The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

12. Building Bridgit with Co-founders Mallorie Brodie and Lauren Lake

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

If Bridgit rings a bell, you have probably read one of the many articles on the tech company’s rise on the Globe & Mail, BetaKit, Forbes, or the Financial Post; Two young female entrepreneurs, making waves in the construction industry.

In this episode of the Ivey Entrepreneur Podcast, Eric Janssen speaks to Mallorie Brodie, HBA ’13, and Lauren Lake, B.E.Sc '13, about their journey of discovering entrepreneurship, starting a company through Next36, raising money, the challenge of hiring, and pivoting to stay relevant in a competitive industry.

You're listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast from the Pierre L Morrisset Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Ivy Business School. In this series I be entrepreneur and Ivy Faculty member Eric Jansson, will anchor the session. Okay, here with Malory Brodie and Lauren Lake from bridget thanks so much for making the time. I appreciate you coming in. Thanks for having us. Yeah, of course I have a lot to cover with you. You've had a really well documented story in the media, starting is to student almost entrepreneurs. But I want to rewind way back to the beginning, when you started your entrepreneurial journey, and maybe even before that. was there someone in either of your families that sort of encouraged you to be an entrepreneur or was an entrepreneur and you thought that's looks like something that I might be interested in doing? Where did this all get started? So for me, I was studying in civil engineering and I never really saw a path and entrepreneurship for myself, even though I did have family members who were very entrepreneurial. I just didn't really see that that was what I was going to do. I think because I wasn't in business school. I didn't feel like I had the skill set and so when I came across an entrepreneurship program towards the end of university I was really excited. I think I was always intrigued to start my own business but just didn't feel like I had that foundation, and so applying to the program was kind of my way to get to know more about what that would look like. But it wasn't something that, growing up, I really thought I would be in. So you was it a program at the university that you're at, or where was the program? It was the next thirty six. It's called next Canada now and that's how Malory and I actually first met. We didn't know each other at the time, even though we were both studying at Western. I was in engineering and Malory was at IV. So we had never cross pass until independently applying to the same program and finding out we're at the same school. So how did you next? That's not like a dip your toe in the water. Next thirty six is a pretty serious program. How did you that's a pretty big commitment to make not really knowing if entrepreneurship was for you. I think I knew deep down that I was, it was something I was really interested in and I think if I really were to think hard on it, I think I was always like throughout university, getting more and more interested, but just feeling like it was an unknown to me. And so I was more than happy to make the commitment to the program and I was like very confident in doing that. I just felt like that was a more secure way for me to kind of get into it, versus Malory, who had been kind of doing entrepreneurial initiatives like for some time before applying to the program. Cool. So then, Malory, I know you and I had met years ago. Where did you get started? Would and would encourage you to sign up for next thirty six. So I always had, you know, been starting clubs at in high school and starting different initiatives, but I never put the term entrepreneurship on it. And it was actually upon applying to Ivy and Western that I got this scholarship from IV for the Pre Acceptance Program. Just saying that. You know, if you decide to go to ivy and you'll enter the entrepreneurship certificate program, then you get this scholarship and it's for the entrepreneurial success you've had today and I was like, did they send this to the wrong person, because I haven't started a business, and it was I guess through all the clubs and everything that I had started in high school that they recognize the same sort of characteristics as as being an entrepreneur and starting an actual business, and so that was the first time that it occurred to me that this actually could be a feas of feasible path upon graduation. And so I started my first company, Start Gallery, which is something that you mentored me on. I remember panicking over how to register a company and you said just Google it and pay the eighty bucks and you're done. It will be much harder after that. So that was kind of the first step in that business ultimately was not successful, but I knew that. You know, I really enjoyed the experience of starting that company and it encouraged me to apply for the next thirty six so I could get a little bit more formal training around it, a little bit of funding, hopefully if the company got off the ground, and that was sort of my way of legitimizing starting a company...

...and not going the typical career path after graduation. Cool. So next thirty six to soon. A nutshell, what is that program for people that are familiar with it? So, basically, they take, at least in our year they took seventy two students from across Canada. After they had applied for an application, they brought you in for a finalist weekend. Then picked thirty six and split that group into three teams of twelve, and from there you essentially had the first night and then ultimately the the entire nine months to come up with a business idea, you know, hopefully find investors for the business, if that's the path you wanted to go down, and launch your company. So for us, we were entering without an idea, without any money to start the business with and without a business partner, and we got all of that through the program needs. So they took you through the process of like ideation, validation, how would you potentially pitch this or sell this, like the whole process, and that's where so you two met. There you were paired up on a team of twelve. It was twelve teams of three, twelve teams of three. It's a twelve is a big team. So because twelve twelve teams of three. We always say that Lauren's here to kind of quality check me. So I come up with ideas and then lauren fixes all the ideas. So pretty for here to quality fame, check, case and point. Yeah, so we were randomly put on the same team and so it's just an odd coincidence that, like, we really were aligned from day one. We had really complementary skill sets. We had this great chemistry. That just happened and I don't think that's very common, but for us it just ended up working out that way. And then we ended up there were three people on our team and we didn't really have the same vision. Mallory and I were very aligned from day one and our third team member just had a different kind of end goal in mind, and so we ended up splitting kind of early on and continuing on just the two of us. Got It. So you you arrived at the construction industry, you cause I understand both of your families have sort of a background in it. Right, YEP, so my grandfather had a demolition company, great grandfather to Steal Company, and Lauren's family, her grandfather as well, had a specialty trade contractor. So we both grew up at least knowing about the industry, and then Lauren had some on site experience as well as the the degree in civil engineering. Got It cool. So you understood the little bit about the industry. How did the initial idea, though, come to be? What did you how do you figure it out? Yeah, so I'd spent a little bit of time on site, like literally just as a coop student, and so I had just seen kind of how the site operated. I spent time working with different sites and just understanding that there was very little technology that was being used. So when Mallory and I started talking, that's kind of where the conversation started. was just around. You know, isn't it odd that everybody has, you know, a cell phone, smartphone with them at all times, yet everyone's using pen and paper on site and it was really just quick Google searches. At that point we've realized we had this shared family background that was interesting and we started calling all of the friends and family we could just asking them what their experience in the industry was. So just trying to reach out to people we knew had some construction experience and asking them what they felt the challenges were. And so that's what led us to our very first concept, which we just came up with kind of that first day in the program, which was around a mobile APP for construction teams to do daily logs. It wasn't what we ended up pursuing, but it got us on that path of kind of thinking about mobile technology and why it wasn't being used on the job site at that time. But it was really just through talking to people who were in the industry and trying to get their perspective. So that was like literally day one. You came up with that idea and next thirty six. That was day one. That was the first night of the program. They kind of put this time pressure on you to come up with your first idea that night and present it the next morning. So we had a few hours to kind of get that together. So that was the very first concept. We came up with a name, bridget, that night as well. We pitched it the next morning. We had overall like good feedback, but the one thing that came up, because people in the audience were not from construction,...

...they felt like it was an unrealistic idea. They kind of said this is good in theory, but you're never going to get construction teams to use technology on site. It's just too old school. It's not going to happen, and so that's what led us to doing our true on site research that lasted the next six months, where we just drove around to construction sites and talk to people and tried to get their perspective and their understanding and realize that that really wasn't true. People on site really wanted to leverage technology. They just didn't feel like they had the tools that they needed. So I'd love to go into some detail here and how you got that feedback, because I often get the question like I have this idea for an APP. Where should I go get it developed? And so you said you had the idea. Initially got some feedback from the judges. It sounds like in the next thirty six that were like maybe not going to work in the industry. You can going anyway. And then what did you show up on site with? Just talking? Did you donuts? DONNUT's, okay, so we have food, okay. So how did that go like? What would your first meeting go like to get feedback on site for this idea? Yeah, so we got back to the Western campus and it was actually when the new IV building was under construction and just to block away from where Lauren was living at the time. So we basically walked on the site with coffee and doughnuts and we said, Hey, can we have ten minutes of your time? We're students, were doing research on a project, and they said okay, sure, sounds good. We have five, five or ten minutes for you, and we just started asking, you know, what's challenging for you on site, what's frustrating, what takes too much time, what costs a lot of money? And that was sort of the first of many, many interviews that we did and the IVY building. We actually ended up shadowing them many, many mornings on site, so we would just come back and follow them around, watch what they were doing, you know, look at kind of all the paperwork they had on their site office, and it was this site that was the first one that talked to us about the punch list management process or deficiency management, and that's kind of what prompted us to actually start designing the APP and what it should look like and how it should work. Cool. So they literally like just let you foollow them around and watch them and see how they put information in their computers or not? Or not computers? Yeah, and I think the reason they like allowed us to keep coming back was because every time we came back we had donuts and coffee, but we also had made progress, and so they I think it builds confidence that we are serious about this and we really wanted to launch something. So they weren't just wasting their time, they were actually going to get the solution they have been looking for out of, you know, giving us some of their time up front. So Day one you show up with doing it, some coffee and some ideas. As it progress, what were you bringing back to them to show them that you were making progress? Yes, we ended up doing that over five hundred times over those six months. I've hundred meetings, I've hundred yes, wow, and that was because we are also just really understanding the industry at this point. So it was a lot of groundwork, kind of research to begin with and then trying to understand what all the different challenges were and figuring out where our focus point was going to be. But we kept coming back with kind of the next iteration of our product. And so as we like a like an actual APP or like no screenshots, like what did you it was not a real APP because neither of us are software engineers and either of US could actually code the APP, which was very frustrating, but it forced us to really be diligent in that research process. So what we ended up doing was it started off as just hand drawn kind of screenshots in a notebook and just bringing that to the site and saying, you know, how would this work? You Click on this button and we would flip the page and you know, this is what you see now and you take a picture, flip the page, and so we went from that to kind of building out more, you know, just powerpoint slides with what the APP would look like. We had different sites kind of trial different APPS that had components that we thought would be useful in our product to try and figure out, is this actually useful feature for you? Is it worth US building something like this, or does it not add value? So we had one concept early on where we thought it would be helpful for people on site to take photos and then be able to mark them up and add text and you know, you know...

...hand circles or arrows, and so we downloaded a free APP onto a bunch of people's phones and we said use this for the next, you know week. Will come back in a week from now and we're going to see what you've done. And so we go back to the site that was actually this site. We came back a week later and they were like this is amazing. We've taken so many photos. We sent these pictures to our electrician and they knew exactly what we were talking about. We added the measurements on to this and so we were like, okay, perfect, we're going to add this same feature and to our product. But we didn't need to build that to test it. So we did a bunch of things like that just to kind of validate whether or not things would be valuable to them, but in a way that was free and did require any coding from us. So that happened over and over again, and the sites were very willing to be part of that because they wanted to be part of the process. I think it was exciting for a lot of sites to have their say when it came to technology. We had another site that allowed us to come back every Thursday morning and sit in on their job site meetings. So we just got to hear, kind of be fly on the walls and just hear what everyone was saying with the arguments were just get a better feel for the challenges on site. That's neat to a lot of students. As part of the program we have this new venture project and the new venture project, a lot of these customers surveys are typically like survey two hundred people and give you this like super high level data. Sounds like you, over time went to had five hundred separate meetings, but you went super deep with a couple people and like really daytoday, understood how they were using things today and piloted things super cheaply. So you went really deep rather than superbroad. I remember like doing some of those surveys and everything when I would have done the new venture project, and I definitely always saw it as being like a burden in a way, and I'm like, Oh, the step we have to do before we complete the rest of the project. We must do these yeah, we must do these survey interviews and I think for some reason, when like you're literally about to spend money on this thing, you want to make sure you're spending money on the right thing and you're not going to have to do rework down the road. It was like the only way and so even now, when we're thinking about product development and we're a forty five person company now, we don't have these debates in the board room about what we should build. We go out and we talk to the customers, because they are ultimately the ones who can best describe what their pain points are. So I think it's it's when you're really about to actually invest in something, making sure that you're genuinely interested and curious about what your customers pain points may be, as opposed to seeing it as the step that you just have to do to check off a box. Yeah, and we started really open ended. So it wasn't it wasn't from day one like we were doing these really focused survey days. It was very broad questions, like what Malory said, you know what's the biggest frustration in your day, and every interview would go a different direction and it was challenging at that time to figure out what the focus point for us should be, because there were endless opportunities we found within the construction industry and so we had to be really careful that we weren't trying to go too wide too quickly. We knew that it was just the two of us. We had limited money at that time, so we really wanted to pick something super focused and do a good job of that before just trying to do everything. All right, yeah, it's it's interesting and you and the fact that you used other apps that had features similar to the ones that you wanted and actually had them try those out first is really smart. That's smart. Okay. So then eventually you get to a point where you have an idea of what they want, you arrive, after hundreds and hundreds of meetings, at a solution that you think is good. Then what? How did you get this thing built? So by it then we're at probably month five or six and the next thirty six, and so we had a little bit of funding through through the program so probably Twentyzero or thirty thousand dollars. And so what we decide to do is hire coop students from the University of Waterloo and we hired two first year students and we essentially said, okay, here's what this looks like. In addition to the students, we hired someone that was an experience product manager on contracts...

...of just to literally put in a couple hours a week to help us manage those developers and the goal was to get a product out the door by the end of the summer. So you know, a few months later, and we did it somehow, some way with first year engineering students and that able. That enabled us to raise a two hundred and fifty thousand dollar round of Angel Financing, get our first couple of customers paying to do the Beta test, and really that sort of where things really started to become very real for bridget. And did you those early customers? Were they some of the people that you originally were meeting with to develop it with? So this yeah, so the specific first customer was not one of our research contacts, but many of those research contacts did turn into customers, and I think that's another reason why that the research is valuable, is because it essentially becomes your sales pipeline when you actually launch the product. So all of a sudden you have five hundred people that have been engaged in this process that could become your customer very quickly, as opposed to starting just from scratch. So yeah, a bunch of them did become customers. Do you remember who was the first customer? Yes, we remember it very well. They're still a customer today. I was a large general contractor just north of Toronto and we pretty much started our sales process by just having a list of the largest GC's in the Toronto area and just starting to send cold emails out. It was a you to sending the yeah was us. So we kind of divided the list. We start emailing people saying we have this new product. Would you be free to meet so we can show it to you? And at least, I don't know about Malory, but at least I don't think I was prepared to get a response back. I think I just thought, okay, we'll keep sending these emails and see what happens. And you know, a couple hours later we get a reply from the president of one of the largest GC's in the Toronto area saying, you know, sure, come by my office on Friday. And so that was when we had to start thinking about, you know, what are we going to charge for this product? What what does the actual out about that? What does the actual sale look like? But that became that company became our first customer and then that kind of triggered us closing the next ten Beta customers and using that to get our first kind of set of real on site feedback. Cool. So sales for a second. The sounds like very product focused in the beginning for both of you. Then you were like, great, we have a product, we have something to sell. Let's just I don't know, who should we I guess you would have developed it with General Contractors, right. So you knew you knew who it was for in the pain that you were solving. Yeah, so you had a pretty narrow idea, like what did you categorize by? Geography, because you wanted to serve, be able to service them in your area. But then size, like how did you figure out that initial list? We just contacted contractors that were the same size of companies we did research with identified this as being a problem, basically. So we knew right away we were selling to general contractors and subcontractors would use the APP, but they wouldn't be the customer. So all of that had been really just become quite obvious through the research process. And did you learn about the how they were going to buy this from that process as well? Like that came more through the actual sales meetings that we ended up having and it was really just a lot of trial and error. So testing out different pricing models, kind of along the way and we went through three or four different pricing models on that first product before arriving at kind of the final model that we found really worked. But it really was, yeah, just trying different things, trying to understand what the friction points would be for the customer during that sales process and understanding if the pricing was part of that. There wasn't really any science to it at that point and yeah, I was kind of, bit by bit, tweaking that and trying to understand how much value are we actually adding to the site? And then, you know, what somebody willing to pay and how do we make sure that that's captured and how we price this? Malory, you didn't come to her rescue as the business school student and say like, like business plan one hundred and one, like pricing, promotion, how are we going to...

...sell this? I always learned by doing, and so there was I had a lot of I'd say known unknowns coming into coming out of coming out of school, where, like I knew accounting was a thing or I knew marketing was a thing and the details of those things, but I didn't know like in depth how to necessarily go about them in the real world. So I knew that like we should be, you know, hiring a bookkeeper or that we should be putting together a marketing plan. But then when it came to the meat of those actual plans, we definitely just had to test a lot of things in mark it, because you learn about all these different tactics but you don't actually know what's going to resonate with your customers. So, for instance, like our customers aren't buying from seeing, you know, instagram pictures. So social was not going to be a channel that we would sell through. So we had to like really learn that through our own process. So I don't know how much my business background I think it helped, hopefully. Then we also made the decision to charge for those Beta testing customers. Like at the last minute, going into that meeting, we thought we were going to give the Beta version out for free in order to get lots of Beta customers, and it was like, I think, hours before the meeting happened, that we just kind of looked at each other and said, does this make sense, like are we going to learn anything if we give this away for free? You know, anyone will take something for free, even if it's just to be polite, and so we kind of said, even if somebody doesn't pay much money for this, it's better for them to pay something and at least we validate that they're willing to write a check and go through that that process. And so it was a very last minute decision to like actually try to get some money for it versus going the free route, and so that was kind of what sparked, like okay, well, if we're going to charge something, then what should that be? The APP was also so buggy at that time. It was it didn't have any design elements to it, like it was very rough, and so also trying to understand, you know, maybe in the future we can charge on this more sophisticated pricing model at this higher price point, but what would somebody actually pay for like this very or Relie version? Yeah, Yours. I mean you're it's funny, but you're really smart to go about it that way. You know, so many people spend time on what I called playing business, like tweak your logo, make sure your website's perfect. We need we need well published case studies. Maybe we should work on some PR perfect financial model. Yeah, like let's tweak the financial model a little bit more. Oh, like should we price it like this? For like that? You were just like look, we have a product, let's just start sending emails. Do you have a website? Like where they acted? Could they see a website that you maybe like a lot of rock, like landing something? Yeah, yeah, something. I think we would send like some different screenshots or we had like a bit of a one pager one pager that we would send. But I think that was one of the things coming out of engineering that kind of scared me away from this entrepreneurial Dream I had in the back of my head and I kind of kept forcing myself to just forget about it because I felt like like I didn't have kind of all of those, I guess, key foundation kind of pieces, and I think getting into it I realized, like those are all great things that Malory had through Ivy, but at the end of the day was just a lot of trial and error, and so we didn't at that point, like there wasn't any perfect pricing model we were going to come up with because we didn't know yet what someone was willing to pay for the product, and so we could have debated all we wanted over like the best way to do that. But at the end of the day we just had to go and say a number and see if the person, you know, if the company, laugh left at it or if they thought it was crazy expensive. Yeah, it's interesting. There's a think it's Marief four Leo, who says everything is figure outable, just like you know, we're just going to start doing things and yeah, it's probably a bunch of things that we should figure out, but we'll just figure that out when we need to. Yep, okay. So then you get your first few customers. You went on to be so you did part of your part of the creative destruction lab and after that ended up raising a pretty big seed round. So you raised a couple hundred grand out of next thirty six and then did a proper...

...seat of two point two million. Yep. So in total we've done about eleven million dollars of fundraising on the equity side and two point two was the seed six point seven and a quarter, roughly, was the series a, and then we did a bunch of kind of convertible notes and Angel Rounds in between. But the creative destruction lab, I think the biggest thing that generated interest in that round was there as one individual who had run a construction company and in front of the full room of all the MBA students, all the investors, you know, all the advisors as part of the program said that this was the biggest pain point he experienced throughout his entire career in the industry and he had sold his business. So he put his hand up to invest and then of course ten other people did as well, and that really prompted kind of that fundraising from that program. So two point two in the bank. So people often look at once you raise money is like great, now we've got money, we can relax a little bit. So you'd raise a couple hundred grand and you raised two point two and then you put to the beach. I'm sure right whatever would happen if to you raise the two and a half? I think the thing people forget about when they raise money is, you know, you think all your problems have been solved, but now you have investors that are expecting you to hit the next set of milestone. So it actually becomes in a lot of ways, more stressful and there's more pressure once you have people that have decided to back you. Because we wanted to make sure that we, you know, absolutely not only got them their money back but also a nice, healthy return on that investment. So we were always planning, you know, in parallel to actually the fund raising, you know, the second that money was in the bank, what were all the things we were going to execute on. Who Do we need to hire? So who should we be interviewing today so we're ready to hire them the second we did have the money, and just making sure everything was perfectly planned so we could act very quickly, because there's also this big you can't wait to ramp up because you only have limited time before the next random financing. So you need to make sure that you can actually start showing results quickly with that funding, as opposed to waiting to, you know, six months before you're out of cash, increasing your spend and not having time to show the results. So being able to just react very quickly after the round, I think was critical and I think we always did a good job at that. It's interesting. That's that balancing act you almost need. To your point, on the hiring side, you need to build the talent pipeline, so get the people ready so that when the money's in the bank, you control the trigger on the higher right away, versus great, now we've got money and now we should say about by yeah, and you've done nothing. So so the demands, the pressure went up with the two point two, but there's some period of time between the two point two and you had just under a year ago raised your last six or seven right. So when did you raise the two and a half? And then how much time was between that and your most recent rays? The two and a half would have been twenty one thousand sixteen seventeen those two or three years. Sixteen to sixteen. Okay. So during that time we were growing our first product, bridget field, and then the series a was really raised around our new product launch, and that just launched about six months ago and that's bridget bench. And so when we raised the series a we were still in the research and early phases of the second product, but we were able to generate a lot of excitement around what that product would be and we had done kind of that same research process all over again with the new product. And then raise that money, use that money to accelerate the development of bridget bench and launched that June of this year. Cool, when you raise the two point two. So now there's big demands to prove out whatever you had started. How did you go about growing? So one major thing was we invested in the product and development team. And you know, I think the obvious thing sometimes as Oh, you want to go revenue, hire more sales reps. but what we were finding was that if we could just increase the conversion rate of the deals that our sales reps were working on, of their pipeline, then we didn't necessarily need more rep so we're looking at, you know, what would get them to get a yes from a customer. You know, five out of ten people they talked to versus two out of every ten they talked to. And a lot...

...of that came to different features that customers felt like the product was missing. So we really invested a lot in design and development to be able to add different features and use cases to the product and that made it easier for the same size sales team to sell more deals. Essentially, I'm interested in digging into that in my time here at IV to try to figure out the balance between early sales people like just shut up and sell what we have. No, we don't need more building, more stuff, like just sell the stuff we have versus listening to customers and building in those new features. So the WHO were your first salespeople and did you have a product person that they worked with? How did you manage that? Our first sales people were really just us, before we even hired a sales team. We kind of mimicked what we thought the sales process would look like by the two of US playing different roles. So initially mallory kind of played the role of being the we help them business development reps, but kind of the top of funnel person. So Malory was looking to book meetings and just trying to get kind of that pipeline generated, and then she would pass those meetings off to me and I would kind of act as the account executive, talk about pricing, demo the product and close the deal. And so we did that for a while to try and figure out does that flow actually work, does it work for our customers, and is this something that we feel like could be, you know, repeated by a sales team? And so once we had proven that out with the two of us, then we started to hire very junior sales team members at that point. But it's always been a balance of, you know, trying to sell what we have today, but also understanding that our product is never done and it's it's always been, you know, a work in progress and in development. So we really rely on the sales team to like, yes, so what we have today and make sure that, you know, given the product today, the customer can be successful with it, but also using that as an opportunity to get feedback and use that to pass onto the product teams that were building the right features going forward. So you first replace the top of funnel. You stayed on as the yeah, we both would just then be the accounting sex essentially, and then eventually we hired account exists to back Fille what we had been doing, and I mean even to the state, like we both do some sales based on certain relationships we have in the industry. So I don't know that that ever totally stops, but there's a sales team to kind of support the actual revenue forecast that we that we have in place. Got It. So then the big, I guess the big change lately has been the launch, the full launch of the new product. So why the change? Why the change from what you had in the beginning to the new product that is going really well today. Yeah, there was always a lot of like really positive feedback we got on the first product, bridget field, from our customers and the industry loved it. It was new for the industry, so all of that was great. I feel like we did a good job with that. But there's two changes. One was that it started becoming much more competitive. So there was companies in the US that had significantly more funding that we're also starting to compete in the same space. So I was the first thing. And the second thing was over time we realized it didn't have a recurring revenue model. So we'd sell on a per project basis, which meant that, you know, twelve eighteen months later, you're losing that revenue. And when it comes to the world of Tech, company valuations are very much based on how recurring your revenue is, just because it ends up being less expensive for the business over time. So we felt like, you know, in order to really give our investors the best return possible, we needed a business model that was going to be recurring. So we went out to the industry, did the exact same research process again, just didn't need to talk to as many people, and we're looking for a product that we could sell on that recurring business model at the enterprise level. So we did that. We kind of checked off the boxes of the things we're the objectives we had set for the second product. Launched it and it's performed exactly as we anticipated. Cool. So the first one, could you have just change the pricing model on it, or was it was the...

...way that the product or service was packaged that you could never turn into a recurring even new type thing? So we did try multiple times to turn it into more of a recurring model and that was always the intent. We thought that as we signed on more projects we would be able to convert those customers from paying on a per project basis to paying for a kind of a company wide license that would be, you know, recurring and annual. And we just found that the customer didn't want to buy that way because we were selling a you know site solution, of field based solution. It really only delivered value while that project was under construction and it was something that would happen differently on every single site and so for the most part the contractors wanted to pass that cost off and, you know, have that part of the project budget versus part of their overhead expense. So for them to buy it at the corporate level just really didn't make sense to them. Even if a company would mandate our tool in their company, they would still ask for every site to pay for it and work it into their budget separately, depending on kind of how that project was operating. So it just didn't end up being something the customer was interested in doing. Even if they could save a bit of money, even if we discounted the price, they still wanted to split that up across their projects. So we were able to kind of do a couple things. We're able to get project commitments from people, so we could get, you know, a year's worth of projects committed ahead of time and things like that. That helped somewhat and we did get a few enterprise deals from certain customers, but it wasn't it wasn't going to convert magically to being that unless we found a product that added value at the corporate level and not just at the field level. Got It. So the and think I understand that. So the new product is not just something that the people on site would use to distribute the work or monitor of the work. The new one is tackling like they're using it in corporate office to Talocid resources. Yeah, yeah, so it's a workforce planning tool, bridget bench, and it's used by the operations team in the office to manage all of their people and all of their projects. So it doesn't matter what stage each of those projects is at, they're always planning their resources and it's that's happening on an ongoing basis. So for them to pay for that at the kind of enterprise level just makes a lot of sense, and so that's something that we wanted to ensure that we weren't selling at the site level anymore. Did you have to change your sales strategy. Don't like reselling two different people or only after different budget then. So we really encourage the sales team to kind of think about, you know, what are all the things that didn't work on the first product and be open to the fact that maybe they will work on this second product, just so we weren't, you know, taking certain behaviors and in assuming that the same would be true on this new product. But it ended up actually being incredibly similar. So we were often talking to a VP of operations at a construction company regardless. So the persona is more or less the same. The user was different, but that's okay because we were selling still to almost the same person and the same sales reps could sell both products. So there wasn't actually any major structural changes we had to make internally, as basically our team just moving over their focus to the new product. It's cool. So reflecting that now. So you're how many years in? Almost seven, almost December, seventeen. That is our seventh thing and every happy upcoming anniversary. There's something that we never let our kids off the hook with saying like whether their day was good or bad. We always ask them best parts in worse parts. So would have been the best parts of the journey so far and would have been the call them worst parts are parts that you maybe don't want to repeat again. Best Parts, worst parts, a couple best parts. So I think, like our business, partnership has been incredible and I think that's something that's really difficult with a lot of businesses. If the partners aren't getting along, then everything suffers because of it. But we've always just been, you know, I think, very aligned and what we were looking to accomplish with the business and really good at working together. We both definitely are appreciative...

...of the different skills that we bring to the table. So that's definitely been one of the best parts. And the other one I would add to that and I'm just going to leave the worst parts to you. So the other best part, I would say, is just I think we've become incredibly confident over time that no matter what challenge we come across of the business, we will be able to solve it. And we don't know what those things will be necessarily, but we know that we'll figure it out and I think our team as a whole feels that because the team has been through challenges together and I think that's something that's just going to be incredibly valuable going forward in our careers, whether it's starting another business at some point or, you know, getting a job at some point, I don't know. But yeah, I think that's something that we both really value. So, before Lauren, as the pleasure of doing the worst parts, what do you to do to work on that relationship? I've had other founders at the same time on the podcast and they do little things that they do to keep each other in check. So do you have any regular things that you do together? I think early on. We if there was anything that we felt like there's any tension over, it was just because no one was accountable for that part of the business yet, because there's literally new departments emerging as the company grew and we're like, Oh, wait, which one of us is doing marketing again? So I think just making sure that the division of Accountabilities is very clear make sure that there's no confusion about, you know, who should be working on what part of the business. That was one thing that we definitely did. Yeah, and now like we try to have lunch together whatever we're both in the same place and I think that's just become kind of habitual maybe for us and it gives us an opportunity out of the office to just catch up on what's going on and I think that just keeps like each other kind of in the loop and that's kind of sometimes where our best ideas come from, is just being able to brainstorm, being able to just kind of chat and figure out what the next plan is. So I think we just yeah, we spend a lot of time together. We joke that we're telepathic and we always kind of know what's what's going on, and so I think just staying like open with that and not kind of letting each other kind of get on a different page. Cool, Lauren. Worst Parts? Worst Parts? I mean they're there's Pacific things, like decisions that maybe we would go back and make differently, but I wouldn't say that those were necessarily the worst parts by any means, because we were learning and usually the decision we made was the right decision at the time. We just didn't have all of the information and so in hindsight it's easy to say we would have done something differently. So I wouldn't say that there's any decision that was necessarily like the worst part. I would say for me, Malory, I guess you can say if you agree. I think the hardest part. Maybe it's not the worst part, but the hardest part is just how, like taxing, it is energy wise to have your own business and it never goes away, and so I think in the beginning at least, I felt like, okay, we're just going to work super hard for another six months and then it'll get easier and then I can kind of take a break and it will be fine. Or you know, this won't last forever, so like just push through now and you'll kind of get to the other side and it just doesn't really work that way. There's always a new stresser, there's a new problem, and so just being able to figure out how to deal with that as just an ongoing thing versus thinking that it's magically going to go away some day. And I think we've gotten better at that. I think you get also just used to having kind of that pressure on you at all times, but definitely being able to take a step back when we can and kind of try to forget about some of that stuff temporarily is definitely important, because otherwise it doesn't like it really does take a toll find like on these podcasts and, I don't know, own business books and blogs, you talk a lot about the company, but a lot of the people like how are you versus? How is the company? Or if you ask how how are things going, the default answer is always what the company's going well, like they'll hold on. What about you? So what do you do to keep saying like what do you have your own I don't know, Meditation, exercise, travel, whatever. What are the things that you do to keep you good? Yeah, I think we both kind...

...of do different things. I have a family now, so that's different. I think before I use I definitely used exercise as kind of a way to like clear my head, and now like I should still be doing that, but it's harder. I have a two year old, so just the time is sometimes harder to find. But I think just being able to kind of like be at the Office for me and put my effort in then and kind of switch off in the evenings is kind of how I get a bit of a break and then also just trying to focus on kind of the other aspects in life, take time off, spend weekends, you know, with family or friends and not, you know, always, you know, worrying about the next thing in the business and not feeling guilty about that. I think we've realized that it really is a marathon, so you have to pace yourself or you're not going to like endure it. So yeah, it's I think it's changed over time, but I think for me, just like feeling like the business is moving forward and feeling like I'm adding value to it. I don't mind putting in the effort. I think the Times where it's more deenergizing, as when you feel like there's challenges that are much deeper and harder to solve, and so you feel like you're spinning your wheels and that's when, definitely for me, I feel more of that like burnt out feeling versus just being tired from having put in a good effort, which is a more productive feeling better tired feeling. Mallie, what do you do? I would say just not traveling for a few weeks is definitely a really helpful way to just unwind a little bit. So when you're kind of going from place to place to place, and that's exciting, there's, you know, really interesting meetings happening, but you're like literally living out of a suitcase and then, you know, you get into this habit where there's like six bags you haven't unpacked and then all of a sudden you're like, okay, time for a laundry. So as soon as I can just have a stretch at home to sort of get things reorganized again, that's always really nice. I probably used to not exercise as much and I've gotten more into exercising recently and definitely like crave it when I haven't had a chance to do it. But I'm like, every time I travel now, I like try and go to the hotel gym, and those are just new habits that I think over time, I've developed as a way to just make sure that, you know, we're boasting, healthy and everything in the last thing I would add is I think by having a good partnership it means that if Lauren goes on vacation, she's able to count on me and just completely disconnect for that vacation. Least I hope she feels that way, and the same goes for me that, you know, if I'm going away for a week somewhere, then I know that Lauren has everything covered and can truly take that time to just UNMIND as well. So that's why I'm good and we definitely like I can't imagine like running a business on my own because I think like having our partnership has been such a big part of what we've done and we really count on each other to like keep moving forward even in those really like kind of dark times. And so yeah, we count on each other to kind of like lift each other up if one person's having a bad day or there's been, you know, a decision that's you didn't go the way we wanted it to or whatever it is, and so I think we're able to keep each other kind of like looking forward even when it feels like everything's falling apart. That's great. Is there anything you wish you would have known earlier or say advice to your twenty something, your old cells? If you were just coming out of school and starting a cup of this company again, what would be the advice that you'd give yourselves? I think one sort of realization was that I think we were very hesitant and a lot of ways to ask for help early on because we're like, oh, we don't want to bother people or we don't want to take up their time. And then over time we've realized that people like really want you to be successful and they really want us to be successful and if they have the means to help you and your respectful of their time, then you know they're all in. And so I think if you can build those relationships over time, then just realizing that you know people around you actually really want you to do well and just, you know, leveraging that when possible as opposed...

...to thinking that, you know, you're always a burden to sort of advisors or whoever burdens that's helping you. So that's definitely something that we've realized and we definitely have a lot of great cheerleaders and that definitely keeps us going to so the community, the IB entrepreneur community in the podcast, is getting quite a good number of listeners now. So is there anything that the community can do for you, anything that you're working on that you need help with? On that? I don't know. Hiring Front fundraising, how can we help? Go ahead and start your own businesses, and that's definitely something we would love to see. We've been big promoters of women in business as well. So you know if there's anything we can do to help there, but that would be the thing that I think would make us the happiest. Or apply a bridget for a sales job that work to Hu start your own but if not, come work in bridget. Awesome. Well, I appreciate you making the time. It's been really good to hear a little more of the details of the early days story and congrats on the launch of the new product. It seems to be going really well and appreciate you taking the time. Thank you, thanks, thanks for having us. You've been listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast to ensure that you never miss an episode. Subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit IV DOT CE, a forward slash entrepreneurship. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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