SHzoom's first two major contracts put its plans to raise $10 million funding round into gear
Originally published on March 22, 2023 | Pittsburgh Inno
An East Liberty-based vehicle fleet, asset and licensing management platform’s first two major partnerships under multimillion-dollar contracts are positioning the revenue-producing startup to consider the pursuit of its first outside investment round.
SHzoom LLC Founder Ingrid Cook Moravitz said the startup’s first multiyear contract recently went to the City of Pittsburgh’s Equipment Leasing Authority, which will have SHzoom’s Uptime platform handle the estimating, claim filing, repair organizing and return process for any of the city’s roughly 1,100 vehicles should these vehicles become damaged in an accident. The startup, which employs five people full-time, also secured an on-demand contract model with Cobb County, Georgia, to offer a similar service for its estimated 3,500 vehicles.
According to Cook Moravitz, these initial contracts and those to come soon are positioning the startup to pursue the possibility of raising outside investment for the first time, likely targeting a $10 million round, though Cook Moravitz said that’s a figure that has yet to be solidified as the terms for any sort of deal continue to be built. She said the startup is targeting the fourth quarter of this year to raise the funding round as it prepares to take on more customers and employees in the coming weeks, months and years.
“This is big news for us. Literally, we’ve gotten this long list of people and really big companies wanting to talk acquisitions, not just investment. And that’s all new to us,” Cook Moravitz said. “We’re silently building something really big that Pittsburgh is going to be proud of and it’s just starting to flourish.”
Cook Moravitz said she has been in conversations with executives at Staples, Minnesota-based Sourcewell, a cooperative purchasing program provider for governments and other organizations, to try and secure another major contract in 2024 that could lead to SHzoom’s platform being used in municipalities across the U.S. and Canada by 2025. Describing them as the “Amazon for government fleets,” Cook Moravitz said a contract with Sourcewell would allow for SHzoom to “saturate the market” of being the dedicated platform to handle vehicle repair process for governments and other fleet managers.
But raising the funding and onboarding the necessary employees to equip SHzoom for such a workload has to happen first, Cook Moravitz said.
“We’re preparing and we don’t want to be in a position where we need to hire a whole bunch of people at once,” Cook Moravitz said. “We’re going to start slowly knowing that the floodgates will open in 2025. And whenever I say ‘the floodgates’…we’re talking millions of dollars … and each year that contract becomes more valuable and valuable.”
Cook Moravitz continued: “And then the thing is, [municipalities] always have the opportunity to renew, which is not like the private sector, right? Unless you really screw up, governments don’t change and especially if you’re saving them time and you’re saving them money and you’re making them look good in their community.”
SHzoom’s “Snap A Pic. Get A Quote.” is the oldest patent on photo estimating and automated repair management, a patent that’s licensed by auto insurance giants like Allstate and State Farm. The startup’s prior pilot programs with other municipalities reportedly cut the average return cycle time for governments to get their vehicles back from an auto shop by 28 days and saved organizations an average of nearly $500,000 per year in costs associated with outsourcing the type of work that SHzoom’s Uptime platform offers built into its software.