Free pizza will be a’ plenty today at various construction sites in Toronto. That’s because Toronto-based startup Bridgit, a trio of women-entrepreneurs focused on deficiency management in the construction industry, will be engaged in an “experiential marketing” trip today.
It’s all in support of the startup’s full launch on March 1, and along with today’s visits in Toronto the team will also head to Ottawa next Thursday.
Bridgit was formed during last year’s Next 36 program, when cofounders Lauren Hasegawa and Mallorie Brodie. It was Hasegawa’s idea, a a civil structural engineer who had worked several summers on-site with a construction company that focused on concrete restoration throughout Canada and the US. “She knew right away that there was so much opportunity in construction,” said Brodie.
The pair of cofounders (plus Laura Brodie, director of marketing and the sister of Mallorie) have placed a heavy emphasis on one-on-one engagement, or in-person marketing. Online marketing doesn’t really jive with an industry who’s blue-collar employees (generally) aren’t spending six hours a day surfing the net.
During the Next 36 the cofounders spent six months visiting construction sites. “Every stakeholder possible, so site coordinators, project mangers, engineers, architects, sub contractors, everyone,” said Brodie. “And they’re the ones who really helped us narrow in on deficiency management, because they felt it was their biggest pain-point from the field.”
Out of that came Bridgit, an app that allows the entire construction team (sometimes with 60 to 70 subcontractors on top of the internal team that the general contractor has) to communicate problems with each other. It’s also web-based, meaning that employees back at the office can easily monitor what’s going on and respond.
Brodie said typically construction sites have simply been snapping pictures of on-site problems with their cell phones, emailing it to themselves and then creating a formal-looking document, or using Google Drive. She said there’s little else in the way of Bridgit in terms of other apps.
What makes it go above in beyond is the way it can handle large amounts of input from various construction stakeholders. And it can be set up quickly. “A lot of construction software can eventually can get the job done, but its complicated, it takes a lot to set up and it requires a lot of data input, so the real value ad with Bridgit is they can get it up and running the next day and still do an amazing job at managing communication.”
Bridgit runs on a subscription-based model where the cheapest plan costs about $100, providing functionality for 10 monthly collaborators. The company previously raised a small angel round of funding after it graduated from the Next 36, and the cofounders are likely headed towards pursuing another round.
Today though its all about pizza and construction sites. “For beer and redbull there’s always promo events, but nothing has really targeted at the construction industry,” said Brodie. “It’s something new and fresh, and we found from day one that actually going to the site and speaking to the users was by far the best way to connect with them.”