TrueCar Inc., the car-shopping service, reported continued revenue growth and another loss in the first quarter.
The company added that it will step up spending on advertising and other efforts to attract customers through the rest of the year, and forecast a big rise this year in the number of auto sales it facilitates.
"We're building a brand," founder and CEO Scott Painter said in a conference call. Although TrueCar must watch costs to help its bottom line, the company is "going to focus on revenue growth" in the final three quarters of 2015, he said.
TrueCar generates revenue from fees paid by dealers for vehicles sold through its network -- $299 for new-car sales and $399 on used-car transactions. It sold stock to the public in May 2014.
In the first quarter, TrueCar's revenue rose 33 percent from a year earlier to $58.6 million, and the number of new- and used-vehicle sales transactions that it was involved in climbed 34 percent to 168,559. That figure includes vehicles bought through TrueCar's website and the sites it runs for its affinity partners.
But TrueCar also spent heavily to build up its technology, staff and dealer connections, and its net loss under generally accepted accounting principles widened to $11.6 million, from $9.9 million a year earlier.
The company said it saw a big jump in visits to its website and mobile-device platforms. The number of franchise new-car dealers signed up to use TrueCar rose to 9,108, compared with 8,501 in the first quarter of 2014. TrueCar's tally counts the number of brands of new cars sold by dealers in the TrueCar network at each of their locations.