Photo: Authority Magazine
Little more than seven years ago, Mallorie Brodie and Lauren Lake met at a young entrepreneurship program. The two women had very different academic backgrounds but had a shared dream—to establish a thriving business.
“We really had the same vision and the same goal,” explained Brodie. “We wanted to build a big business. We wanted to solve a real problem. We never looked at it as a project that we were going to be doing for a year or two. We always had this very long-term objective.”
Today, they’re the successful founders of Bridgit, a Waterloo, Ont.-based tech company and a Procore partner focused on developing mobile and web-based solutions for the construction industry. Specifically, their software helps contractors keep their projects and workforce better organized.
Brodie is now the chief executive officer of Bridgit, and Lake is the chief operating officer. They’ve won numerous entrepreneurial awards, including the top prize in the 2015 Google Demo Day being named Techvibes Entrepreneur of the Year. Their names were also on the 2019 Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30, and Best of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators list.
Breaking Down Bridgit
The women talked about their journey and entrepreneurial experience recently with Sanjeev Dhillon, field marketing manager at Procore, for a webinar that is now part of Procore’s How We Build Now series.
Brodie, who holds an honours degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business, and Lake, who holds a degree in civil structural engineering from Western University, chose construction because it was something they knew well. Both had grown up in families that were in the industry.
They felt technology could improve the industry. At first, they didn’t have a product. So they put boots to the ground and went to different jobsites to find out what could be done.
The reaction wasn’t positive. They were told that construction was not ready to adopt technology. However, with more research, Brodie and Lake found there was indeed a strong desire for a product that would help general contractors streamline task and inspection management workflows.
“We were just driving around, looking for construction sites, looking for people who would talk to us and share their perspective on challenges that they face every day,” Lake recalled. “Mallorie and I knew we weren’t going to come up with an idea, just the two of us talking to each other.
“We had to actually speak with people that were living the challenges of the construction industry day in and day out before we could really focus in on what product we were going to build.”
“We had to actually speak with people that were living the challenges of the construction industry day in and day out.”
They knew there was opportunity in the construction field. They just had to find out exactly what it was.
“We were a small company,” said Lake. “We were just two of us. We had to focus and find that one product or starting point. That was really what we focused on: getting out there, meeting people, and learning from them rather than just trying to build a solution out of thin air.”
They ended up launching Bridgit Field, a cloud-based tool that helps contractors streamline task and inspection management workflows. It allows companies to simplify on-site communications and manage “punch lists,” which are lists of deficient work at a given construction site as it nears completion. What’s more, thanks to Bridgit Field, both an engineer in an office and a contractor on a worksite can look at plans and blueprints on their computers or smartphones, which allows changes to be made in real-time.
A few years later, the company launched a second venture called Bridgit Bench, enterprise software for general contractors designed to eliminate the headaches—and spreadsheets—of managing construction workforce planning. It enables them to visualize the big picture of a site with real-time dashboards and see who is on a project to plan, allocate resources, and forecast what their workforce needs to look like down the road.
“The Bridgit Bench product has been really exciting to launch,” said Lake. “It’s great that we’re a Procore partner, and we’ve seen so much growth for our business. Through working with everyone at Procore, it’s been really exciting to see. I think it’s just awesome for Mallorie and me.
“We love the construction industry because there are so many processes within the industry that still have so much potential to be further digitized or are just starting that digitization journey.”
The platform tracks utilization rate, among other things, to help contractors make better decisions about workforce plan needs. Since it’s a cloud-based solution, it can be integrated with other solutions like Procore, thus streamlining some of the data input effort.
“People don’t want to be going between 10 different software solutions in their day,” explained Lake. “We knew that by integrating with a product like Procore, that would be a great step to creating that seamless interaction that customers are looking for where they’re not trying to log in and out of different systems.”
A Tale of Two Good Friends
Over the last six years, Brodie and Lake have used their different skill sets to build a successful company. They’ve also become very good friends in the process.
“I think over time, that relationship has only gotten stronger,” said Lake. “We’ve been through so many ups and downs together; I think our confidence, like the team as a partnership, has just grown over time.”
“I think our confidence, like the team as a partnership, has just grown over time.”
Their journey isn’t over, by any stretch of the imagination, and they’re looking forward to the future.
“We just love being in the industry,” said Lake, seeing what problems are out there, and then working with those companies to figure out what the best solution would be.”