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Why Viirt left Omaha

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Mandy Gray, President of Viirt, and Josh Davis, CEO. Photo credit: Mandy Gray.

On September 7th, the up and coming roofing startup Viirt said goodbye to Omaha and moved their team of three to the Pacific Northwest. Viirt graduated from the Omaha based Straight Shot accelerator program in 2014 and has been growing in leaps and bounds ever since. In March 2015 they announced a raise of $900,000 with Dundee Venture Capital. SPN asked Viirt president and Omaha native Mandy Gray a few questions about the move.

SPN: Now that you have officially announced the move to the Pacific Northwest, how are you feeling? Confident?

MG: Moving to Portland is definitely bittersweet, for all of us, for several different reasons. While Josh [CEO of Viirt] is from the Pacific Northwest, he has had roots tied to the Midwest for nearly 5 years now. The memories and relationships created through graduating Straight Shot, and the growth and development the city has offered to all of us has been phenomenal.

For me, growing up in Omaha and returning just two years ago, I know I will have “Homaha” withdrawals. With Portland/Vancouver as our largest market and the ideal test marketplace for our company, the decision to leave was intentional for business growth. We are confident it is the right decision for the company, but mentally preparing to leave Omaha has been tough.

SPN: What factors played into your decision to move?

MG: The factors that played into the decision were all based on preparing to grow the company. I think it was becoming tough for all of us to travel back and forth, hire and interview (sometimes virtually) and feel like we had “boots on the ground” in our busiest market. When it comes to roofing, the Pacific Northwest is an ideal marketplace – steady and not based on storm/insurance influence. With all of the factors combined, Josh and I agreed it was the right move for Viirt.

SPN: Can you comment on what working in Omaha has meant to the company?

MG: Working in Omaha has meant everything to us. The Exchange, AIM/SPN, Straight Shot, Dundee Venture Capital, the Omaha Chamber… we have been able to grow our company with the confidence to move today because of this great city, organizations and companies.

SPN: Will there be any contingency of the company left in Omaha? Will you still do business here?

MG: While we are booked with projects in Omaha through the end of 2015, we look forward to ramping up more jobs in Spring of 2016.

SPN:  Aside from moving, what does the future hold for Viirt?

MG: Disruption of the roofing industry – creating true craftsmanship to the evolving home services industry. We plan to continue to build our platform, tighten our processes, gain more market reach, and continue to do what we do best – save our homeowners both time and money on their roof replacements. #roofon

Mandy closed the interview with the following message for Omaha:

“Thank you, Omaha. We will meet again.”

Jake Hull is the Nebraska editor for Silicon Prairie News and a Community Builder for AIM in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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