OKC VeloCity | Homegrown tech success

Homegrown tech success

By Marcus Elwell / Economy / July 18, 2018

Members of the WeGoLook team receive a Metro 50 award last year at the 22nd annual awards banquet.

Right now every city in America, big and small, is looking for the same exact thing. Every community is hoping the next Facebook, Google or Amazon is starting up in a garage or co-working space just a couple of blocks away.

The next company to use technology to disrupt the market might be located right here in Oklahoma City and they go by the name WeGoLook.

Founded in 2009, WeGoLook set out to help answer a question we have all had at one time or another: Can I really trust what I am buying online?

Like most great ideas, the concept is simple. “Lookers” are hired to go inspect online purchases in person to make sure the buyer is not getting scammed.

After a $100,000 “proof-of-concept” award from i2E, Inc., an organization that offers support for entrepreneurs in Oklahoma, WeGoLook was off and running and they haven’t looked back since.

It didn’t take long for WeGoLook to understand that their platform had more applications than just online shopping. Why not use it for insurance claim adjustments also?

The rapid acceleration of the company was now on overdrive as they quickly grew to employ more than 140 people in Oklahoma City and 40,000 independent contractors worldwide.

In 2016 and 2017, WeGoLook made both the prestigious Inc. 5000 list and was honored as a Metro 50 winner as one of the 50 fastest growing, privately held companies in Greater Oklahoma City.

In January 2017 insurance giant Crawford & Company purchased an 85 percent interest in WeGoLook for $36 million. The goal was simple, to take WeGoLook global.

A national buyout can be scary for a community as sometimes it lessens a company’s commitment to their hometown. That doesn’t seem to be the case with WeGoLook however. Co-founder and CEO Robin Smith has continuously affirmed the company’s commitment to growing in Oklahoma City.

In fact, last March the company announced it planned to add 300 new jobs in Oklahoma City by 2023, more than doubling its size.

"WeGoLook is precisely the vibrant type of company that we think can help move our economy forward though innovation," said Roy Williams, president & CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. "WeGoLook could grow anywhere in the country but the fact they choose to do it here, where they started, not only speaks to their commitment to Oklahoma City but the business climate and quality of life we enjoy."

What makes the WeGoLook story even more special is that most of their early funding came from i2E. After their initial $100,000 “proof of concept” award to the company, i2E proceeded to invest another $1.75 million in Series A funding. From idea, to workforce and even local funding, WeGoLook is a shining example that success in tech can happen right here in Oklahoma City.

But don’t think all the success is going to keep WeGoLook from innovating, as the company is now investing heavily in drone technology. The company already has more than 2,200 licensed drone operators hired as lookers. You might be asking, “Why drones?” The drones can inspect roofing claims which saves insurance inspectors time and keeps them off dangerous ladders and rooftops.

One tech investment insider said, “WeGoLook is the Uber of inspections.” It might not be long before the next generation of tech companies are trying to become the WeGoLook of their market place.

 

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