we fail to negotiate cost-effective relationships with them, or if we ineffectively manage these relationships, it could have an adverse impact on our business and financial results.

Our enterprise systems require that we integrate the platforms hosted by certain third-party service providers.  We are responsible for integrating these platforms and updating them to maintain proper functionality.  Issues with these integrations, our failure to properly update third-party platforms or any interruptions to our internal enterprise systems could harm our business by causing delays in our ability to quote, activate service and bill new and existing customers on our platform.

If we continue to grow rapidly, we may not be able to manage our growth effectively.

We have experienced rapid growth in our headcount and operations, which places substantial demand on management and our operational infrastructure.  In addition, with further growth and expansion, our employee base will continue to spread outside of our headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  As we continue to grow, we must effectively integrate, develop, and motivate a large number of new employees, while maintaining the beneficial aspects of our company culture.  If we do not manage the growth of our business and operations effectively, the quality of our services and efficiency of our operations could suffer, which could harm our brand, results of operations, and overall business.

We depend on key personnel to operate our business, and if we are unable to retain, attract and integrate qualified personnel, our ability to develop and successfully grow our business could be materially and adversely affected.

We believe our success has depended, and continues to depend, on the efforts and talents of our executives and employees.  Our future success depends on our continuing ability to attract, develop, motivate, and retain highly qualified and skilled employees.  Qualified individuals are in high demand, and we may incur significant costs to attract and retain them.  In addition, the loss of any of our executive officers or key employees, or the reduction in their involvement in the management of our business, could materially adversely affect our ability to execute our business plan and strategy, and we may not be able to find adequate replacements on a timely basis, or at all.  Our executive officers and other employees are at-will employees, which means they may terminate their employment relationships with us at any time, and their knowledge of our business and industry would be extremely difficult to replace.  We cannot ensure that we will be able to retain the services of any members of our senior management or other key employees.  If we do not succeed in attracting well-qualified employees or retaining and motivating existing employees, our business could be materially and adversely affected.

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If we are unable to successfully respond to changes in the market, our business could be harmed.

While our business has grown rapidly as consumers and dealers have increasingly accessed our marketplace, we expect that our business will evolve in ways which may be difficult to predict.  For example, we anticipate that over time we may reach a point when investments in new user traffic are less productive and the continued growth of our revenue will require more focus on developing new products for consumers and dealers, expanding our marketplace into new international markets to attract new consumers and dealers, and increasing our fees for our products.  It is also possible that consumers and dealers could broadly determine that they no longer believe in the value of our marketplace.  Our continued success will depend on our ability to successfully adjust our strategy to meet the changing market dynamics.  If we are unable to do so, our business could be harmed and our results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

We may be subject to disputes regarding the accuracy of Instant Market Values, Deal Ratings, Dealer Ratings, New Car Price Guidance and other features of our marketplace.

We provide consumers using our marketplace with our proprietary Instant Market Values, or IMV, Deal Ratings, and Dealer Ratings, as well as other features to help them evaluate vehicle listings, including price guidance for new car listings, or New Car Price Guidance.  Revisions to or errors in our automated valuation models, or the algorithms that underlie them, may cause the IMV, the Deal Rating, New Car Price Guidance, or other features to vary from our expectations regarding the accuracy of these tools.  In addition, from time to time, regulators, consumers, dealers and other industry participants may question or disagree with our IMV, Deal Rating, Dealer Rating or New Car Price Guidance.  Any such questions or disagreements could result in distraction from our business or potentially harm our reputation, could result in a decline in consumers’ use of our marketplace and could result in legal disputes.

As we acquire other companies or technologies, such activities could divert our management’s attention, result in additional dilution to our stockholders, and otherwise disrupt our operations and harm our operating results.

Our success will depend, in part, on our ability to grow our business in response to the demands of consumers, dealers, and other constituents within the automotive industry as well as competitive pressures.  In some circumstances, we will do so through the acquisition of complementary businesses and technologies rather than through internal development.  The identification of suitable acquisition candidates can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly, and we may not be able to successfully complete identified acquisitions.  The risks we face in connection with acquisitions include:

 

diversion of management time and focus from operating our business to addressing acquisition integration challenges;

 

coordination of technology, product, research, and development, and sales and marketing functions;

 

transition of the acquired company’s consumers and data to our marketplace and products;

 

retention of employees from the acquired company;

 

cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization;

 

integration of the acquired company’s accounting, management information, human resources, and other administrative systems;

 

the need to implement or improve controls, procedures, and policies at a business that prior to the acquisition may have lacked effective controls, procedures, and policies;

 

potential write-offs of intangibles or other assets acquired in such transactions that may have an adverse effect on our operating results in a given period;

 

potential liabilities for activities of the acquired company before the acquisition, including patent and trademark infringement claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities, and other known and unknown liabilities; and

 

litigation or other claims in connection with the acquired company, including claims from terminated employees, consumers, former stockholders, and other third parties.

 

Our failure to address these risks or other problems encountered in connection with acquisitions and investments could cause us to fail to realize the anticipated benefits of these acquisitions or investments, cause us to incur unanticipated liabilities, cause us to be reluctant to engage in future transactions, and harm our business generally.  Acquisitions could

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result in dilutive issuances of our equity securities, the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities, amortization expense, and impairment charges associated with acquired intangible assets or goodwill, any of which could harm our financial condition.  Also, the anticipated benefits of any acquisitions may not materialize.

We are subject to a complex framework of federal, state, and foreign laws and regulations, many of which are unsettled, still developing and contradictory, which have in the past, and could in the future, subject us to claims, challenge our business model, or otherwise harm our business.

Various aspects of our business are, may become, or may be viewed by regulators from time to time as subject, directly or indirectly, to United States federal, state and local laws and regulations, and to foreign laws and regulations.  Failure to comply with such laws or regulations may result in the suspension or termination of our ability to do business in affected jurisdictions, the imposition of significant civil and criminal penalties, including fines or the award of significant damages against us and dealers in class action or other civil litigation, or orders or settlements requiring us to make adjustments to our marketplace and related products and services.

Local Motor Vehicle Sales, Advertising and Brokering, and Consumer Protection Laws

The advertising and sale of new and used motor vehicles is highly regulated by the jurisdictions in which we do business.  Although we do not sell motor vehicles, and although we believe that vehicle listings on our site are not themselves advertisements, regulatory authorities or third parties could take the position that some of the laws or regulations applicable to dealers or to the manner in which motor vehicles are advertised and sold generally are directly applicable to our business.  These advertising laws and regulations are frequently subject to multiple interpretations and are not uniform from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, sometimes imposing inconsistent requirements with respect to new or used motor vehicles.  If our marketplace and related products are determined to not comply with relevant regulatory requirements, we or dealers could be subject to significant civil and criminal penalties, including fines, or the award of significant damages in class actions or other civil litigation, as well as orders interfering with our ability to continue providing our marketplace and related products and services in certain states.  In addition, even absent such a determination, to the extent dealers are uncertain about the applicability of such laws and regulations to our business, we may lose, or have difficulty increasing the number of paying dealers, which would affect our future growth.  

If regulators or other third parties take the position in the future that our marketplace or related products violate applicable brokering, bird-dog, consumer protection, consumer finance or advertising laws or regulations, responding to such allegations could be costly, could require us to pay significant sums in settlements, could require us to pay civil and criminal penalties, including fines, could interfere with our ability to continue providing our marketplace and related products in certain jurisdictions, or could require us to make adjustments to our marketplace and related products or the manner in which we derive revenue from dealers using our platform, any or all of which could result in substantial adverse publicity, termination of subscriptions by dealers, decreased revenues, distraction for our employees, increased expenses, and decreased profitability.

Federal Laws and Regulations

The United States Federal Trade Commission, or the FTC, has the authority to take actions to remedy or prevent acts or practices that it considers to be unfair or deceptive and that affect commerce in the United States.  If the FTC takes the position in the future that any aspect of our business, including our advertising and privacy practices, constitutes an unfair or deceptive act or practice, responding to such allegations could require us to defend our practices and pay significant damages, settlements, and civil penalties, or could require us to make adjustments to our marketplace and related products and services, any or all of which could result in substantial adverse publicity, distraction for our employees, loss of participating dealers, lost revenues, increased expenses, and decreased profitability.

Our platform enables us, dealers, and users to send and receive text messages and other mobile phone communications.  The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or the TCPA, as interpreted and implemented by the Federal Communications Commission, or the FCC, and federal and state courts, imposes significant restrictions on utilization of telephone calls and text messages to residential and mobile telephone numbers as a means of communication, particularly if the prior express consent of the person being contacted has not been obtained.  Violations of the TCPA may be enforced by the FCC, by state attorneys general, or by others through litigation, including class actions.  Statutory penalties for TCPA violations range from $500 to $1,500 per violation, which is often interpreted to mean per phone call or text message.  Furthermore, several provisions of the TCPA, as well as applicable rules and orders, are open to multiple interpretations, and compliance may involve fact-specific analyses.

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Any failure by us, or the third parties on which we rely, to adhere to, or successfully implement, appropriate processes and procedures in response to existing or future laws and regulations could result in legal and monetary liability, fines and penalties, or damage to our reputation in the marketplace, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.  Even if the claims are meritless, we may be required to expend resources and pay costs to defend against regulatory actions or third-party claims.  Additionally, any change to the TCPA or its interpretation that further restricts the way consumers and dealers interact through our platform, or any governmental or private enforcement actions related thereto, could adversely affect our ability to attract customers and could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

Antitrust Laws

Antitrust and competition laws prohibit, among other things, any joint conduct among competitors that would lessen competition in the marketplace.  We believe that we are in compliance with the legal requirements imposed by such antitrust laws.  However, a governmental or private civil action alleging the improper exchange of information, or unlawful participation in price maintenance or other unlawful or anticompetitive activity, even if unfounded, could be costly to defend and could harm our business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.

Other

Claims could be made against us under both United States and foreign laws, including claims for defamation, libel, invasion of privacy, false advertising, intellectual property infringement, or claims based on other theories related to the nature and content of the materials disseminated by users of our marketplace and portions of our websites.  In addition, domestic and foreign legislation has been proposed that could prohibit or impose liability for the transmission over the internet of certain types of information.  Our defense against any of these actions could be costly and involve significant time and attention of our management and other resources.  If we become liable for information provided by our users and transmitted in our marketplace in any jurisdiction in which we operate, we could be directly harmed and we may be forced to implement new measures to reduce our exposure to this liability.

The foregoing description of laws and regulations to which we are or may be subject is not exhaustive, and the regulatory framework governing our operations is subject to continuous change.  As we expand our operations internationally, we are, and we will continue to be, exposed to legal and regulatory risks including with respect to privacy, tax, law enforcement, content, intellectual property, competition, and other matters.  The enactment of new laws and regulations or the interpretation of existing laws and regulations, both domestically and internationally, in an unfavorable way may affect the operation of our business, directly or indirectly, which could result in substantial regulatory compliance costs, civil or criminal penalties, including fines, adverse publicity, loss of participating dealers, lost revenues, increased expenses, and decreased profitability.  Further, investigations by governmental agencies, including the FTC, into allegedly anticompetitive, unfair, deceptive or other business practices by us or dealers using our marketplace, could cause us to incur additional expenses and, if adversely concluded, could result in substantial civil or criminal penalties and significant legal liability, or orders requiring us to make adjustments to our marketplace and related products and services.

Our business is subject to risks related to the larger automotive industry ecosystem, including consumer demand, global supply chain challenges, trade relations between the United States and China and other macroeconomic issues, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, revenue, results of operations, and financial condition.

Decreases in consumer demand could adversely affect the market for automobile purchases and, as a result, reduce the number of consumers using our platform.  Consumer purchases of new and used automobiles generally decline during recessionary periods and other periods in which disposable income is adversely affected.  Purchases of new and used automobiles are typically discretionary for consumers and have been, and may continue to be, affected by negative trends in the economy, including: the cost of energy and gasoline; the availability and cost of credit; rising interest rates, which may reduce the demand for consumer credit due to the higher cost of borrowing; reductions in business and consumer confidence; stock market volatility; increased unemployment; and changing trade barriers, including increased tariff rates or custom duties.  

Further, in recent years the market for motor vehicles has experienced rapid changes in technology and consumer demands.  Self-driving technology, ride sharing, transportation networks, and other fundamental changes in transportation could impact consumer demand for the purchase of automobiles.  A reduction in the number of automobiles purchased by consumers could adversely affect dealers and car manufacturers and lead to a reduction in other spending by these groups, including targeted incentive programs.  

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In addition, our business may be negatively affected by challenges to the larger automotive industry ecosystem, including global supply chain challenges, changes to trade policies, trade relations between the United States and China and other macroeconomic issues.  These factors could have a material adverse effect on our business, revenue, results of operations, and financial condition.

 

The consequences we may face from the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union could have a material adverse effect on our business, revenue, results of operations, and financial condition.

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, or the EU, commonly referred to as “Brexit”, could adversely affect European and global economic or market conditions, contribute to instability in global financial markets, create uncertainty in the wider commercial, legal, and regulatory environment, and cause disruptions to our business and operations in the United Kingdom, including with respect to our customers, suppliers, and consumers in the United Kingdom.  As a result of this economic uncertainty, our dealer customers in particular may be unwilling to subscribe to our websites or renew or increase their existing subscriptions, as applicable. We may also face new regulatory costs and challenges that could have an adverse effect on our operations. Brexit has created economic uncertainty and its consequences could have a material adverse effect on our business, revenue, results of operations, and financial condition.

Making decisions that we believe are in the best interests of our marketplace may cause us to forgo short-term gains in pursuit of potential but uncertain long-term growth.

In the past, we have forgone, and we will in the future continue to forgo, certain expansion or short-term revenue opportunities that we do not believe are in the long-term best interests of our marketplace, even if such decisions negatively impact our results of operations in the short term.  For example, we manage the text-chat feature of our websites where consumers can message paying dealers.  Our management of this feature has helped improve dealer response times to consumers, which in turn improves the consumer experience.  While our management of this feature provides value to both consumers and paying dealers and could be a potential source of short-term revenue for us, we are not currently charging for this feature and are instead focusing on the potential long-term value of this feature to our marketplace and its users.  However, this strategy may not result in the long-term benefits that we expect, in which case our user traffic and engagement, business, and financial results could be harmed.

A significant disruption in service on our websites or mobile applications could damage our reputation and result in a loss of consumers, which could harm our business, brand, operating results, and financial condition.

Our brand, reputation, and ability to attract consumers, dealers, and advertisers depend on the reliable performance of our technology infrastructure and content delivery.  We have experienced, and we may in the future experience, interruptions with our systems.  Interruptions in these systems, whether due to system failures, computer viruses, ransomware, or physical or electronic break-ins, could affect the security or availability of our marketplace on our websites and mobile applications, and prevent or inhibit the ability of dealers and consumers to access our marketplace.  For example, past disruptions have impacted our ability to activate customer accounts and manage our billing activities in a timely manner.  Such interruptions could also result in third parties accessing our confidential and proprietary information, including our intellectual property.  Problems with the reliability or security of our systems could harm our reputation, harm our ability to protect our confidential and proprietary information, result in a loss of consumers and dealers, and result in additional costs.

Substantially all of the communications, network, and computer hardware used to operate our platform is located in the United States near Boston, Massachusetts, and internationally near London, England.  Although we have two locations in the United States and we believe our systems are redundant, there may be exceptions for certain hardware or software.  In addition, we do not own or control the operation of these facilities.  We also use third-party hosting services to back up some data but do not maintain redundant systems or facilities for some of the services.  A disruption to one or more of these systems may cause us to experience an extended period of system unavailability, which could negatively impact our relationship with consumers, customers and advertisers.  Our systems and operations are vulnerable to damage or interruption from fire, flood, power loss, telecommunications failure, terrorist attacks, acts of war, electronic and physical break-ins, computer viruses, earthquakes, and similar events.  The occurrence of any of these events could result in damage to our systems and hardware or could cause them to fail.  In addition, we may not have sufficient protection or recovery plans in certain circumstances.

Problems faced by our third-party web hosting providers could adversely affect the experience consumers have while using our marketplace.  Our third-party web hosting providers could close their facilities without adequate notice.  Any financial difficulties, up to and including bankruptcy, faced by our third-party web hosting providers or any of the service

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providers whose services they use may have negative effects on our business, the nature and extent of which are difficult to predict.  If our third-party web hosting providers are unable to keep up with our growing capacity needs, our business could be harmed.

Any errors, defects, disruptions, or other performance or reliability problems with our network operations could cause interruptions in access to our marketplace as well as delays and additional expense in arranging new facilities and services and could harm our reputation, business, operating results, and financial condition.

Although we carry insurance, it may not be sufficient to compensate us for the potentially significant losses, including the potential harm to the future growth of our business, that may result from interruptions in our service as a result of system failures.

We collect, process, store, transfer, share, disclose, and use consumer information and other data, and our actual or perceived failure to protect such information and data or respect users’ privacy could damage our reputation and brand and harm our business and operating results.

Some functions of our marketplace involve the storage and transmission of consumers’ information, such as IP addresses, contact information of users who connect with dealers and profile information of users who create accounts on our marketplace, as well as dealers’ information.  We also process and store personal and confidential information of our vendors, partners, and employees.  Some of this information may be private, and security breaches could expose us to a risk of loss or exposure of this information, which could result in potential liability, litigation, and remediation costs.  For example, hackers could steal our users’ profile passwords, names, email addresses, phone numbers, and zip codes.  We rely on encryption and authentication technology licensed from third parties to effect secure transmission of such information.  Like all information systems and technology, our websites, mobile applications, and information systems are subject to computer viruses, break-ins, phishing attacks, attempts to overload the systems with denial-of-service or other attacks, ransomware, and similar incidents or disruptions from unauthorized use of our computer systems, any of which could lead to interruptions, delays, or website shutdowns, and could cause loss of critical data and the unauthorized disclosure, access, acquisition, alteration, and use of personal or other confidential information.  If we experience compromises to our security that result in website or mobile application performance or availability problems, the complete shutdown of our websites or mobile applications, or the loss or unauthorized disclosure, access, acquisition, alteration, or use of confidential information, consumers, customers, advertisers, partners, vendors, and employees may lose trust and confidence in us, and consumers may decrease the use of our websites or stop using our websites entirely, dealers may stop or decrease their subscriptions with us, and advertisers may decrease or stop advertising on our websites.  

Further, outside parties have attempted and will continue to attempt to fraudulently induce employees, consumers, or advertisers to disclose sensitive information in order to gain access to our information or our consumers’, dealers’, advertisers’, and employees’ information.  As cyber-attacks increase in frequency and sophistication, our cyber-security and business continuity plans may not be effective in anticipating, preventing and effectively responding to all potential cyber-risk exposures.  In addition, because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently, often are not recognized until after being launched against a target, and may originate from less regulated and remote areas around the world, we may be unable to proactively address these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures.

Any or all of the issues above could adversely affect our brand reputation, negatively impact our ability to attract new consumers and increase engagement by existing consumers, cause existing consumers to curtail or stop use of our marketplace or close their accounts, cause existing dealers and advertisers to cancel their contracts, cause employees to terminate their employment, cause employment candidates to be unwilling to pursue employment opportunities or accept employment offers, and or subject us to governmental or third-party lawsuits, investigations, regulatory fines, or other actions or liability, thereby harming our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

There are numerous federal, national, state, and local laws and regulations in the United States and around the world regarding privacy and the collection, processing, storage, sharing, disclosure, use, cross-border transfer, and protection of personal information and other data.  These laws and regulations are evolving, are subject to differing interpretations, may be costly to comply with, may result in regulatory fines or penalties, may subject us to third-party lawsuits, may be inconsistent between countries and jurisdictions, and may conflict with other requirements.

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We seek to comply with industry standards and are subject to the terms of our privacy policies and privacy-related obligations to third parties, as well as all applicable laws, policies, legal obligations, and industry codes of conduct relating to privacy and data protection.  However, it is possible that these obligations may be interpreted and applied in new ways or in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another and may conflict with other rules or our practices and that new regulations could be enacted.  Several proposals have recently become effective or are pending, as applicable, before federal, state, local, and foreign legislative and regulatory bodies that could significantly affect our business, including the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU, or the GDPR, which went into effect on May 25, 2018, and the California Consumer Privacy Act, or the CCPA, which went into effect on January 1, 2020.  The CCPA, among other things, contains new disclosure obligations for businesses that collect personal information about California residents and provides California residents with additional rights relating to their personal information. The GDPR and CCPA in particular have already required, and may further require, us to change our policies and procedures and may in the future require us to make changes to our marketplace and other products.  These and other requirements could reduce demand for our marketplace and other offerings, require us to take on more onerous obligations in our contracts and restrict our ability to store, transfer, and process data, which may seriously harm our business.  Similarly, Brexit may require us to change our policies and procedures and, if we are not in compliance, may also seriously harm our business. We may not be entirely successful in our efforts to comply with the evolving regulations to which we are subject due to various factors within our control, such as limited internal resource allocation, or outside our control, such as a lack of vendor cooperation, new regulatory interpretations, or lack of regulatory guidance in respect of certain GDPR or CCPA requirements.  

Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with United States and international data protection laws and regulations, our privacy policies, or our privacy-related obligations to consumers, customers, employees and other third parties, or any compromise of security that results in the unauthorized release or transfer of sensitive information, which could include personal information or other user data, may result in governmental investigations, enforcement actions, regulatory fines, litigation, criminal penalties, or public statements against us by consumer advocacy groups or others, and could cause consumers and dealers to lose trust in us, which could significantly impact our brand reputation and have an adverse effect on our business.  Additionally, if any third party that we share information with experiences a security breach or fails to comply with its privacy-related legal obligations or commitments to us, such matters may put employee, consumer or dealer information at risk and could in turn expose us to claims for damages or regulatory fines or penalties and harm our reputation, business, and operating results.

Our ability to attract consumers to our own websites and for our advertising clients depends on the collection of consumer data from various sources, which may be restricted by consumer choice, privacy restrictions imposed by advertising partners, web browsers or other software, and developments in laws, regulations and industry standards.

The success of our consumer marketing and the delivery of internet advertisements for our clients depends on our ability to leverage data, including data that we collect from our clients, data we receive from our publisher partners and third parties, and data from our operations. Using cookies and non-cookie-based technologies, such as mobile advertising identifiers, we collect information about the interactions of users with our clients’ and publishers’ digital properties (including, for example, information about the placement of advertisements and users’ shopping or other interactions with our clients’ websites or advertisements). Our ability to successfully leverage such data depends on our continued ability to access and use such data, which could be restricted by a number of factors, including:

 

increasing consumer adoption of “do not track” mechanisms as a result of legislation including GDPR and CCPA;

 

privacy restrictions imposed by web browser developers, advertising partners or other software developers that impair our ability to understand the preferences of consumers by limiting the use of third-party cookies or other tracking technologies or data indicating or predicting consumer preferences; and

 

new developments in, or new interpretations of, privacy laws, regulations and industry standards.

Each of these developments could materially impact our ability to collect consumer data and deliver relevant internet advertisements to attract consumers to our websites or to deliver targeted advertising for our advertising clients. If we are unsuccessful in evolving our advertising and marketing strategies to adapt to and mitigate these evolving consumer data limitations, our business results could be materially impacted.

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We have been, and may again be, subject to intellectual property disputes, which are costly to defend and could harm our business and operating results.

We are subject to claims and litigation by third parties that we infringe their intellectual property rights, and we may face allegations in the future that we have infringed the trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights of third parties, including from our competitors or non-practicing entities.  We may also learn of possible infringement to our trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property.  In addition, we could be subject to lawsuits where consumers and dealers posting content on our websites disseminate materials that infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties.  We have encountered lawsuits in the past containing such allegations.

Patent and other intellectual property litigation may be protracted and expensive, and the results are difficult to predict and may result in significant settlement costs or payment of substantial damages.  Many potential litigants, including patent holding companies, have the ability to dedicate substantially greater resources to enforce their intellectual property rights and to defend claims that may be brought against them. Furthermore, a successful claimant could secure a judgment that requires us to stop offering some features or prevents us from conducting our business as we have historically done or may desire to do in the future. We might also be required to seek a license and pay royalties for the use of such intellectual property, which may not be available on commercially acceptable terms, or at all. Alternatively, we may be required to modify our marketplace and features while we develop non-infringing substitutes, which could require significant effort and expense and may ultimately not be successful.

In addition, we use open source software in our platform and will use open source software in the future.  From time to time, we may face claims from companies that incorporate open source software into their products, claiming ownership of, or demanding release of, the source code, the open source software, or derivative works that were developed using such software, or otherwise seeking to enforce the terms of the applicable open source license.  These claims could also result in litigation, require us to purchase a costly license or require us to devote additional product, technology, and development resources to change our platform or services, any of which would have a negative effect on our business and operating results.

Even if these matters do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor or without significant cash settlements, these matters, and the time and resources necessary to litigate or resolve them, could harm our business, our operating results, and our reputation.

Failure to adequately protect our intellectual property could harm our business and operating results.

Our business depends on our intellectual property, the protection of which is crucial to the success of our business.  We rely on a combination of patent, trademark, trade secret, and copyright law and contractual restrictions to protect our intellectual property.  In addition, we attempt to protect our intellectual property, technology, and confidential information by requiring our employees and consultants to enter into confidentiality and assignment of inventions agreements and third parties to enter into nondisclosure agreements as we deem appropriate.  Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, unauthorized parties may attempt to copy aspects of our platform’s features, software, and functionality or obtain and use information that we consider proprietary.

Competitors may adopt service names similar to ours, thereby harming our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to user confusion.  In addition, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other registered trademarks, or trademarks that incorporate variations of the term “CarGurus.”  If we are restricted in any way in registering our CARGURUS mark in international markets, it could impact our ability to establish and grow our business internationally.  Also, while we have registered the CARGURUS and CG logos in the EU and the United Kingdom, as well as the word-mark CARGURUS in Italy, France, Spain, the United Kingdom and, for a subset of services, Ireland, we were not able to register the word-mark CARGURUS in the EU and Germany as the mark was deemed to be non-distinctive, and thus not registerable.  We may be unable to register CARGURUS, the word-mark, in certain other countries in the EU.  If we are unable to register the CARGURUS word-mark in any country, it may limit our ability to challenge unauthorized users of marks that are the same as or similar to CARGURUS.

We currently hold the “CarGurus.com” internet domain name and various other related domain names.  The regulation of domain names is subject to change.  Regulatory bodies could establish additional top-level domains, appoint additional domain name registrars, or modify the requirements for holding domain names.  As a result, we may not be able to acquire or maintain all domain names that use the name CarGurus.   In addition, third parties have created and may in the future create copycat or squatter domains to deceive consumers, which could harm our brand, interfere with our ability to register domain names, and result in additional costs.

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Confidentiality agreements with employees and others may not adequately prevent disclosure of trade secrets and other proprietary information.

In order to protect our technologies and processes, we rely in part on confidentiality agreements with our employees, independent contractors, and other advisors.  These agreements may not effectively prevent disclosure of confidential information, including trade secrets, and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.  Others may also independently discover our trade secrets and proprietary information, and in such cases, we may not be able to assert our trade secret rights against such parties.  To the extent that our employees, contractors, or other third parties with whom we do business use intellectual property owned by others in their work for us, disputes may arise as to the rights to related or resulting know-how and inventions.  The loss of confidential information or intellectual property rights, including trade secret protection, could make it easier for third parties to compete with our products.  In addition, any changes in, or unexpected interpretations of, intellectual property laws may compromise our ability to enforce our trade secret and intellectual property rights.  Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of our proprietary rights, and failure to obtain or maintain protection of our trade secrets or other proprietary information could harm our business, results of operations, reputation, and competitive position.

We may be unable to halt the operations of websites that aggregate or misappropriate our data.

From time to time, third parties may misappropriate our data through website scraping, robots, or other means and aggregate this data on their websites with data from other companies.  In addition, copycat websites may misappropriate data in our marketplace and attempt to imitate our brand or the functionality of our websites.  If we become aware of such activities, we intend to employ technological or legal measures in an attempt to halt their operations.  However, we may be unable to detect all such activities in a timely manner and, even if we could, technological and legal measures may be insufficient to halt their operations.  In some cases, particularly in the case of entities operating outside of the United States, our available remedies may not be adequate to protect us against the impact of the operation of such websites.  Regardless of whether we can successfully enforce our rights against the operators of these websites, any measures that we may take could require us to expend significant financial or other resources, which could harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition.  In addition, to the extent that such activity creates confusion among consumers or advertisers, our brand and business could be harmed.

We may incur losses in the future if we fail to sufficiently grow our revenue or manage our costs effectively.

Although we have experienced significant growth in revenue on a year-over-year basis, our annual revenue growth rate is likely to continue to decline in the future as a result of a variety of factors.  Our international expansion and new product launches will cause our costs to increase in future periods as we continue to expend substantial financial resources to enter into those markets and promote the new products, as applicable.  If we fail to increase our revenue or manage these additional costs, we may incur losses in the future.

 

Complying with the laws and regulations affecting public companies has increased and may continue to increase our costs and the demands on management and could harm our operating results.

As a public company, and particularly since December 31, 2018 when we ceased being an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act, we incur significant legal, accounting, and other expenses to comply with applicable laws and regulations.  In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and rules subsequently implemented by the SEC and the Nasdaq Stock Market, or Nasdaq, impose various requirements on public companies, including requiring certain corporate governance practices.  Our management and other personnel devote and expect to continue to devote a substantial amount of time to these compliance initiatives.  Moreover, these rules and regulations have increased and may continue to increase our legal, accounting, and financial compliance costs and have made and will continue to make some activities more time consuming and costly.  These rules and regulations could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors or our board committees or as executive officers.

In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we assess the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting annually and the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures quarterly.  In particular, as we are a large accelerated filer, our independent registered public accounting firm is required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or Section 404, and we now incur the cost of our compliance with Section 404.  Our compliance with applicable provisions of Section 404 requires that we incur substantial accounting expense and expend significant management time on compliance-related issues as we implement additional corporate governance practices and comply with reporting requirements.

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We must maintain proper and effective internal controls over financial reporting and any failure to maintain the adequacy of these internal controls may adversely affect investor confidence in our company and, as a result, the value of our Class A common stock could decline.

We are required, pursuant to Section 404 and the related rules adopted by the SEC, to furnish a report by management on, among other things, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting on an annual basis.  This assessment includes disclosure of any material weaknesses identified by our management in our internal control over financial reporting.  During the evaluation and testing process, if we identify and fail to remediate one or more material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we will be unable to assert that our internal controls are effective.

In addition, our independent registered public accounting firm must attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting under Section 404.  Our independent registered public accounting firm may issue a report that is adverse to us in the event it is not satisfied with the level at which our controls are documented, designed or operating.  We may not be able to remediate any future material weaknesses, or to complete our evaluation, testing and any required remediation in a timely fashion.  We are also required to disclose significant changes made to our internal control procedures on a quarterly basis.  Our compliance with Section 404 requires that we incur substantial accounting expense and expend significant management efforts.

Any failure to maintain internal control over financial reporting could severely inhibit our ability to accurately report our financial condition or results of operations.  If we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective or our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting when it is required to issue such opinion, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by Nasdaq, the SEC or other regulatory authorities.

Seasonality may cause fluctuations in our operating results.

Across the retail automotive industry, consumer purchases are typically greatest in the first three quarters of each year, due in part to the introduction of new vehicle models from manufacturers, and our consumer-marketing spend generally fluctuates accordingly.  As consumer automotive purchases slow in the fourth quarter, our rate of marketing spend typically also slows.  This seasonality has not been immediately apparent historically due to the overall growth of other operating expenses.  As our growth rates begin to moderate, the impact of these seasonality trends on our results of operations could become more pronounced.

We expect our results of operations to fluctuate on a quarterly and annual basis.

Our revenue and results of operations could vary significantly from period to period and may fail to match expectations as a result of a variety of factors, some of which are outside of our control.  Our results may vary as a result of fluctuations in the number of dealers subscribing to our marketplace and the size and seasonal variability of our advertisers’ marketing budgets.  As a result of the potential variations in our revenue and results of operations, period-to-period comparisons may not be meaningful and the results of any one period should not be relied on as an indication of future performance.  In addition, our results of operations may not meet the expectations of investors or public market analysts who follow us, which may adversely affect the trading price of our Class A common stock.

We may require additional capital to pursue our business objectives and respond to business opportunities, challenges, or unforeseen circumstances.  If capital is not available to us, our business, operating results, financial condition, and prospects could be adversely affected.

We intend to continue to make investments to support our growth and may require additional capital to pursue our business objectives and respond to business opportunities, challenges, or unforeseen circumstances, including to increase our marketing expenditures to improve our brand awareness, develop new products, further improve our platform and existing products, enhance our operating infrastructure, expand internationally, and acquire complementary businesses and technologies.  Accordingly, we may need to engage in equity or debt financings to secure additional funds.  However, additional funds may not be available when we need them on terms that are acceptable to us or at all.  Volatility in the credit markets may also have an adverse effect on our ability to obtain debt financing.

If we raise additional funds through further issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences, and privileges superior to those of holders of our Class A common stock.  If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on

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terms satisfactory to us when we require it, our ability to continue to pursue our business objectives and to respond to business opportunities, challenges, or unforeseen circumstances could be significantly limited, and our business, operating results, financial condition, and prospects could be adversely affected.

We could be subject to adverse changes in applicable tax laws, regulations and interpretations, as well as challenges to our tax positions.

 

We are subject to taxation in the United States and certain other jurisdictions in which we operate. Changes in applicable tax laws or regulations may be proposed or enacted that could materially and adversely affect our effective tax rate, tax payments, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

In addition, tax laws and regulations are complex and subject to varying interpretations. For instance, on June 21, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., or the Wayfair Decision, which overturned prior case law that held that out-of-state merchants were not required to collect sales taxes unless they had a physical presence in the buyer’s state. Although we currently believe that the Wayfair Decision is unlikely to have a material effect on our business, it has created uncertainty over sales tax liability, and could precipitate reactions by legislators, regulators and courts that could adversely increase our tax administrative costs and tax risk, and negatively affect our overall business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

We are also regularly subject to audits by tax authorities. For example, we are currently under audit by the Internal Revenue Service with respect to our 2016, 2017 and 2018 federal employment taxes. Any adverse development or outcome in connection with these tax audits, and any other audits or litigation, could materially and adversely impact our effective tax rate, tax payments, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

Failure to deal effectively with fraud or other illegal activity could lead to potential legal liability, harm our business, cause us to lose paying dealer customers and adversely affect our reputation, financial performance and growth.

Based on the nature of our business we are exposed to potential fraudulent and illegal activity in our marketplace, including:

 

listings of automobiles that are not owned by the purported dealer or that the dealer has no intention of selling at the listed price;

 

receipt of fraudulent leads that we may send to our dealers; and

 

deceptive practices in our peer-to-peer marketplace, including through the seller’s listing of inventory without intent to sell or improper use of the private payment platform.

The measures we have in place to detect and limit the occurrence of such fraudulent and illegal activity in our marketplace may not always be effective or account for all types of fraudulent or other illegal activity.  Further, the measures that we use to detect and limit the occurrence of fraudulent and illegal activity must be dynamic, as technologies and ways to commit fraud and illegal activity are continually evolving.  Failure to limit the impact of fraudulent and illegal activity on our websites could lead to potential legal liability, harm our business, cause us to lose paying dealer customers and adversely affect our reputation, financial performance and growth.

 

Risks Related to Our Class A Common Stock

Our founder controls a majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock, and, therefore, has control over key decision-making and could control our actions in a manner that conflicts with the interests of other stockholders.

Primarily by virtue of his holdings in shares of our Class B common stock, which has a ten-to-one voting ratio compared to our Class A common stock, Langley Steinert, our founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, is able to exercise voting rights with respect to a majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock and therefore has the ability to control the outcome of matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election of directors and any merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets.  This concentrated control could delay, defer, or prevent a change of control, merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets that our other stockholders support, or conversely this concentrated control could result in the consummation of such a transaction that our other stockholders do not support.  This concentrated control could also discourage a potential investor from acquiring our Class A common stock, which has limited voting power relative to the Class B common stock and might harm the trading price of our Class A common stock.  In addition, Mr. Steinert has the ability to control the management and major strategic investments

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of our company as a result of his positions as our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, and his ability to control the election or replacement of our directors.  As a board member and officer, Mr. Steinert owes a fiduciary duty to our stockholders and must act in good faith in a manner he reasonably believes to be in the best interests of our stockholders.  If Mr. Steinert’s status as an officer and director is terminated, his fiduciary duties to our stockholders will also terminate, but his voting power as a stockholder will not be reduced as a result of such termination unless such termination is either made voluntarily by Mr. Steinert, due to Mr. Steinert’s death, or if the sum of the number of shares of our capital stock held by Mr. Steinert, by any Family Member of Mr. Steinert, and by any Permitted Entity of Mr. Steinert (as such terms are defined in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation), assuming the exercise and settlement in full of all outstanding options and convertible securities and calculated on an as-converted to Class A common stock basis, is less than 9,091,484 shares.  As a stockholder, even a controlling stockholder, Mr. Steinert is entitled to vote his shares in his own interests, which may not always be aligned with the interests of our other stockholders.  

We believe that Mr. Steinert’s continued control of a majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock is beneficial to us and is in the best interests of our stockholders.  In the event that Mr. Steinert no longer controls a majority of the voting power, whether as a result of the disposition of some or all his shares of Class A or Class B common stock, the conversion of the Class B common stock into Class A common stock in accordance with its terms, or otherwise, our business or the trading price of our Class A common stock may be adversely affected.

The multiple class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting control with our founder and certain other holders of our Class B common stock, which will limit or preclude the ability of our stockholders to influence corporate matters.

Our Class B common stock has ten votes per share and our Class A common stock has one vote per share.  Our founder and certain of his affiliates hold a substantial number of the outstanding shares of our Class B common stock and therefore hold a substantial majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock.  Because of the ten-to-one voting ratio between our Class B and Class A common stock, the holders of our Class B common stock collectively control a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock and therefore are able to control all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval so long as the shares of Class B common stock represent at least 9.1% of all outstanding shares of our Class A and Class B common stock.  This concentrated control will limit or preclude the ability of our stockholders to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future.

Transfers by holders of Class B common stock will generally result in those shares converting into Class A common stock, subject to limited exceptions, such as certain transfers effected for estate planning or charitable purposes.  The conversion of Class B common stock into Class A common stock will have the effect, over time, of increasing the relative voting power of those holders of Class B common stock who retain their shares in the long term.  If, for example, Mr. Steinert retains a significant portion of his holdings of Class B common stock for an extended period of time, he could, in the future, continue to control a majority of the combined voting power of our outstanding capital stock.

The trading price of our Class A common stock has been and may continue to be volatile and the value of our stockholders’ investment in our stock could decline.

The trading price of our Class A common stock has been and may continue to be volatile and fluctuate substantially.  The trading price of our Class A common stock depends on a number of factors, including those described in this “Risk Factors” section, many of which are beyond our control and may not be related to our operating performance.  Factors that could cause fluctuations in the trading price of our Class A common stock include the following:

 

price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;

 

changes in operating performance and stock market valuations of other technology companies generally, or those in our industry in particular;

 

sales of shares of our Class A common stock by us or our stockholders;

 

failure of securities analysts to maintain coverage of us, changes in financial estimates by any securities analysts who follow our company, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors;

 

announcements by us or our competitors of new products;

 

the public’s reaction to our issuances of earnings guidance, as well as our press releases, other public announcements, and filings with the SEC;

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rumors and market speculation involving us or other companies in our industry;

 

actual or anticipated changes in our operating results or fluctuations in our operating results;

 

actual or anticipated developments in our business, our competitors’ businesses, or the competitive landscape generally;

 

litigation involving us, our industry or both, or investigations by regulators into our operations or those of our competitors;

 

developments or disputes concerning our intellectual property or other proprietary rights;

 

announced or completed acquisitions of businesses or technologies by us or our competitors;

 

new laws or regulations or new interpretations of existing laws or regulations applicable to our business;

 

changes in accounting standards, policies, guidelines, interpretations, or principles;

 

any significant change in our management;

 

conditions in the automobile industry; and

 

general economic conditions and positive or negative growth of our markets.

In addition, the stock market in general, and the market for technology companies in particular, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies.  Broad market and industry factors may seriously affect the market price of our Class A common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance.  In addition, in the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market prices of a particular company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against these companies.  Litigation of this type, if instituted against us, could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.

Our business could be negatively affected as a result of actions of activist stockholders, which could be disruptive and potentially costly, and such activism could impact the trading value of our common stock and cause uncertainty about the strategic direction of our business.

 

Even though we are a controlled company, the actions of activist stockholders could nevertheless adversely affect our business.  Activist stockholders may from time to time attempt to effect changes in our strategic direction, and in furtherance thereof, may seek changes in how our company is governed.  Responding to strategic proposals by activist stockholders related to our business, strategy, management or operations, or the composition of our board of directors, could disrupt our operations, be costly and time-consuming, or divert the attention of our board of directors and senior management from the pursuit of business strategies. In addition, perceived uncertainties as to the future strategic direction of our business in relation to the actions of an activist stockholder may be exploited by our competitors, cause concern to current or potential customers, result in the loss of potential business opportunities, make it more difficult to attract and retain qualified personnel and/or affect our relationships with vendors, customers and other third parties. Actions of an activist stockholder may also cause fluctuations in the trading price of our Class A common stock based on temporary or speculative market perceptions or other factors that do not necessarily reflect the underlying fundamentals and prospects of our business.

 

 

The exclusion of our Class A common stock from major stock indexes could adversely affect the trading market and price of our Class A common stock.

Several major stock index providers have announced they will begin to exclude, or are considering plans to exclude, from their indexes the securities of companies with unequal voting rights such as ours.  Exclusion from stock indexes could make it more difficult, or impossible, for some fund managers to buy the excluded securities, particularly in the case of index tracking mutual funds and exchange traded funds.  The exclusion of our Class A common stock from major stock indexes could adversely affect the trading market and price of our Class A common stock.

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Anti-takeover provisions contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws, as well as provisions of Delaware law, could impair a takeover attempt.

The provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws, and provisions of Delaware law, may have the effect of rendering more difficult, delaying, or preventing an acquisition deemed undesirable by our board of directors. Our corporate governance documents include provisions:

 

creating a classified board of directors whose members serve staggered three-year terms;

 

authorizing “blank check” preferred stock, which may contain voting, liquidation, dividend, and other rights superior to our Class A common stock and which, from and after the date, referred to as the threshold date, on which the votes applicable to the Class A common stock and Class B common stock controlled by Mr. Steinert represent less than a majority of the aggregate votes applicable to all shares of the outstanding Class A common stock and Class B common stock, could be issued by our board of directors without stockholder approval;

 

limiting the liability of, and providing indemnification to, our directors and officers;

 

limiting the ability of our stockholders to call and bring business before special meetings;

 

requiring advance notice of stockholder proposals for business to be conducted at meetings of our stockholders and for nominations of candidates for election to our board of directors;

 

limiting the ability, from and after the threshold date, of stockholders to amend our amended and restated certificate of incorporation;

 

limiting the ability, from and after the threshold date, of stockholders to fill vacant directorships and remove directors; and

 

prohibiting cumulative voting by stockholders.

 

These provisions, alone or together, could delay or prevent hostile takeovers and changes in control or changes in our management.

As a Delaware corporation, we are also subject to provisions of Delaware law, including Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation law, which prevent some stockholders holding more than 15% of our outstanding common stock from engaging in certain business combinations without approval of the holders of substantially all of our outstanding common stock.

Any provision of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, amended and restated bylaws, or Delaware law that has the effect of delaying or deterring a change in control could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our Class A common stock, and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our Class A common stock.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation includes a forum selection clause, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be the sole and exclusive forum for any stockholder to bring: (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on behalf of us; (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees or agents to us or to our stockholders; (iii) any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law or our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or amended and restated bylaws; (iv) any action to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws; or (v) any action asserting a claim against us or any of our directors, officers, or other employees or agents governed by the internal affairs doctrine.  Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock is deemed to have notice of and have consented to the foregoing provisions.  This forum selection provision in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation may limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us.  It is also possible that, notwithstanding the forum selection clause included in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, a court could rule that such a provision is inapplicable or unenforceable.

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If securities or industry analysts do not publish, or cease publishing, research or reports about us, our business or our market, or if they change their recommendations regarding our stock adversely, the trading price and trading volume of our Class A common stock could decline.

The trading market for our Class A common stock is influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts may publish about us, our business, our market, and our competitors.  If any of the analysts that covers us changes its recommendation regarding our stock adversely, or provides more favorable relative recommendations about our competitors, our stock price would likely decline.  If any analyst that covers us were to cease coverage of our company or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.

We do not intend to pay cash dividends for the foreseeable future.

We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our capital stock.  We currently intend to retain any future earnings to finance the operation and expansion of our business, and we do not expect to declare or pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future.  As a result, our stockholders may only receive a return on their investment in our Class A common stock if the trading price of their shares increases.

Our status as a “controlled company” could make our Class A common stock less attractive to some investors or otherwise harm the trading price of our Class A common stock.

More than 50% of our voting power is held by Mr. Steinert.  As a result, we are a “controlled company” under the corporate governance rules for Nasdaq-listed companies.  Under these rules, a company of which more than 50% of the voting power is held by an individual, a group or another company is a controlled company and may elect not to comply with certain Nasdaq corporate governance requirements, including:

 

the requirement that a majority of our board of directors consist of “independent directors” as defined under the rules of Nasdaq;

 

the requirement that we have a compensation committee that is composed entirely of directors meeting Nasdaq independence standards applicable to compensation committee members with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities;

 

the requirement that our compensation committee be responsible for the hiring and overseeing of persons acting as compensation consultants and be required to consider certain independence factors when engaging such persons; and

 

the requirement that director nominees either be selected, or recommended for board of directors’ selection, either by “independent directors” as defined under the rules of Nasdaq constituting a majority of the board of director’s independent directors in a vote in which only independent directors participate, or by a nominations committee comprised solely of independent directors.

 

We rely and have relied on certain or all of these exemptions.  Accordingly, should the interests of our controlling stockholder differ from those of other stockholders, the other stockholders may not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance rules for Nasdaq-listed companies.  Our status as a controlled company could make our Class A common stock less attractive to some investors or otherwise harm our stock price.

 

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Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

Not applicable.

Item 2. Properties.

We do not own any real property. Our principal executive offices are located in Cambridge, Massachusetts where we lease a total of approximately 163,675 square feet of space in various parcels in three buildings with lease terms that expire in November 2022, August 2023, January 2025, and December 2033, as applicable. We also lease office space in Dublin, Ireland for our European operations. In 2019 we entered into (i) an amendment of an existing lease to increase our leased office space at 55 Cambridge Parkway in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which additional space we expect to occupy in 2020, and (ii) a lease for office space at 1001 Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts, which we expect to occupy in 2023.

From time to time we may become involved in legal proceedings or be subject to claims arising in the ordinary course of our business. We are not presently subject to any pending or threatened litigation that we believe, if determined adversely to us, individually, or taken together, would reasonably be expected to have a material adverse effect on our business or financial results.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.

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PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

 

Market Information for Common Stock

Our Class A common stock has been listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “CARG” since October 12, 2017. Prior to that date, there was no public trading market for our Class A common stock. Our initial public offering, or IPO, was priced at $16.00 per share on October 11, 2017.

 

On February 13, 2020, the last reported sale price of our Class A common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market was $34.10 per share.

 

Holders

As of February 6, 2020, we had 19 holders of record of our Class A common stock. The actual number of stockholders is greater than this number of record holders, and includes stockholders who are beneficial owners but whose shares are held in street name by brokers and other nominees. The number of holders of record does not include stockholders whose shares may be held in trust by other entities.

 

Dividends

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock. We currently anticipate that we will retain future earnings to fund development and growth of our business, and we do not anticipate paying cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

Performance Graph

This performance graph shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the Securities and Exchange Commission for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, or otherwise be subject to the liabilities under that section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing of CarGurus, Inc. under the Exchange Act or the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

35


The following graph shows a comparison from October 12, 2017 (the date our Class A common stock commenced trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market) through December 31, 2019 of the cumulative total return for our Class A common stock, the Nasdaq Composite Index and the S&P 500 Index. All values assume a $100 initial cash investment and data for the Nasdaq Composite Index and the S&P 500 Index assume reinvestment of dividends, if any. Such returns are based on historical results and are not intended to suggest future performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10/12/2017

 

 

12/31/2017

 

 

3/31/2018

 

 

6/30/2018

 

 

9/30/2018

 

 

12/31/2018

 

 

3/31/2019

 

 

6/30/2019

 

 

9/30/2019

 

 

12/31/2019

 

CARG

 

 

100

 

 

 

109

 

 

 

139

 

 

 

126

 

 

 

202

 

 

 

122

 

 

 

145

 

 

 

131

 

 

 

112

 

 

 

128

 

S&P 500 Index

 

 

100

 

 

 

105

 

 

 

104

 

 

 

108

 

 

 

116

 

 

 

101

 

 

 

114

 

 

 

119

 

 

 

121

 

 

 

132

 

Nasdaq Computer Index

 

 

100

 

 

 

105

 

 

 

108

 

 

 

115

 

 

 

123

 

 

 

102

 

 

 

119

 

 

 

124

 

 

 

124

 

 

 

139

 

 

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

None.

 

Purchases of Equity Securities

None.

36


Item 6. Selected Consolidated Financial Data.

The following Selected Consolidated Financial Data should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”, the consolidated financial statements and related notes, and other financial information included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

We derived the consolidated statements of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, and 2017 and the consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 from our audited consolidated financial statements, which are included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We derived the consolidated statement of operations data for the year ended December 31, 2016 and 2015 and the consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 from our audited consolidated financial statements, which are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected in future periods.

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2018(4)

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

 

(in thousands, except share and per share data)

 

Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketplace subscription

 

$

526,043

 

 

$

405,780

 

 

$

282,664

 

 

$

171,302

 

 

$

75,142

 

Advertising and other

 

 

62,873

 

 

 

48,306

 

 

 

34,197

 

 

 

26,839

 

 

 

23,446

 

Total revenue

 

 

588,916

 

 

 

454,086

 

 

 

316,861

 

 

 

198,141

 

 

 

98,588

 

Cost of revenue(1)

 

 

36,300

 

 

 

24,811

 

 

 

17,609

 

 

 

9,575

 

 

 

4,234

 

Gross profit

 

 

552,616

 

 

 

429,275

 

 

 

299,252

 

 

 

188,566

 

 

 

94,354

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sales and marketing

 

 

393,844

 

 

 

315,939

 

 

 

236,165

 

 

 

154,125

 

 

 

81,877

 

Product, technology, and development

 

 

69,462

 

 

 

47,866

 

 

 

22,470

 

 

 

11,453

 

 

 

8,235

 

General and administrative

 

 

50,434

 

 

 

39,475

 

 

 

22,688

 

 

 

12,783

 

 

 

5,801

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

4,554

 

 

 

2,804

 

 

 

2,655

 

 

 

1,634

 

 

 

969

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

518,294

 

 

 

406,084

 

 

 

283,978

 

 

 

179,995

 

 

 

96,882

 

Income (loss) from operations

 

 

34,322

 

 

 

23,191

 

 

 

15,274

 

 

 

8,571

 

 

 

(2,528

)

Other income (expense), net:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest income

 

 

2,984

 

 

 

2,283

 

 

 

869

 

 

 

416

 

 

 

1

 

Other income (expense), net

 

 

1,399

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

(306

)

 

 

(42

)

 

 

(13

)

Total other income (expense), net

 

 

4,383

 

 

 

2,293

 

 

 

563

 

 

 

374

 

 

 

(12

)

Income (loss) before income taxes

 

 

38,705

 

 

 

25,484

 

 

 

15,837

 

 

 

8,945

 

 

 

(2,540

)

(Benefit from) provision for income taxes

 

 

(3,441

)

 

 

(39,686

)

 

 

2,638

 

 

 

2,448

 

 

 

(904

)

Net income (loss)

 

$

42,146

 

 

$

65,170

 

 

$

13,199

 

 

$

6,497

 

 

$

(1,636

)

Net income (loss) per share attributable to common

   stockholders, basic and diluted:(2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

$

0.38

 

 

$

0.60

 

 

$

0.13

 

 

$

(0.58

)

 

$

(0.41

)

Diluted

 

$

0.37

 

 

$

0.57

 

 

$

0.12

 

 

$

(0.58

)

 

$

(0.41

)

Weighted—average shares used to compute net

   income (loss) per share attributable to common

   stockholders:(2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

111,450,443

 

 

 

108,833,028

 

 

 

55,835,265

 

 

 

44,138,922

 

 

 

43,141,236

 

Diluted

 

 

113,431,850

 

 

 

113,364,712

 

 

 

60,637,584

 

 

 

44,138,922

 

 

 

43,141,236

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Financial Information:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA(3)

 

$

76,989

 

 

$

49,658

 

 

$

24,097

 

 

$

10,965

 

 

$

(366

)

 

(1)

Includes depreciation and amortization expense for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 of $3,263, $2,225, $1,140, $438, and $153 respectively.

37


(2)

For years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, and 2017, see Note 11 of the notes to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for an explanation of the calculations of our net income (loss) per share attributable to common stockholders. For years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, see our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017 for an explanation of the calculations of our net income (loss) per share attributable to common stockholders.

(3)

See “— Adjusted EBITDA” below for more information and for a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net income (loss), the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP.

(4)

See Note 2 of the notes to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for an explanation of the impact of adoption of ASC 606.

 

 

 

December 31,

 

 

 

2019(2)

 

 

2018(1)

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Consolidated Balance Sheet Data: