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The Power of a Practical App Over Building a Unicorn The journey of DealSure, a car-leasing app, shows it's better to build to enhance than to impress.

By Jason Saltzman Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


If you don't know by now, I have an infatuation with startups. I enjoy everything that comes with having a startup and getting to know the teams that work for them. Inspiration presents itself to me every day through hearing and getting to meet the people behind these innovative ideas. I especially enjoy hearing about companies who've mastered practical application. When a team of people come together to create something invaluable that is simple to comprehend, it assures me that the future of the startup ecosystem is in good hands. Being present to witness it and experience this is definitely an upside to my job as CEO of AlleyNYC.

Now, it can be difficult. There's never a shortage of competition, but at times, there is a startup that I come across that sticks out among everyone else. We live in an age where aesthetic is crucial, honestly more than it should be. But, the beauty to me is that it may not be the "sexiest" idea out there, but that it's practical. After all, everyone can't become a Facebook. In the world of startups, there has only been a small percentage of unicorns for every thousand or so companies that launch. Aspiring to become a unicorn can be seen as being parallel to winning the lottery. The odds are against you. So, when a startup comes along that is more concerned with practicality and how the user/customer will adjust to their product, it excites me.

Now, let me tell a story that exemplifies a startup like what I've mentioned above. How many of you own a car? Or have been at a dealership where you know that salesperson is clearly upselling you on that specific car you want? Well, a few weeks ago, a friend of mine was at a dealership and looking to purchase a car. As you can imagine, the direction of the conversation with the salesperson turned unfavorable in only a short matter of minutes. My friend called the salesperson out on the sticker price.

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Now, looking to solve the dispute, I did what every quasi-geek would do and picked up my phone to go to Google. I was brought to an app called DealSure. I downloaded it on my phone, took a picture of sticker price of the car, and uploaded it. Within minutes, I received a full report on the price of the car. I showed it to my friend and we decided to go to a different dealership to buy the same car.

I was impressed with the app and its functionality, so much so that I decided to research who created it and reach out to them. Well, ironically enough, it turns out that the managing partner is an old friend of mine whom I haven't connected with in years. Josh Opatka was a friend that I made back when I lived in Miami. Josh happily introduced me to the CEO and founder of DealSure, Andrew Gellert, so that I could learn more about what DealSure does and his motivation for building the company.

Q: What is DealSure?

A: DealSure is about being able to have someone on your side to help you negotiate the best deal on any new car that you test drive at a dealership. By simply utilizing the mobile app, you are able to take a photo of the sticker price on any car you'd like a quote on. Simply, DealSure ensures you don't get screwed over by a dealership whose main concern is profitability.

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Q: How did you come up with the concept?

A: We came up with the concept for DealSure after realizing the frustrations of car buyers looking to lease in today's market. With confusing sales tactics, and high-pressure salesmen, a trip to the dealership can be an overwhelming and unwelcome experience. You have to advocate for yourself, but how do you truly know if you scored a deal or not? With DealSure, they ensure that you get a deal. A DealSure consultant utilizes all the manufacturer incentives and rebates as well as the current programs to calculate a real-time quote on the specific vehicle you submitted. If no one buys a used car without consulting Carfax, why would you lease a new care without DealSure?

Q: What is the market size?

A: There are 18,000 franchise car dealerships in the United States. Each dealership sells anywhere between 150 to 400 cars on a monthly basis. The average consumer will test drive three to five different models before deciding on the brand. But, that same consumer will test drive three to five additional cars from that particular brand to decide on the colors and options that they desire.

You see, practicality in itself is beautiful. The app didn't have to be a glamorous idea with an over-complicated User Experience, but it's useful. And at the end of the day, our goal as entrepreneurs should be to enhance the lives of our customers, users, and community. Let this be food for thought: Are you building what you're building to impress or to enhance?

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Jason Saltzman

Startup Mentor, Entrepreneur, CEO of Alley

Jason Saltzman is a seasoned entrepreneur with a background in sales and marketing. Through his role as CEO of Alley and as a TechStars mentor, he advises hundreds of startups, offering real-life practical application and creative marketing advice.  

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