Last Updated on May 18, 2016 by Tim
Let’s meet Startup, Taxaroo:
In a few sentences, tell us what your start-up is all about!:
We’ve recently launched Taxaroo, an on-demand professional tax preparation platform and marketplace. Taxaroo allows taxpayers to have their taxes prepared by an experienced professional (CPA or EA), at a low price, without leaving home. We are trying to completely change how people get their taxes done, and to show people that there is a better way than H&R Block to get taxes prepared.
When was your startup founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?:
Our team formed and we began working on Taxaroo in March 2015. We officially launched in February 2016, and are currently live with paying customers.
Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?:
Our primary competition is H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, and other big-name retail tax preparation offices.
Compared to going into a tax office like H&R Block, Taxaroo offers three compelling benefits:
– Trusted expertise: Many don’t realize, but big chain tax offices frequently employ unlicensed tax preparers with only hours of training. Taxaroo Tax Pros are all licensed CPAs or EAs averaging over 15 years of experience.
– Saves hours of time and hassle: With Taxaroo, clients interact with their preparer entirely online, and the process takes just minutes. No need to schedule an appointment! This saves spending half a business day at some tax office.
– Transparent, low cost pricing: Taxaroo offers instant flat quotes that we’ve negotiated to be nearly $100 cheaper compared to national averages. No need to go into an office before finding out how much you’ll pay.
Our competitive advantage is that with no physical locations, we have a much lower cost structure. We also have a far more experienced tax preparer base, which allows us to offer even more expertise than brand-name retail locations.
Let us know a bit about your team, who are the key team members and what is their role?:
Brian Liebert, CPA
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Brian came up with the concept for Taxaroo while operating the #1 tax preparation firm in Manhattan. In addition to founding and operating a successful tax prep firm, his career has included technology consulting and sales, and financial risk management. He has an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer
As a software engineer, Tim has implemented large-scale software projects with state government agencies for a Big 4 consulting firm. He is a full-stack engineer and web designer with a special fondness for front-end development. He is proud to also shortly be receiving his MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.
If applicable, what is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?:
Our first milestone was to launch for this tax season (which runs through April 18th), which we hit. We then quickly achieved our initial target of getting 20 preparers signed up, and we did it in just one day. Since then we’ve signed up more than 100 preparers and have actually switched to a wait list due to high demand.
We aren’t comfortable revealing exact client base numbers right now, but we’ve seen a consistent stream of new clients that has allowed us to gather valuable feedback and has proven a real demand for this type of service.
Why did you choose this particular idea and concept to build your start-up on?:
Taxaroo is a rag-tag, bootstrapped startup made up of a CPA and an engineer who decided to tackle an issue that touches every person on the planet. We asked ourselves: “how could we make tax filing easy?”
The seed for this question came from co-founder Brian Liebert’s years of personal experience running his own tax preparation firm. His firm consistently ranked among the best in Manhattan, in part due to great customer service and his ability to work with clients online, on their own schedule.
For many years he listened to clients talk about their woes with other tax professionals. Finding someone they could trust, getting an appointment during work hours, forgetting some forms at home and having to run back again, or not knowing how much the process will cost.
With Taxaroo, we’ve super-charged the underlying technology platform that allows a superior client experience, and made it available for taxpayers and Tax Pros far and wide!
Sure, there are the self-starters out there. The smart, confident, do-it-yourself type that use TurboTax or other products. If you can hack together your tax return, we support that. But have you ever wondered what you’re missing out on? How much time you’re actually spending reading forms and technical IRS instructions? While it’s possible to do your own taxes, do you really want to?
We started Taxaroo to make life just a little bit easier for the millions of taxpayers forced to deal with the reality of having to file taxes each and every year.
Do you have any customer feedback on your product and/or service that you could share?:
Definitely – here are some key pieces of praise:
“The UI is very clean and user friendly. Loved being able to see information about vetting process, that information was clear but not excessive and overwhelming.”
“Loved getting price quote quickly based on initial information.”
“So far I signed up – paid – and uploaded everything and I am so so impressed! Really it is so awesome- love the interface and user experience. Much better than software I’ve used before or the annoying and disorganized way I work with my old accountant (sent via email) hope there is a place we can write a glowing review to recommend this to others! Super impressed!! Great job”
“Honestly, I think the biggest selling point (for me) was how easy it was. It took a fraction of the time of TurboTax. Your CPA was very fast, too, so it’s not like it added a lot more time to get my return.”
How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?:
We think that there is a very sizable percentage of the U.S. population (initially) that would find it much more convenient to work with an accountant online rather than in person. With just personal income tax alone, there are more than 90 million returns filed through a professional tax preparer (roughly 60% of the United States gets someone to do their taxes). We think that one day we could be handling millions of returns every year.
We’re starting by building up an initial client base, iterating on the product, and using early successes to build of credibility with potential future clients. We are also looking for strategic partnerships that could be used to build clients, and will be implementing a “refer a friend” program similar to Uber’s early growth model.
Are you looking for funding or are you open to partnership opportunities, and if so, what’s the best way for people to get in contact with you?:
We are potentially looking for funding, though not aggressively right now. We are very open to partnerships, and would love to hear from anyone interested. You can reach us at [email protected].
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