In December 2015, SPN profiled Omaha-based Buildertrend, a SaaS platform company primarily serving the residential construction industry. A year later, the company continues on a high-growth trajectory.
“Our continued evolution as a company is a compelling story,” said Dan Houghton, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President. “We’ve grown dramatically over the past ten years. In fact, we’re outgrowing the building.”
The building Houghton referred to has been the company’s home for about two years. They plan to move into a new headquarters in the spring of 2017 that will quadruple their current square footage, driven by an aggressive hiring plan.
“We’re looking to hire at least 100 new people in the next twelve months,” Houghton said. “We want our story to be out there because we want to hire the best people in Lincoln and Omaha.”
Buildertrend now has more than 360,000 users, and their clients have completed $56 billion in projects with the help of project management, financial, customer management and other tools available through both mobile and desktop platforms.
“Even industries that may not appear to be tech savvy can be improved through smart business models and products that address pain points,” Houghton said. “There are a lot of software companies in the construction vertical, but they’re fragmented.”
Ahead of the curve
Buildertrend’s founding in 2006 predated the mobile revolution. But the company caught the wave early.
“The first few years we were ahead of the tech curve, but the market is catching up quite quickly,” Houghton said. “We bet on that market, that mobile devices can be the most important tool a contractor has.”
The platform provides contractors with the ability to do such things as take and annotate pictures, adjust project schedules on the fly, and communicate quickly with homeowners.
“Buildertrend is the most robust app in the marketplace for residential contractors,” Houghton said. “We believe that so much that we’ve made a big investment to purchase our new headquarters.”
Has Buildertrend considered moving to a larger market?
“A lot of people ask us from the outside why we don’t open an office in Denver or Austin or Silicon Valley,” Houghton said. “We believe the talent’s here through the University system, the Raikes School, Creighton. There’s pretty incredible talent we’re seeing in our own back yard.”
Houghton points to support in the community as a key factor in continuing to grow the company in Omaha.
“There is a reason the Chamber is a big proponent of ours,” he said. “We’re the kind of employer they like to see hiring 100 employees. It’s a fortunate position to be in, pretty cool to see.”
The fact that Buildertrend is choosing to maintain its roots in Nebraska represents an investment in both the community and the talent base.
“I think when you see a company like Buildertrend investing resources and assets like that, we’re betting on the tech community,” Houghton said. “There aren’t a lot of companies fortunate enough to be in a position to do that.”
One of the other companies that has been in a position to do that is Hudl. Houghton was asked if he sees Buildertrend on a similar path.
“We are on that same hockey stick growth trajectory,” he said. “There haven’t been that many home runs in Omaha, but it can be done the way we’ve done it (bootstrapping) or the way they’ve done it (capital raises).”
Houghton also sees the opportunity to grow other entrepreneurs within his company.
“A lot of people want to work at a tech company, but not all of them are able to start a company or be a first employee,” he said. “Maybe somebody working here now can do the same thing down the line.”
Rod Armstrong is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for AIM in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is a regular contributor to Silicon Prairie News.