If at First You Don’t Succeed…
PROVO, Utah – Nov 16, 2018 – When BYU Marriott student Caleb Wagner began the Founders Launchpad program in the summer of 2017, he was certain his idea was going to be a success. Through extensive surveying, he and his best friend Tanner Beckstrand—a student at Utah Valley University—had received extremely positive feedback from potential customers regarding what the duo considered a better way to do car repairs.
But in spite of initially seeing the green light, the proposed business model ultimately hit a roadblock. While potential customers had jumped on board with their innovative car repair idea, mechanics quickly put on the brakes. And without interest from mechanics, there was simply no way to scale the business.
“We received great data,” says Wagner, who graduated from BYU in entrepreneurship this past April. “Everything indicated that we should move forward with this. What we didn’t realize, however, was how important it is to identify a problem and then come up with a solution instead of coming up with a solution and then trying to find a problem that matches.”
The experience proved to be extremely beneficial for Wagner and Beckstrand, who were not discouraged by the failure. Taking what they were learning in the Founders Launchpad program, the two went back to the drawing board and ultimately decided that they would continue in the automotive space, this time steering in a different direction. The duo then spent two weeks shadowing employees at nearly a dozen service centers looking for a pain point that could be addressed.
They noticed time and time again that dealerships were being accused of causing damage to customers’ cars while the vehicles were in their care. And because the dealerships had no way to prove whether the damage was already there or not, the companies would end up covering repairs, often costing them significant amounts of money.
In response, Wagner and Beckstrand came up with a robust concept aimed to solve this problem. The idea was to install cameras at the opening of the service drive lane to document what cars looked like when customers dropped them off and picked them up. Through this documentation, dealerships would be able to identify if they were responsible for any vehicle damage.
The concept proved to be a hit, with eight of the first ten dealerships approached asking for the product to be installed. By that November—only about four months after pivoting to the idea of damage documentation—the team had its first prototype installed at a dealership.
“Tanner and I are not technical by background, but we hustle,” Wagner says. “We were able to do a lot with a little, which I largely attribute to what we’ve learned from the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology and what I’ve learned from the entrepreneurship program at BYU.”
Wagner and Beckstrand then took their company, BayWatch Technologies, to the New Venture Challenge at BYU, where their efforts resulted in a prize of $15,000 toward their cause. From there it was on to the Founders Launchpad program once again—this time with a business model worth scaling.
Since then, BayWatch Technologies has installed numerous systems at service centers throughout the United States, including the second largest Toyota dealership in the country. They currently have a list of more than 20 companies waiting for systems to be installed.
Such success is certainly the result of dedication and hard work—as is always necessary following a failure or setback—but Wagner is quick to also credit the resources available through BYU Marriott, including Founders Launchpad, the BYU entrepreneur network, and the Rollins Center.
“The program is called Launchpad for a reason,” Wagner says. “It propels you a lot further and a lot faster than you could by yourself. Those who participate have experiences with seasoned entrepreneurs who know what to look out for and what to focus on. Anybody who is curious should stop by the Rollins Center. They love helping young, aspiring entrepreneurs hit the next level.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Brendan Gwynn