By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2016, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
Now that the acquisition announcements of Selexys by Novartis and of WeGoLook by Crawford & Co. have been made, I’m looking forward to what happens next.
In the case of Selexys, like any biotech deal, seeing the “next” will take some time. But with WeGoLook, things could get more interesting quickly — and they are very interesting now.
This company is an original. First, it was founded by Robin Smith, a female entrepreneur, who, as part of Crawford’s acquisition, is under contract to continue to lead the company. Investors, like i2E and SeedStep angels, are seeking more female entrepreneurs because gender diverse companies oftentimes outperform their peers.
Second, WeGoLook is seriously disrupting the $500 billion property and casualty insurance industry, both through WeGoLook’s leading edge information technology, and by capitalizing on the international trend of crowdsourcing, which is creating, in Smith’s words, “a monumental shift in the way the world works.”
“Think about the way that mobile technology has evolved so rapidly in banking — using a mobile app to ‘write’ or scan checks,” she said. “The companies that adopted technology thrived; the ones that didn’t began losing customers. Some big companies were caught off guard. It’s going to be the same way for the insurance industry.”
WeGoLook has an agile technology and a field force of thousands of “Lookers” who are pre-vetted, skilled independent contractors with the experience or skill set required for the “Look.” They are at the ready to respond in person and on-demand when an insurance carrier needs inspection reports and low-complex tasks completed to assist with underwriting and claims. Meeting the policyholder at their behest ultimately leads to a faster flow of funds and better customer experience at a lower cost.
WeGoLook has evolved into a mobile technology company with a concierge mentality.
“In real time, we send a looker out on the policyholder’s schedule,” Smith said. “It’s the VIP touch while we capture the information and submit it back — all without sending a claims adjuster. Enterprise clients are utilizing our technology combined with our extensive international workforce to create new and more efficient process flows within their own organization.
More than 35 different investors and firms wanted to participate and/or partner with WeGoLook. “We were careful to choose the firm that was most closely aligned with our goals, beliefs, and culture. That was Crawford. They are the most innovative, forward thinking, and creative team we wanted to align ourselves with.”
Think about that. Almost three dozen potential investors for an Oklahoma IT startup, that’s less than six years old.
I’ve said it before — this state is not investor flyover country any more.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology and is an integral part of Oklahoma’s Innovation Model. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.