By Scott Meacham
Copyright (©) 2015, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
It’s in fashion these days for startup companies to choose clever names — names with upper and lower case letters in places you don’t expect them to be, or names that signify something about the company’s product or service to the entrepreneurs starting the business, but nothing at all to the rest of us.
So it’s really refreshing to work with a company named WeGoLook. The name tells you exactly what this business does.
WeGoLook provides affordable on-site verification and inspection services and custom tasking to individuals and businesses. With almost 18,000 agents nationwide as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia — it’s the crowdsourcing model on steroids. “Lookers” visually verify and capture data on just about any object.
For individuals, this might be verification of the existence and condition of an online item offered for sale — whether antique, animal, automobile, or a condo on the beach. Services for individuals were the starting point for WeGoLook, and remain a strong aspect of the business.
However, the inroads that this young startup has made with corporations, is where WeGoLook grows especially interesting.
Last fall, i2E led a $1.75M investment in WeGoLook that included investment from the Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund, OK Angel Sidecar Fund, SeedStep Angels, and others in Oklahoma, including $600,000 from company founders.
“i2E really helped us,” said Robin Smith, COO and co-founder. “They helped us decide if we wanted to raise money at all, and if it was a viable option. They went through a lengthy process to ensure that we were prepared and well-vetted before we began talking to potential investors. Then they connected us.”
WeGoLook used the investment to ramp up development and launch mobile inspection applications for Android and IOS.
Then WeGoLook was awarded a contract to offer their services to all eBay Motors customers. A link to WeGoLook’s website will soon be located in the auto listings on eBay.
Now one of the nation’s largest insurance companies is outsourcing many of their inspection services across the country to WeGoLook. The 20-plus month transition plan is going well.
So besides the name, there’s plenty to like about WeGoLook.
In any startup, you start with the concept — is it high growth? Will it scale? The concept behind WeGoLook is simple and elegant — and it solves a big problem for multiple large and accessible markets.
WeGoLook is run by experienced entrepreneurs who know how to operate and grow a business. They’ve already created more than 40 jobs for Oklahoma. They will have seven interns from Oklahoma colleges on board for the summer.
In less than five years, the business has more than started to scale. Growth has become organic. Without investing much in business development or marketing, WeGoLook has secured long-term contracts with many big name corporations.
Maybe it’s time to change that name to WeGoGrow.
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. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org
Did You Know? About 83 percent of metro areas still receive five or fewer venture deals, but over the last five years, more metros than ever are home to some level of venture activity. SOURCE: SSTI