It all started at The Next 36’s undergrad entrepreneurship program. Two fresh-faced university grads, Mallorie Brodie and Lauren Hasegawa, teamed up to become the business owners of a mobile application that would soon be called Bridgit. Having not met before the program, Brodie and Hasegawa collaborated despite coming from opposite academic backgrounds.
“Lauren is a civil engineer so for all her summer jobs she worked in construction,” says Mallorie. “As soon as we got on the same team, she knew there was opportunity to improve the communication on-site. I was coming from a business background, which is also helpful.” As an aspiring entrepreneur, Mallorie says her partnership with Lauren helped her focus on an industry despite her broad business education.
Both women fused their expertises and research, put on their hard hats, and took on the construction industry with a technological twist. With the help of The Next 36 through mentorship and funding, Mallorie and Lauren were able to launch their startup software company with a focus on construction. What they came up with was a mobile application designed to effectively communicate deficiencies on construction sites.
Bridgit was officially launched in March after its first release as a beta product in September 2013. To start, Mallorie and Lauren spent months visiting construction sites and speaking to project managers, site supervisors, engineers, and architects. “It kept coming up time and time again that deficiency management was one of their biggest pinpoints on site, so that’s where we got started building our solution,” says Mallorie.
However, their mobile solutions didn’t come without their fair share of challenges. As new entrepreneurs, Mallorie says it was difficult for her and Lauren to focus strictly on construction deficiencies, especially with the input from potential users. “It took a lot of restraint for us to say ‘no, we’re just going to focus on deficiencies in the beginning.’ Of course we’ll expand into other products eventually but we really needed to focus early on and it’s easy to get distracted.”
Despite those challenges, Mallorie says the industry’s response to the product was “extremely positive.” Through listening to clients, product iteration, and back-and-forth communication with sites, she attributes her and Lauren’s main business vision to their genuine interest in helping the industry out. “Obviously it is sort of unexpected when two university students just walk up to a construction site unannounced, but as soon as we got to talking with everyone, they realized we knew what we were talking about and we really wanted to help.”
Currently, with a small team of software engineers and a technical lead, Mallorie says she hopes to expand and hire sales employees and account managers to join the Bridgit team in the near future. “We want to revolutionize the construction industry,” she says. “I think mobile technology has the potential to really transform the way communication happens on construction projects.”
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