Also, our latest Launch Pad panel has questions for Q&A app Dharlaa.
App Tap: Auto Title NOW
Purpose: To make the title transaction process efficient and informed
Platforms: iOS and Android
Market: Vehicle buyers, dealers and financiers
Auto titling is something any car owner must do directly or through a dealer or financial business when buying a car. In 2015, the Franklin County Clerk of Courts Maryellen O'Shaughnessy's Auto Title Division processed 569,470 total auto titles. But the process can be foreign to occasional new car buyers or burdensome to the dealer or financier continuously transacting titles. The former and the latter have led the clerk's office to launch an app, Auto Title NOW, to make the titling process an easy ride.
Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of the new app is the Vehicle Identification Number search. Potential car buyers can search a car's Ohio-issued VIN and view whether the car has a bad title, if there is a lien on the car, if the car is salvaged, or other red-flag information that could stop a title transaction.
The VIN lookup feature is particularly useful for potential car buyers, but the app is for the benefit of vehicle dealers and financiers as well. All intended users can access the app's wait time feature, which allows users to see the wait times of all four Franklin County title branches.
Integrated into the app is a platform that isn't new to the Auto Title Division but is now enhanced. That would be the Business Services Portal, which allows users to access online calculators that help determine title fees, applicable sales tax that's due and license plate costs. It also allows dealers and financiers to order pads of forms for pickup-as an alternative type of form to online versions needed for title transactions.
Easy access to the app and the portal is especially advantageous for dealers, notes the app's initiator, Kenneth Skeaton, director of auto title for the clerk's office.
"For our auto dealers, the titling process is pretty much the same (as casual customers). The unique thing about the motor vehicle dealers is that they're reoccurring, so they sell cars at the dealership, they come to our office-because by law they have to remit sales tax-and process the title for the customer," says Skeaton. "They're in and out all the time."
The good news is the app and portal are free and seen by the title division as a perk to users for doing business in Franklin County. And lots of business is done through auto titling, with a total of approximately $163 million in auto title receipts processed through Franklin County in 2015.
Our latest Launch Pad panel has questions for Q&A app Dharlaa.
Launch Pad:Dharlaa Q&A App
Investor:None; Kickstarter campaign unsuccessful
Amount funded:$0; $801 on Kickstarter, but not received
Sometimes, the best startups make use of an untapped resource. Dharlaa hopes to do so by making use of millions of retired Americans who have decades of professional and life experience. Daniel Doron, a Columbus PR contractor and the app's founder and CEO, has plans for Dharlaa to be a Q&A app and online platform that differs from a Google search or other Q&A tools like ask.com by having individuals answer questions specific to each user's unique situation or problem. Those experts, Doron hopes, will come from the retired population. And though Doron explains that being able to answer questions on anything from taxes to plumbing will be gratifying for retired experts eager to put their knowledge to good use, such experts may be paid per question or conversation if ads are featured on the platform. Doron notes ads would be helpful to users because only ads relevant to a question would appear. Dharlaa has yet to be developed, as Doron is waiting for an $80,000 investment.
Will Dharlaa achieve startup success?
"I suspect Dharlaa will be challenged by the costs of customer acquisition."
- Potential Investor: Brooke Paul, partner, Founders Factory
"The main issue keeping a user from adopting this app is the lack of a clear method of acquiring experts."
-Potential User: Paul Proffitt, chair, SunDown Group
"People are impatient and want answers right away. I think this app definitely has potential."
-Industry Pro: Joe Daley, founder, AskMob
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