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Wilmington startup WhipFlip aims to change how cars are sold

Katie Tabeling
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WhipFlip aims to flip the script on the car-selling experience with its smart-phone based app. | PHOTO COURTESY OF WHIPFLIP

WhipFlip aims to flip the script on the car-selling experience with its smart-phone based app. | PHOTO COURTESY OF WHIPFLIP

WILMINGTON — An emerging startup company based out of The Mill hopes to change how consumers sell cars through artificial technology packaged in a smartphone app.

WhipFlip, founded in 2021 by Roger Clappe, offers people a chance to sell their car without leaving their home. Through an app, users can enter the basic information on the vehicle and then use a photo tool to snap photos of the car. While taking pictures, AI technology is calculating damage points spotted. Within moments, a final offer is extended — take it or leave it.

WhipFlip then sells the cars to auction wholesalers, dealers and fleet companies. At this point, the company operates in Delaware, the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh area, southern New Jersey and key cities in Ohio and North Carolina.

“It’s an unbiased approach to a vehicle assessment and it takes less than two minutes,” said Clappe, CEO of WhipFlip. “We can get granular and leverage several million data points to offer the most accurate, up-to-date offer a consumer can get. The idea is to give control back to the consumer in the modern age.”

Clappe is a graduate of Delcastle Technical High School where he studied automotive technology. He eventually returned to those roots as part of the team that grew WeBuyAnyCar.com’s expansion in the United States. From there, he built and overhauled sales teams at Creditsafe USA and TradeRev. Clappe has also been on the liquid distribution side of sales at KAR Global, a digital platform for the wholesale auto industry.

“I looked at this whole ecosystem on how cars come in and how they go back to dealer inventory, and I thought we could just build and control our own ecosystem through technology in a very streamlined, efficient process,” Clappe said.

The decision to launch WhipFlip was also inspired by the most “epic” car market that Clappe thinks he will ever see in his lifetime. With pent-up demand spurred by COVID-19 precautions urging people outside in 2021, as well as stimulus checks and a shortage on microchips making it harder to get new cars on lots, it was a selling frenzy for used cars.

“That lasted about a year and a half. Now, it’s less demand and people are starting to wait for the all-clear to buy one of the most expensive assets in their life,” he said. “The good news is that we’re leveraging experience and market analysis to provide a true value of what’s actually going on.”

His experience in the automotive industry also brought him in touch with a critical partner: data analytics firm J.D. Power, which provided key resources and data in the early days of WhipFlip. Earlier this month, Clappe announced that the company was strengthening its relationship with J.D. Power and exploring new options for technology expansion.

“They were incredibly valuable in our infancy and we want to look for things down the road that can help each other out,” he said.

WhipFlip is currently based out of The Mill in downtown Wilmington and has 35 employees, with plans to grow in another four or five markets this year. But Clappe believes he’s here to stay in the First State.

“I take a lot of pride in being a technology company in Delaware. I think the state is doing its best to draw startup talent, with incubators and buildings. We’re only going to grow that talent inside Delaware,” he said.

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