The Estify story reads like a success checklist for tech start-ups. Young, savvy coders see an industry they can disrupt. Their idea wins university contests and scores a US$800,000 seed round of funding. They enter an accelerator. They move to sunny California to make their fortunes. One twist though: the industry. Rather than social media or travel or entertainment or fashion, the Estify founders set out to modernize what they see as an antiquated sector—collision repair.
“The industry’s really outdated and, to be honest, that’s why we wanted to work with it,” says Jordan Furniss, who founded Estify in 2012 in Provo, UT, along with fellow Brigham Young University business student, Taylor Moss, and Arkansas transplant, Derek Carr. “A lot of [shops] are family businesses, and some of the stuff they do is just how they’ve always done it.”
Specifically, the trio wanted to address the mind-numbing process of reconciling the actual cost of repair jobs with the estimates that the shops submit to customers’ insurance companies. Comparing estimates to costs—part for part, labor hour for labor hour—is a big time-suck, says Danny Panduro, vice president of J&L Body and Paint Shop in the Los Angeles, CA San Fernando Valley. “If our system doesn’t match the insurer’s estimate, it messes up accounting ridiculously,” he says. A big repair job can take two hours to reconcile, and J&L does about 20 estimates a week, in line with industry norms. Estify Reconcile completes this task automatically, comparing two scanned or PDF estimates line-by-line via algorithm and creating a report, so differences can be quickly addressed. “I upload the PDFs, and literally within five minutes I have a reconciliation,” Panduro says. “It’s gold.”
Estify, now based in the greater Los Angeles, CA area, sells its software to repair shops and adjustors for US$99 to US$500 a month, depending on how robust a system the shop wants and the number of estimates and reconciliations processed.
Within several weeks of its first big public push in October 2013 at an industry trade show, Estify had signed up close to 100 shops.