What’s the inspiration behind BuildStream?
My dad ran a construction business. Ever since I was a kid, I saw how difficult it was to manage the quality of expensive products and services that were critical to delivering a project. There were always issues around supply chain, delivery deadlines, and keeping up with standards. I felt it was always more difficult than it needed to be and that these systems actually led to a lot of wasted time and capital.
In 2010, with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the world saw the consequences of running projects with poor supply chain quality. It could have been avoided! I realized that supply chain quality was an area where companies often fall short due to a reliance on paperwork and inspector approval. It's a global issue that I realized I could fix.
How does your background as an engineer impact your work at BuildStream?
Supply chain quality is especially important in engineering projects. There are often hundreds, or even thousands, of companies from all over the world involved in delivering a major project, such as a wind farm, power network, or product. Whether it’s a product manufacturer, fabrication company, developer or client, everyone has an interest in ensuring quality standards are met. I wanted to find a way to make it easy for these companies to work together without intermediary agencies. In a way, it was engineering a new process to execute these systems.
How has COVID-19 impacted your operations?
At the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of the projects slowed down their operations to figure out how to respond to the situation. Most of our projects are international, so we had to quickly learn the local rules and regulations, which added an extra layer of complexity.
That being said, overall, the pandemic has increased the sector's willingness to try a more digital approach to quality inspections. We've been able to use this to our advantage by running webinars and information sessions to reach more potential customers. We are positioning BuildStream to be at the forefront of innovation in the industry, and while we’re just getting started, we’ve been able to sign some large clients during this time. Of course, COVID-friendly procedures will remain in place, but hopefully this is helping to push the industry in the right direction for the long term.
How did you meet your co-founders? How do you work together?
The founding team has evolved over time and now includes two really close friends. One of them I know from university, and the other from right at the beginning of my career in the energy sector. It’s great to be working alongside people I’ve known for a long time and who I know share the same values and ambition.
How do you handle risk and competition?
We don’t focus too much on competition and we like to take big swings here at BuildStream. “Fall forward” is our mantra.
You may only get one chance and it’s important to make the most of the opportunities in front of you.
Have you learned anything new or surprising about yourself through this process?
Now that we’re limited in this area, I’ve learned how much I love to spend time around other people!
What’s your team culture like?
Open, fair and transparent. We like to make work fun and to socialize when we can.
What is your superpower?
Getting the team coffees and cake in.
What’s your kryptonite?
Too much cake.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Figure out your distribution strategy before you build anything.
This company has a potential to become a kind of "honeybook" of quality inspection. Saas on the Demand side ( companies/projects), marketplace on the supply side ( inspectors). Digital sourcing and scale are more simple due to industry standards and pre-qualifications. (not like recruiting a marketer or developer). It seems like a big enough opportunity approached by a team that was vetted and educated on building a company by YC.
The problem that BuildStream is solving seems so obvious if you think about it - why are we still relying on LinkedIn to source inspection? I like the traction and opportunity here to provide a sorely needed tool - seems like a no-brainer.
Supply chain inspection was something I had never heard of. So I wanted to invest and learn more!