MyComply has secured C$5.6 million (US$4.5 million) and support from construction industry angel investors to expand the presence of its compliance and workforce management platform construction work across the United States.
After struggling to sell its construction technology solution to Canadian companies, the Saskatoon and Brooklyn-based startup turned its sights south of the border. In an interview with BetaKit, MyComply co-founder and CEO Mark Wolff said the company is taking “the path of least resistance” by targeting large markets in the United States.
“We went to New York because, just like going to jail, you go to court, you find the biggest guy, you knock him out, and then you’re somebody.”
With the help of its seed funding and a five-year contract with the New York City Department of Buildings that Wolff describes as the company’s “growth hack,” MyComply is ready to begin evolve, starting with New York, the largest construction market in North America.
“We went to New York because, just like going to jail, you go to court, you find the biggest guy, you knock him out, and then you’re somebody,” Wolff said.
Founded in 2015, MyComply has built a platform that helps ensure construction site compliance and provides workforce data. The startup’s solution combines IoT hardware and software to help general contractors verify safety training and reduce risk on construction sites.
MyComply’s seed round represents the company’s first venture capital funding to date. The $5.6 million consists of C$3.7 million (US$3 million) in capital from Wolff and a group of undisclosed individuals from the Saskatchewan business community “generally connected to industries related to construction,” and nearly C$2 million (US$1.58 million) in non-dilutive funding from the federal government of Canada, including through NSERC.
Wolff described Canadian construction companies as “laggards in the adoption of technology.”
After attempting to sell its solution in Canada, MyComply discovered that the country’s largest construction companies are looking to larger markets like the United States to pilot new technologies before implementing these solutions themselves. When MyComply began exploring the US market, it quickly learned that US companies were “much less afraid” to test and adopt new technologies.
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MyComply isn’t the only Canadian construction tech start-up facing this problem and looking to the United States. Brampton-based software company SmartBuild encountered the same obstacles and took a similar approach.
Currently, the vast majority of MyComply’s business takes place in the United States. In New York, where the Saskatoon-based start-up established an office, MyComply found a construction market that was very accepting of MyComply’s technology and solution.
For MyComply, focusing on the United States also made sense from a market size perspective. According to Wolff, the total amount of construction going on in Canada is less than in California.
MyComply’s “main focus” is currently on New York and the Northeastern United States. The company also aims to tackle Florida, Texas and California, three of the nation’s largest construction markets. In New York, MyComply has worked with major construction companies across North America.
Since establishing itself in the United States, MyComply has seen demand for its solution increase in Canada. “We’ve started to have a slight uptick in Canada, but it’s really thanks to our success with large federal contractors in the United States,” Wolff said.
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When MyComply first launched, Wolff said “there weren’t many competitors”. But as the company grew and “broadened its path,” competitors emerged.
According to Wolff, most of MyComply’s competitors operate in a “very business-centric point solution” fashion, while MyComply focuses on the individual worker and the functionality around them.
MyComply faces competitors in areas such as access control and certification management. Wolff argues that what sets MyComply apart from the rest of the field is its software-hardware combination approach, which brings all of these capabilities together to handle a variety of construction projects.
“Having all the solutions to handle all types of projects is really a differentiator for us,” said Wolff. “We see MyComply as a platform, not just a point solution.”
MyComply’s broader vision is to become “a global workforce hub for the construction industry”.
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“The mission is to empower general contractors to deliver vetted workmanship on all job sites,” Wolff said. “Once you’re able to do that, in a way centered on the profile of the individual worker, you can do a lot of different things.”
According to Wolff, these elements include the collection of data associated with the time, attendance and qualifications of workers, functions such as access control and the ability to share security certifications and training documents.
On the technical side, MyComply’s product development plans include improving its passive worker detection and mobile experience.
In the future, the company hopes to add to its time and attendance technology capabilities, incorporate the ability to integrate with payroll solutions, and tie into feature sets for insurance.
Image courtesy of MyComply.