Entrepreneurship to Automotives
PROVO, Utah – Oct 10, 2018 – BYU Marriott alum Caleb Wagner was sitting in an executive technology lecture series when he realized something that would change his future. As he listened to a number of entrepreneurs talk about how they made their businesses, he decided that his young age wouldn't stop him from doing the same.
“I realized that if these lecturers could make their own businesses, there was no reason that I shouldn’t try to start one myself,” he says.
After changing his focus from finance to entrepreneurship, Wagner applied to the BYU Marriott entrepreneurship program and received acceptance in summer 2016. He spent the rest of his time in the program trying to develop a business plan that would offer a necessary service and that would be successful.
After doing extensive research in the auto mechanic field, Wagner and a friend decided this was where they wanted to make a difference. In their first business attempt, they tried to create a product that would give the customer access to a number of quotes for damaged vehicles to ensure confidence in the diagnosis.
Though they found positive response from consumers, there was less of a need or want for the product from mechanics. It was after this failed business attempt that Wagner realized the importance of failing fast, failing early, and creating a business based on providing a solution to a specific issue. “Thanks to great faculty in the program, I learned the importance of finding a real problem, coming up with a solution, and then building a business around the solution,” he says.
Wagner spent the next few weeks shadowing employees at a variety of mechanic shops to see if there were any issues that needed a solution. He learned that a number of customers would come pick up their vehicles from an auto shop and notice scratches or dents in their car that they believed might have happened at the shop.
Wagner’s solution to the problem was to build a camera system that records all angles of a car while entering the bay at an auto shop. By doing so, mechanics would have footage of how every inch of the car looked prior to any work being done.
Wagner put together a prototype system and took it around to fifteen different mechanic shops. Over eighty percent of the mechanics he spoke with said they were interested in investing in the hardware and software immediately.
“We were excited about the response we received,” he says. “After talking to the shops, we built the first model, including a rough version of the software, and then installed everything for the first customer.”
Now the company has a name, BayWatch Technologies, as well as twenty-four auto mechanic shops waiting for installation. By December, Wagner wants to have his product installed in at least eighty shops. “My overall goal is to create a business that delivers long-term value to our customers and our investors,” he says. “If that turns into a profitable business that provides meaningful employment, I’ll be very happy.”
In addition to the lessons he learned from the entrepreneurship program, Wagner believes his experience in one class had the biggest impact on his path to creating a business. “Had I not had the opportunity to go to those lecture series and lean on the confidence of those entrepreneurs, I don’t know if I would have made the jump to starting my own business as early as I did,” he says.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sydney Zenger