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David has been a part of the residential and industrial construction industry since he was seventeen years old. After six years of working for contractors, he became self-employed and honed his skills and knowledge in one specific type of construction – roofing.
“In construction, you simply need a GST number to start running your business. Instead of working for a contractor, I picked up work wherever I wanted and worked all over Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Ontario. My early twenties consisted of this kind of work and travelling around the country. From 2010 to 2015, I familiarized myself with all types of construction. I decided that roofing was the one for me.”
Beginning of His RoofBundle Journey
Throughout his years in construction, one pain point constantly stood out to David.
“My primary job was to lead my guys and ensure that we had upcoming work. We completed roofing estimates on-site, created roof documents, and sent these quotes to our potential clients. Balancing all these things was difficult and I thought ‘there’s gotta be a faster way to be doing these quotes.’ It only takes us one or two days to do one of these jobs, yet we spend massive amounts of time doing quotes for customers and end up only selling 20% of these jobs.”
“Around late 2017 and early 2018, I did some exploratory things with Red River College and the ACE Project Space students to take a look at the feasibility of my business idea. That was where we first started going down this path.”
From a Simple Idea to a Full-Fledged Startup
Since that exploratory study, David went on his way to explore his solution to the industry pain point, with the support ofNorth Forge.
“Our goal was to have a mobile app for roofers to run their entire business. Our platform allows roofing contractors to input roof measurements into the app and our calculation engine in the app will create a set of documents, which includes the quote, a material list for the supplier, and work orders for the employees.
There are similar roofing-specific CRMs that allow you to take photos, and manage those files and their employees. What hadn’t yet been done, our competitive advantage is the ability to input measurements in a calculation engine that easily produces these important documents in a short amount of time.
We have two apps: RoofBundle, which will be available soon on the Apple App Store, and Construction Clock, which is currently available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Market. Our goal is to release the RoofBundle app by Spring 2022,” David explained.
Recent Pre-Seed Round
RoofBundle grew from a simple, innovative solution to an up-and-coming startup that recently closed their over $500K CAD pre-seed round led by Red Leaf Capital (oversubscribed). With the support of investors, RoofBundle’s total funding have reached the $600,000 mark.
“It felt surreal to hit that milestone! All our hard work is finally paying off. You climb to the top of the mountain, and now you’re standing there and it feels fantastic.”
This milestone is on par with their goal of reaching thousands of roofing contractors in North America. Their innovation solutions has caught the attention of key Canadian startup news & tech platforms like Betakit and Winnipeg Free Press. RoofBundle’s blossoming partnership with Red Leaf Capital also was a contributing factor to the creation of the new North Forge Venture Capital Clinic (VC Clinic).
North Forge Experience
“When I knew I wanted to take this idea to the next level, I simply Google searched startup incubators in Manitoba. North Forge stood out to me and was the strongest incubator that I found in our province,” David remembered.
“We founded the company in January 2021. Our first year feels like that picture that you see of an iceberg, where the little peak is showing above the surface and the bigger piece is underwater. People see the tiny, successful piece. But our team sees the bigger piece every day – we come to work and push this boulder uphill. Some days it beats us, and we might go down a little bit with setbacks and tons of failures. But you take all of that and choose either to fight through it or let it conquer you. We make progress and that’s the driving force for us every day! Miniscule progress helps push the whole company forward and it’s a pretty cool thing to see” shared David.
Challenges as an Entrepreneur
“I read a quote that said that every founder has to have an ego and to check it every single day. What I tell myself is to balance that ego with humility. That is 99% of the reason why many of my investors invested in me is because I’m coachable. Nobody wants to invest in a founder that won’t receive feedback well or doesn’t consider other people’s opinions,” David explained.
“Coming from construction, the early stages of ideation was rough. I worked a blue-collar job and had no leadership skills coming in. So, I had to learn and am still learning how to delegate, motivate, and inspire within a short period of time. It’s not a gift, it’s a skill that can be learned. I’ve gotten significantly better at doing that and that’s one of the big reasons why I’ve got my investors’ support.
After our raise, I went back to every investor and asked why they invested in me. They said that 90% of the reason was because of me, and the other 10% was because of the idea. When you go and pitch to somebody, the idea isn’t the gold nugget; it’s the person that’s doing it.
I often suffered self-doubt, that’s why you have your team and investors constantly propping you up. When you’re at your peak and somebody new comes in, they could be your next investor or the person who could take your idea to the next level. The founder needs to sell the idea and have conviction.
You can have the best ideas in the world, but if you can’t execute it and put it into action, you will fail. You have to find the team that could help you do that. That’s why you have to meet people constantly! The next person you talk to could be your next team member, customer that could use our product one day, or an investor. When I meet somebody, I’m always looking at it from that perspective.
Your startup’s story will change over time, and that’s okay! The story that I told to the first people about RoofBundle is very different from the story I tell now. We micro-pivot every day – be steadfast on the goal and mission of what you’re trying to do, but be flexible as well on your way to get there. We’ve gone through many pivots, but our goal of helping roofing contractors stays the same.”
Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
“Entrepreneurs are a very special species,” David said with a chuckle “You really have to have that risk tolerance and tenacity to make mistakes and progress every day. Founders have to have almost this unbelievable belief in what you’re doing and that nobody else can see but you. You’re not going to get a paycheck tomorrow, this isn’t a 9 AM to 5 PM job. This is a 24/7 job and you have to give it 150%. If you have a full-time job, expect that every minute outside of it is spent in your startup.
Come to North Forge and talk to the community – to the staff, the Founders, the employees of the startups – and see if this is what you want to do. I was too scared to talk to any Founders and didn’t talk to anybody when I did the tour. I wish I did, I would have gotten looped in here faster If I simply had those conversations.
I’ve had my office at 100 Innovation Drive (one of North Forge’s offices) for the past year now and about half my staff work here on a full time or hybrid basis. I have made 50% of all my connections by working at the office, with well over half of all my investors coming from those connections made there. If you are a founder looking for funding or networking, you should have your office here. Being surrounded by innovative entrepreneurs who are tackling different problems and exploring solutions will help you think outside the box. I don’t think nearly enough founders are taking advantage of this.”
Post Pre-Seed Round Reflection
“Now we’ve got an even bigger mountain to climb, which is the next stage. We have a lot of momentum behind us and I feel cautiously optimistic that if we were able to climb that mountain, we’ll be able to do the same for this one. We made it to our first “base camp”, and now we’re back to climbing up the next one – which is launching our apps and having them go to market. I feel really good about this.
I kept this [champagne cork] as a reminder of our pre-seed raise, a little memento of our milestone,” notes David as he grabbed the cork from his desk.
“As the Founder, I’m only the visionary. My team does all the production work and I just set the course now. It felt great to toast them, to collectively come together once and say ‘look, we made it to this base camp’. I was by myself in the far corner of the coworking space from December 2020 to April 2021, and now we have 14 people on our team! Andrea was the first person I hired back in April, almost a year ago now. We’re growing, and it’s exciting to see what’s next!”
Entrepreneurs like David started in the Pathfinder (ideation) stage of the North Forge programming and has grown tremendously with the help of our community.
Got a solution for a pain point in your industry? Join the North Forge Founders Program!
We would love to hear from you! Tell us about your idea (don’t worry if you don’t have the answers to all the questions yet), and our Programming Team will contact you to set up a meeting to chat about it.