Overall Innovator winner inspects products for far-off buyers
By Journal Record Staff
Copyright © 2015 The Journal Record
OKLAHOMA CITY – WeGoLook won the overall award at The Journal Record’s Innovator of the Year event Wednesday.
Oklahoma City-based WeGoLook received the overall award for its custom inspection and tasking service that uses crowdsourcing technology to connect online shoppers with people who can inspect the items they are browsing online and send them a report, complete with photographs.
“While there are nationwide automotive inspection companies, there are no companies that have a dynamic platform that offers all our services,” said co-founder Robin Smith. “We’re able to personalize (our services) for any customer.”
When Smith and co-founder Mark Caywood first developed the concept, it was based on online auctions. At sites such as eBay, buyers bid on items that may be located hundreds of miles away. That made it almost impossible for the bidders to actually inspect the goods. It increased the possibility of the bidder being taken advantage of or becoming the victim of outright fraud.
The business partners came up with a plan in which they hired agents – called “lookers” – to inspect the items. Using crowdsourcing, they were able to set up a network of lookers. While there are similar services for those in automotive, construction and heavy equipment industries, there were no companies offering the range of lookers that WeGoLook could provide.
As WeGoLook’s popularity grew, it began to draw attention from business and industry and led to new developments, including a product designed to help a national insurance company save money by employing lookers for only specific instances.
“We are changing the way the world works using this business model,” Smith said. “We help corporate clients save money and time. It’s really a win-win.”
Sponsors for this year’s Innovator of the Year event were i2E Inc., Ernst & Young LLP, Francis Tuttle Technology Center and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
David Greer with the Oklahoma Innovation Institute was the keynote speaker for the event. The Tulsa-based institute won the overall 2014 award for its implementation of the Tandy Community Supercomputer. Greer also serves as executive director of the Institute for Information Security, or iSec, at the University of Tulsa.
Oklahoma ArtScience Team BioBlue received this year’s Creativity Award. Team BioBlue was recognized for its design of a specialized chair that will help people with injuries and disabilities to sit and stand with ease. Its design, which resembles the structure and functionality of a fish fin, has a patent pending.
The ceremony was held at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.
The 2015 Innovator of the Year honorees were:
• Appable, Norman
• Caisson Biotech LLC, Austin
• Camp Pixel, Oklahoma City
• Century Martial Arts, Oklahoma City
• Digital Six Laboratories, Yukon
• Exaptive Inc., Oklahoma City
• Financial Samaritan, Tulsa
• Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Oklahoma City
• JustGoodNews.Biz, Edmond
• Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, Oklahoma City
• PatientLink, Oklahoma City
• Roll-2-Roll Technologies LLC, Stillwater
• Simpliuniik, Edmond
• Thrive15.com, Tulsa
• Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, Oklahoma City
• The Transformation Agency, Oklahoma City
• Vakargo Inc., Norman
• Valve Systems International LLC, Tulsa
• WeGoLook, Oklahoma City
• Well Checked Systems International LLC, Tulsa
• W-W Manufacturing Co. Inc./The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Thomas/Ardmore