WeGoLook parts ways with founder, outsources jobs
Top executives at Oklahoma City-based WeGoLook were terminated by its parent company this week, and jobs at the downtown tech company are being outsourced, The Oklahoman has learned.
Matt Smith, co-founder of WeGoLook and one of the original investors, confirmed Friday that former CEO Robin Smith-Roberson and Chief Operating Officer Kenneth Knoll were let go this week by Crawford & Co. as part of a restructuring. Calls and emails to both Crawford and WeGoLook's President Meredith Brogan were not immediately returned.
He also confirmed that recent discussions about expanding the Oklahoma City workforce stalled, and that the company appears to be outsourcing software development jobs.
Smith-Roberson's termination coincided with a talk she gave to Google's Startup Grind in Tulsa about acquisitions and exit strategies.
WeGoLook's headquarters are in Oklahoma City at 100 NE 5 Street. The doors were locked Friday, with a nearly empty parking lot and no answer at the door buzzer. The building's owner could not be reached.
In a 2018 interview with The Oklahoman, Robin Smith discussed how she and a program manager started WeGoLook in 2010 after observing how a friend was considering buying a high-end projector on eBay but was struggling to verify the seller’s claims about the item.
Over the next few years the company grew, boasting it was combining technology with an on-demand workforce of more than 40,000 lookers to help businesses and individuals gather and validate information anytime, anywhere. By 2016 Smith's effort was being recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the 500 fastest growing privately held companies in the country.
That same year the company was able to pay back a $1.75 million equity investment made by the Oklahoma tech investment fund i2E Inc. as Crawford & Co., the world's largest publicly listed independent provider of claims management solutions, acquired an 85 percent membership interest in the company for more than $36 million.
In March 2018, Smith reported her company employed 140 people at its headquarters. At that time the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber presented a deal to the city’s Economic Development Trust that would have provided assistance to WeGoLook, adding another 367 employees. At the same time, the company began talking with city officials and nearby developers about adding an office tower to the existing headquarters.
Brent Bryant, economic development manager at city hall, said Friday that communications with the company over proposed jobs incentives ceased early last year.
"We could not come to terms, so we didn't move forward," he said.
The changes at WeGoLook follow the conviction last June of former controller Frederick Boone Price, who was sentenced to 19 months in federal prison for embezzling nearly $400,000 from the company.
Between January 2016 and October 2016, Price used his company credit card to obtain cash advances for personal benefit. In that time, Price made 149 unauthorized cash advance transactions, primarily at local gaming centers.
Price caused the company to pay the credit card bills and hid the charges by falsifying a ledger. He resigned after irregularities in the finances were discovered and an accounting firm was hired to examine the books.
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›
Dale Denwalt has closely followed state policy and politics since his first internship as an Oklahoma Capitol reporter in 2006. He graduated from Northeastern State University in his hometown of Tahlequah. Denwalt worked as a news reporter in... Read more ›