Modern Logic Solves Software & Hardware Problems for CalPro

A surprising Christmas present landed on each of our desks in late 2020: a toy skull with CalPro’s diagnostic tool attached wires attached across the hemispheres. It’s certainly a conversation piece!

The skull is more than just quirky decor. CalPro sent it to us as a thank you for lending our brainpower to their launch. Todd Balan, CalPro’s CEO, took the time to personalize each team member’s toy skull. “We appreciated Modern Logic helping us with all the stuff we didn’t know,” says Tom Jasper, CalPro’s CFO. “Todd wired into the hemispheres of all the brains of Modern Logic’s team, depending on if they were right-brained or left brained.”

Why’d they go to all the trouble? That’s how much they appreciated the Modern Logic approach to partnership. Here’s what they had to say about working with Modern Logic:

Tom: “It’s a lot of fun. We like to have fun. It’s work, though. We need to do both. We had fun with their team. It’s fun to act stupid for 90 seconds in a conference call and get back to it. You can’t do that with everyone.”

Todd: “We both exited corporate because we were tired of the politics and the structure. We’re a startup, and Modern Logic gets that.”

Tom: “Life’s too short to make this a grind.”

Keep reading to find out how our team’s brainpower helped CalPro’s team have a successful launch.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves and your roles at CalPro.

Todd: CalPro makes automotive diagnostic scan solutions. I’m the CEO – my role is working on everything from business strategy to technology to IP. I don’t like titles… but you know. Co-founder, GEO (Grand Exalted One).

Tom: I’m a co-founder with Todd, technically the CFO. We do it all together. Our company was founded in 2019 and our product was developed over the course of 2020 with Modern Logic. It’ll be rolled out in the first quarter of 2021.

What makes CalPro unique?

Todd: In the collision industry, today’s shops are very good at understanding the physical damage of the vehicle. Unless you really dive into the car, you don’t know the damage to the electronic system. When the customer brings their car into a collision shop, they plug our product into the OBDII port, and it spits out the safety systems on the vehicle and the calibrations required to get the car back to the manufacturer’s setting.

Right now without our solution, you’ll find out there’s $3,000 worth of physical damage, but what you don’t know is that there’s another $1,000 in calibration that’s needed to do the job right.

Tom: The way I explain our business to my kids is like this; the automotive manufacturers throw a lot of money into putting the best safety systems they can on a car, but they do it without a care of how the vehicle gets serviced after the sale. Our solution helps the collision industry understand how to deal with this. The manufacturers of vehicles don’t care about helping collision shops – they care about selling cars. We care about the outcomes to collision shops.

How’d you get in touch with Modern Logic?

Tom: Todd & I were looking at resources, and we found the usual suspects – medium to larger firms. Modern Logic was unique in that they were clearly a startup firm. We got to them through a connection of mine that had a very good experience with them. They came in, met with Todd, we got their proposal and eventually got to an agreement – we knew they could help us with the early part of our journey.

What about it being a startup firm appealed to you?

Tom: Neither Todd or I grew up in the tech space. We’re not IT guys. We just know enough to be dangerous (laughs). We wanted someone that could hold our hand a little bit. They were capable of doing that.

Todd: Modern Logic’s distinguishing factor is that they were more relaxed in their understanding of a startup and what it takes. They were really able to hold our hand.

Tom: We knew what we wanted to do and how it should work, but we couldn’t say, “This is the stack of technology we want to build this on.” They knew exactly how to build it for the long-term.

Todd: They gave us options. They brought their expertise to us.

What services did Modern Logic provide for you?

Tom: They provided three services. We brought the idea, and we went through a process of asking, “What are we going to build?” We had a two week initial sprint where we defined the “what”. We decided on what we were going to do, and then they built a smartphone application for technology. They helped us pick out a hardware component, which you plug into the car to start the process. Our software solution requires you to plug in a hardware device, and they helped us develop the hardware interface. That’s separate and distinct from the code in the software. They also helped us build our website from a marketing perspective.

Todd: We had one hardware device we wanted to use, but we couldn’t get the supplier to not potentially steal all of our stuff. Modern Logic was very helpful because they were focused on the Bluetooth connectivity to the phone. We went through that evaluation and they helped us pin down the most capable and reliable suppliers.

Tom: Andy Rahn, who led up the work on the hardware component, did an extraordinary job working with us. We were trying to fit square pegs into round holes in our initial solution. Andy helped us let go of our first idea and strategize to get to the final solution. That was a differentiator for us.

They really helped us troubleshoot our way through. We could have made the decision to have a hardware component or not, but we thought there was a strategic advantage to having a hardware component. Getting that to work was really important. If we had to give up and not use the hardware, that would have put us at a long-term disadvantage. If you have the hardware component, you can sell it as a tool. Otherwise, you’re just pointing at the phone. With a tool, you can hold it in your hand and it works. One of the reasons mechanics like working on cars is that they’re not afraid to put their hand on a tool and use it.