Niche startups done right: a case study

By Daniel Sanchez September 22, 2017
niche startups

As many entrepreneurs have learned the hard way, the initial idea for an endeavor is never optimal, never ready. To make it the best it can be it needs to be slashed, trimmed and refined. Aiming to solve a very specific problem lets you focus on providing the best possible solution. In a world filled with big problems, it can be difficult for entrepreneurs to think differently, and hone in on their niche, but niche startups are exactly where big opportunities for entrepreneurs still lie.

The feature of our niche startup case study is a New York startup born with the purpose of providing a much-needed solution to a single issue. As part of worker’s compensation insurance, workers are entitled to receiving a certain amount for transportation expenses related to medical appointments.

The claimant has to calculate mileage, keep track of every appointment and then prepare and submit the necessary paperwork to the relevant case manager at the insurance company. Many do not know they are entitled to this reimbursement and most of few that do find it to be too much of a hassle.

RoadCash takes care of all that with a user-friendly smartphone app, empowering people to get their reimbursement checks while skipping the aforementioned ordeal.

RoadCash is an app that needs minimal input from the user. The worker enters appointments information and the app proceeds to automatically track mileage to create a log. With a few clicks and swipes, the paperwork is ready to submit. Additional functionality accounts for state-specific rates, keep track of deadlines for submission, and can even find the right case manager if unknown.

The app plans to take advantage of recent efforts by the government to implement an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system for worker’s compensation claims across the USA.

Now, let’s slide onto the entrepreneurial side:

  • Does it provide a straightforward solution to a highly specific problem? Check.
  • Are there strong incentives for users? It is basically free money, so check.
  • Are there no better or similar solutions? Not at the moment. Check, check, check.

There is no market to disrupt here. There is an innovative idea that could potentially seize an entire niche.The company was co-founded by prominent businessman and private investor Robert A. Berman and Chad Ehrlich, an experienced case manager for compensation claims with a strong background in finance and entrepreneurship. They must be doing something right, as they are being financed by Avon Road Partners, LP.

Chad Ehrlich- Co-founder at RoadCash

“There are a bunch of apps doing IRS tax deductions and employer reimbursements, but no company is concentrating on the workers’ compensation industry and medical reimbursements”, asserts Ehrlich.

To attract more users, RoadCash uses a combination of social media and online marketing. An additional referral program where doctors or lawyers give a discount coupon to potential users is under implementation. Likewise, friend invites result in an additional discount if they continue to use the platform to submit their claims.

How does a niche startup scale up? By aiming at similar niches. A myriad of similar ‘orphan’ medical travel reimbursement programs from government agencies require a significant amount of time and energy from the claimant, such as Veteran Affairs. The RoadCash approach can easily become adapted to the requirements of each of these. Moreover, 136 countries in the world have worker’s compensation programs.

RoadCash is a great case study for entrepreneurs. The solid idea behind the product, the solid business model with multiple fronts coupled with a sound marketing and strategy all come together to make one thing incredibly easier for users.