The company of the day is ValueAppeal, based in the US. ValueAppeal is a simple online tool that homeowners use to appeal their property tax assessments. You will find below an interview with Charles Walsh, Founder and CEO of ValueAppeal. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
Interview with Charles Walsh, Founder and CEO of ValueAppeal
Who are you?
I’m the founder and CEO of ValueAppeal. I am a husband and proud father. I am a Seattle native and entrepreneur.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘company of the day’ per Microsoft?
We’re very excited about the ValueAppeal service and very happy that Microsoft is too! The BizSpark program has really allowed us to hit the ground running with some of the most powerful technologies available and we’re happy to have the opportunity to showcase our new service!
What did you do before creating your company?
I was the CEO of ISSI Data for the 3 years prior to founding ValueAppeal. ISSI Data is a data storage VAR located in Bothell, WA. I sold the company to a competitor in October 2008.
How did you get the idea? What s the genesis?
I believe that many problems in the world could easily be solved by doing nothing more than giving people easy access to the data they need to understand the problem. I founded ValueAppeal because I wanted to bring transparency to the property tax appeal process and empower homeowners to reduce their property taxes without having to spend many hours of time learning and researching. The property tax appeal process is famously opaque and homeowners are at a big disadvantage when it comes to understanding the process and finding the information they need to successfully appeal their property taxes.
What do you sell? What is your company’s mission?
ValueAppeal is a simple online tool that homeowners use to appeal their property tax assessments. It compiles millions of records of property information to create a customized argument specific for your home and tax situation. Our mission is to drive fairness and transparency into the property tax appeal process.
What is your market?
We launched ValueAppeal in King County, WA in July 2009 and we are excited to launch in Florida this month. We’ve had a great response from our customers and we’re excited to roll the service out to more counties across the country. Our goal is to cover the 700 highest density counties in the US in the next few years.
Funding history? VCs? BA?
We raised a seed round from friends and family to get us this far. We’re now in the process of raising our Series A round from local angel investors.
Our target is the most dense areas of the US and currently have no plans for international expansion.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We have our CTO and Lead Developer, a Senior Level Developer, a part time Brand and Marketing Specialists, a Directory of Communications and myself, the CEO.
Are you hiring? If yes, what? Where?
We are actively looking to hire another developer.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We’re building with SQL Server and .NET because my guru CTO insisted on it and because of the quick timeline we could get up and running taking advantage of it. I tend to listen to him on such matters.
Do you have any Software IP? Is there something that you’re the only one to do on the market?
We are the only online property tax appeal company to develop proprietary algorithms that select appeal comps and get their data directly from the counties themselves. We tackle the problem in a very deliberate a specific way to put as much power and evidence in the hands of our customers and maximize their savings.
Who’s your role model?
As a startup CEO, I admire Fred Smith, the CEO of FedEx. He wrote the business plan for FedEx while still in school at Yale and his professor mocked his idea. He went out and raised money and built the company anyway. He is also one of the rare entrepreneurs to successfully transition his own startup skills into running a massive international company.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet areas?
There is a tremendous opportunity in taking data, ideas and concepts and making it useful for people. We are at a point in time where technology allows us to analyze information and collaborate together like never before. We are really excited about the secondary opportunities we see in analyzing property data and can see many other cool technologies spring up around making information work for people.
Looking for funding? If yes, how much?
We’re actively seeking to raise a $650,000 Series A round.
What about the BizSpark Program? What do you think? Are you going to join? Why?
The Microsoft development platform has proven to be incredibly useful and powerful but it has always been cost prohibitive in some cases for smaller startup cultures. We jumped at the opportunity to join a program that allows our foot into the door with enterprise level software.
Any advice to young Software entrepreneurs?
The world is filled with amazing problems to solve and we now have the tools to tackle things we have never been able to. Keep tinkering, keep creating, keep refining and eventually you will stumble onto something that can really help those around you.