The new iOS and Android app Wyper brings the swipe left-swipe right matchmaking magic of Tinder to car shopping. When I spoke with creator Aaron Rosenthal, the app had only been out of beta and available nationwide for about a week and a half, and there had already been more than 100,000 swipes. “We had the ‘Tinder for cars’ part done a year ago,” Rosenthal said, “but we had to do better than competition.”
Wyper pulls from new and used dealership inventories to show you cars that match your search criteria. Then, just like Tinder, you swipe left when you see a car you’re not into and swipe right when you’d like to hook up with that hatchback. But that’s pretty much the only similarity.
“It’s not just swipeability that makes it powerful,” said Rosenthal. “There are really powerful analytics a click a way.” Wyper uses an algorithm to learn what you’re interested in beyond your search criteria, which includes price, model, and body type. The more you swipe, the more Wyper learns what you like and what you don’t. You can also swipe down to further identify what you don’t like, whether that’s convertibles or manual transmissions. Then Wyper will stop showing you cars you’re not going to be interested in. It also uses swiping data from all users to aggregate cars with “social value”—things like popular trim levels and colors.
When you do find a car you’d like to check out, you can call the dealer or seller through the app, which masks your identity and uses the Wyper 800 number to call anonymously. This cuts down on the creep factor, sure, but anyone who has ever contacted a dealership and then been inundated with calls and emails will appreciate the middleman.
Wyper’s focus is entirely on the consumer, Rosenthal said. “AutoTrader and Cars.com focus on the dealer first,” he noted. Unlike most car buying apps, Wyper promises not to allow dealers to pay to put their listings first. But they’re also not going to charge for the app. “The best benefit is giving the users as many tools as possible for free and building a communication net for dealers and consumers.” He plans on building revenue via that communication—”Chat, voice, however we allow users to communicate”—and charging dealers for the privilege of connecting with potential buyers.
That connection is increasingly farther from home, according to Rosenthal. Though the app favors local results, as you keep searching, it can spiral outward to allow you to search nationwide if you want. That way, you can find a car with the perfect custom rims four states away, or a car that’s so much cheaper in another market that it’s worth a few hundred bucks to ship it to your location.
“We want you to find the perfect car that you want,” Rosenthal said. “Don’t settle.”