Luis Trejo, CRO & co-founder of lienwaivers.io, was working as a controller for a regional construction firm in Sioux City when he noticed a need for a better lien waiver process.
“He came to me with a problem and originally we built a spreadsheet essentially that helped him generate lien waivers faster,” said Geoff Arnold, CEO & co-founder of lienwaivers.io.
Arnold said that filling out the lien waivers was taking up a lot of time for Trejo, and they soon found out that other construction firms in the area were having the same issue.
The team quit using spreadsheets around January of this year and founded lienwaivers.io in order to help solve this issue with a new platform.
Sean Richardson, CPO & co-founder of lienwaivers.io, had been involved in the startup scene since he graduated college and jumped at the chance to collaborate with Arnold and Trejo on a new startup idea.
“When Luis was telling me about the problem I knew there was a lot of room for technology solutions in the construction industry,” said Richardson.
How lienwaivers.io works
Lien waivers are legal receipts for payment exchanged between parties within a construction project.
“If a builder uses a roofer, that builder is paying the roofer,” said Arnold. “When that builder pays the roofer they receive a signed legal document called a lien waiver, which is an acknowledgement from the roofer that they were paid for the work they had done and they waive any lien rights to the property for that work.”
Arnold said that the lienwaivers.io platform integrates directly with Quickbooks, a software that many builders use for accounting purposes.
“We generate and distribute lien waivers in bulk,” said Arnold.
Arnold explained that even a modest-sized builder could be distributing anywhere from 25 to 150 lien waivers twice a month. Lienwaivers.io wants to make that process simpler.
“Generally, the builder will set up their payments and cut their checks directly in Quickbooks,” said Arnold. “Then that information is sent directly into our system, and our system takes the check information and generates lien waivers and distributes them for an electronic signature, or the builder can print out the generated lien waivers and distribute hard copies to their subcontractors.”
Arnold explained that as the documents are signed electronically, all that information including the signed document flows back into their dashboard.
“We provide a really cool dashboard that provides all sorts of interesting metrics while giving access to the signed lien waivers,” said Arnold. “You can also can see which lien waivers are still outstanding.”
Launching in private beta
The lienwaivers.io platform has been in private beta since February of this year.
“We’re working with a number of lenders and builders across the Midwest and on the West Coast currently,” said Arnold.
The team is working out of Springboard Coworking in Sioux City and was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
“We’ve been bootstrapped to this point, and as we continue to bootstrap our business the grant is really going to help us out,” said Richardson.
Aside from winning the grant money, the team said their biggest win so far has been putting the product in front of customers.
“We were walking them through the product and generated 36 lien waivers in seven minutes and the accountant sat back in her chair and said, ‘Wow, I just got my entire afternoon back,’” said Arnold. “That proved to me that we are providing real value in the space.”
The future of lienwaivers.io
The team will also be adding support for SAGE, a popular construction accounting software. They also plan to add payment support to the platform after they received feedback that customers now want to make their payment processes electronic.
Arnold explained that the updated platform will allow the customer to potentially manage all their invoices, set up what they want to pay their subcontractors, distribute lien waivers, pay subcontractors electronically and access all their other accounting information.
When asked about the future of the product and the industry, Arnold believes that all the data that can be collected with this software is one of the most valuable points of the technology.
“It may not be as sexy as building Pokemon Go, but if you really look at the construction technology landscape it’s the Wild West,” said Arnold. “A lot of people are working on different pieces of the puzzle, but I don’t think one person has found the one solution, so there’s great opportunity there.”
Melanie Lucks is a communications intern for Silicon Prairie News and AIM Careerlink.