Elevator Pitch: YourCarLog.com

Elevator Pitch is a new regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Ben Caplan, founder of YourCarLog.com.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

YourCarLog.com is the simplest and most effective way to maintain a car log for FBT or reimbursement purposes.YourCarLog.com is an application that creates car log books or expense reimbursement reports from existing entries in your electronic calendar (Microsoft Outlook, gCal or iCal). The user exports their diary to the YourCarLog portal; we “mash” the entries with Google Enterprise Maps.

With the click of a mouse you can produce car usage reports that can be used for Australian tax purposes and expense reimbursement. A user only requires an electronic diary, such as Microsoft Outlook, gCal or iCal to log the destination of each meeting. It is the missing link in this once- complex compliance requirement.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

YourCarLog.com has been predominantly self-funded with some seed capital provided by private investors. We don’t necessarily need further venture funding, but are always open to investors that can bring expertise to the table rather than just capital.

The business is run with minimum overheads and is headquartered out of my existing business. Development has been outsourced per our specifications. My co-founder and COO, Julian Khursigara, manages the development, sales and marketing side of the business. As revenue grows, we will bring on more staff.

We believe that in Australia alone, there’s a massive market for our service, and this has been validated by previews we’ve undertaken with the major accounting firms and fleet management business. We are developing strategic relationships with accountants — due to recent changes in the FBT tax requirements maintaining a log book is more important than ever. YourCarLog.com provides a simple and accurate solution.

Once we’ve established in Australia, we’ll look to expand first to other English speaking markets with similar tax regulations relating to work vehicles. The US is an obvious target, but the tax laws vary from state to state making a straight over entry to market a little more difficult.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

As a provider of a new service, the biggest challenge is making sure people understand that our approach is unique — there are plenty of log book apps on the market, but all they do is remove the pen and paper component of the logbook system. There’s still a lot of manual data entry and revision required. YourCarLog removes that manual element, and gives back at least 100 productive working hours a year to employees. And that’s without factoring in the cost saving from having accurate and compliant FBT liability reports.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

I read this a long time back: “The difference between a successful person and a failure – is a successful person is not afraid to fail”.

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