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Why We Started a Web-Based (SaaS) Address Verification Company
We're technical guys. We're Internet marketing guys. We have had a lot of success over the last eight years, building out web-based products and services for more than 50,000 companies worldwide. A small team, with just the right mix of technical, marketing, and entrepreneurial expertise came together to build successful tech companies. Three years ago, we started Qualified Address with the vision to create the first completely web-based CASS, NCOA, PAVE, and Online Address Verification Suite of products, essentially entering a technical market dominated by old technology.
A Little About Us
Jonathan Oliver, and I started Exact Wave in 2002, and quickly grew to be the leading provider of postal data products in the world. When we started working together, Jonathan was studying CS at Brigham Young University, but soon found that his success as an entrepreneur was getting in the way of attending classes. I (James Endicott) had recently sold my first start-up, and was tinkering around with search engine marketing strategies while finishing an MBA at the University of Utah (I had previously graduated from BYU). Five years and many investments, teaching, and lecture opportunities (some good, some bad) later, we saw an opportunity to build a sister company to Exact Wave that focused exclusively on address scrubbing and address verification.
Starting Qualified Address
We made many observations and had many beliefs that led us to start Qualified Address. First off, we saw very few competitors in the marketplace, and determined that virtually none had built a SaaS model. Why was this important for us to do? Because of the prohibitive upfront costs, small businesses could not afford to purchase services like CASS-scrubbing on their own; but with a web-based solution, a company could scrub one list at a time on demand.
Another barrier to creating this software and partnering with the USPS was very high. How do we know? With CASS, we found fewer than 25 engines in the marketplace; with NCOA, less than 20 engines; and with PAVE, only 5 engines. Why so few? It takes years to receive the certification for such software. After three years of development we just now receiving our NCOA certification. CASS has now been live for over two years, and PAVE is over fifty percent complete; we expect to certify for both in 2011.
With a barrier to entry comes opportunity. Group 1 Software was acquired by Pitney Bowes for $321 million. Experian purchased QAS for $140 million. We believe that building the first completely web-based engine for PAVE, CASS, and NCOA has value-- huge value.
What We're Doing
Customers are looking for cheaper, faster, smarter, easier services, and that is exactly what we offer. We believe that current alternative options are expensive, slow, and unaligned with consumer interests, These programs are also so inefficient that there is a valid honest business in what we're doing--helping people save money and time on their mailings.
Where We Are
The industry for providing address verification is a difficult one to break into. The fact that only five other engines exist on the market is proof of just how crazy we are. Fortunately, we are three years into the process, and have already gained great traction in the CASS-scrubbing and LiveAddress verification realms. In fact, as we speak, Qualified Address is debt-free and continues to be profitable. We have not taken any outside capital, and so are positioned to potentially partner with the right institution for growth capital. We are growing monthly, and plan to see expedited growth with the upcoming launch of NCOA.
Speaking of NCOA, we are awaiting certification of our engine by USPS, and plan to launch immediately upon receipt. When will that be? Any day now.