MarketScan has its roots in Atlanta, where it started in 1988.
“My dad was in the car business long before he ever met my Mom,” West said of Russell West, with whom he ran the company until his death in 2005. “My dad was one of the pioneers of leasing, kind of considered the grandfather of the automotive leasing.”
West joined the family enterprise after he graduated from college with a computer science and physics degree. His father immediately put him to work writing software for vehicle leases. It took about 14 months for West to develop the program.
“We figured out this was something we could sell,” West recalled. The father-son team began selling software to Atlanta dealerships.
Clark Beven, a friend who had a now-defunct marketing company in Westlake Village, encouraged the Wests to head west after their product met with huge success in Los Angeles County. In 1990, West pawned the title of his car and flew to California, where he set up MarketScan.
Until nine years ago, MarketScan was based in Westlake Village, with an office at Lindero Canyon and Agoura Road.
“I had an opportunity to buy a building in Camarillo,” West said of the property, which actually consisted of two buildings with common wall that he demolished to double the space for the company.
At one point, MarketScan had more than 100 people in data entry alone. However, the company has since streamlined down to half its size thanks to technology.
“Over five years, we automated the bulk of manual entry, which absolutely changed our landscape,” said West.
Currently, MarketScan works with digital retailers of autos; the company’s software acts as a data-crunching engine for online operators including L.A.-based TrueCar, AutoGravity, Auto Z, AutoLoop, CarBlip, Carlease, Chroma Cars, Dealer Insights, Dealer Inspire, Dealer Teamwork and DealerDNA.
Because there are so many of these companies popping up online over time, inherent in the company’s license agreement are stipulations designed to weed out the fly-by-nights.
“We’re very selective with the companies we work with,” West said. “In the next two years, hundreds of digital retail companies will come and go.”