FORTUNE — Just one day into his tenure as CEO of a publicly traded company, TrueCar’s (TRUE) CEO Scott Painter has made good on a promise he’s heard other executives make.
“I don’t watch the [company’s] stock price, and it doesn’t matter,” he said in a phone interview on the day the online car-buying site he launched 10 years ago made its debut on the NASDAQ stock market.
If Painter had been living and dying with the price of his shares, he’d likely have started the day disappointed, and then seen his spirits lift through the remainder of the day. TrueCar’s IPO initially priced at $9, well below the target of $12-15, but the stock price rose 11.8% during its first trading session Friday, eventually closing at $10.06.
Despite the upbeat first day, Painter says success is less about a higher stock price, and more about getting the company to a point where it can go public.
Indeed, TrueCar, which connects car buyers to dealers and allows them to see what other people have paid for similar models, had to go public to allow for the expansion that Painter wanted, he noted.
“It gives us a currency so that we can think about acquisitions, or other partnerships that you can’t do when you’re private,” Painter said.
Painter also said he thinks his company is “building the future of car buying” by increasing transparency and making it easier for customers to know exactly what they’re doing when they interact with dealers. No one should overpay for a car once they understand and use the product TrueCar offers, he said.
The site also helps dealers, Painter said, noting that dealers currently make, on average, only 2-4% on any car sale
As of now, TrueCar works with around 8,000 dealers, about one-quarter of the franchised dealers operating in the U.S. Though he did not specify what other areas TrueCar could be interested in expanding into, Painter said that “anybody who is in [the car-buying] ecosystem” would be a potential partner for TrueCar, or “in the right circumstances,” a potential acquisition.
TrueCar works as a sort of virtual car lot where consumers can see what others have paid for a particular make and model, then receive offers from dealers. The company says it wants to make buying a car “transparent and anxiety free.”
It made its trading debut on the NASDAQ stock market Friday under the ticker “TRUE.”