Side Hustle City

From Blue-Collar Roots to Tech Entrepreneur: Revolutionizing Road Construction with Bryce Wuori

March 11, 2024 Adam Koehler & Kyle Stevie with Bryce Wuori Season 6 Episode 14
Side Hustle City
From Blue-Collar Roots to Tech Entrepreneur: Revolutionizing Road Construction with Bryce Wuori
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join us on a transformative journey with Bryce Wuori, MPM, CEO of Pavewise, a visionary in the asphalt paving industry who firmly believes in the transformative power of technology within infrastructure. Bryce's blue-collar roots have blossomed into a tech entrepreneurship realm, where he's revolutionizing the pavement industry through Pavewise, a web-based software that maximizes productivity and enhances project quality.

Bryce's story isn't just about overcoming obstacles; it's a testament to the organic growth of a company setting a new standard for smart, technologically-driven road construction. Pavewise, meticulously crafted by Bryce Wuori, reclaims countless hours for field workers by simplifying documentation and project management, resulting in increased incentives and profits for paving contractors.

Embark with us as we delve into Bryce's evolution, from his strategic decisions in venture capital partnerships to the community-building efforts within the Side Hustle City Facebook group. Bryce's narrative is a blend of courage, tenacity, and innovative thinking, offering a roadmap for those dreaming of paving their own path to success.

Discover how niche software like Pavewise collides with operational challenges in the construction industry, resulting in a powerhouse of innovation. Our conversation with Bryce walks us through the development of Pavewise, a web app harnessing data analytics for smarter decision-making, even under the most changeable weather conditions.

Bryce Wuori, recognized nationally as an asphalt expert, integrates project variables within asphalt paving quality procedures to increase project revenues. Pavewise's strategy for success efficiently manages project variables, integrating paving solutions to ensure every paving project thrives.

Join us for a compelling episode that's as inspiring as it is informative, and witness how one person's side hustle is laying down new tracks for an entire industry.

As you're inspired to embark on your side hustle journey after listening to this episode, you might wonder where to start or how to make your vision a reality.  With a team of experienced marketing professionals and a track record of helping clients achieve their dreams, we are ready to assist you in reaching your goals. To find out more, visit www.reversedout.com.

Talking Trading - Expert trading and investing tactics so you can excel in the markets.
Your key to getting the results you deserve.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts  

Make More with Matt Heslin
Explore strategies to thrive financially, build legacy, and enhance life experiences.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Support the show

Subscribe to Side Hustle City and join our Community on Facebook

Speaker 2:

Welcome to Side Hustle City and thanks for joining us. Our goal is to help you connect to real people who found success turning their side hustle into a main hustle, and we hope you can too. I'm Adam Kaler. I'm joined by Kyle Stevie, my co-host. Let's get started, all right. Welcome back everybody to the Side Hustle City podcast, kyle Stevie joining us remotely from his phone. He's got family stuff as always, kyle, what's up man?

Speaker 3:

None much, it's nice to be back. Yeah, back in the saddle.

Speaker 2:

I know I need to launch some more episodes. We're getting kind of ahead of the game here. Well, we got another guy, Bryce. Worry. Bryce, how you doing all the way from North Dakota?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, no, it's great to be here From North Dakota. I'm actually down in San Antonio at Pavex this week, so getting to work with some people, collaborate and really dive into the industry with some people from Texas, so that's been fun.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I love it, man. So this is something we haven't had on the show yet Like this is software, yes, but in this industry, in the paving industry, we have not had anybody on the show in five years that have talked even closely about anything in the paving industry. So this is going to be kind of interesting. I'm pretty pumped about this. So you are the CEO of a company called Pavewise and if anybody wants to check out the website, it's pave, pavewise, wiseprocom, and it looks really interesting. And I'm always excited to have software guys on because you know that's my background, is software, but in the real estate industry and some other industries right now, and Kyle is in logistics, supply chain, logistics, brokerage, brokering so it looks like you're working on some highway stuff. All these trucks he, all these truckers he talks to every day are driving on these roads. So it'll be interesting to get your perspective on some stuff.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it's a huge industry. 94% of the roads in the United States are asphalt. It's the backbone to our infrastructure system and is very vital to our economy and just us, our social living. I mean, you think of all the traveling we do and really one of the biggest issues with it is we are now. We can't keep up with the amount of maintenance and building we need to provide. It's actually in a decline. So finding ways to be more efficient, extend tax dollars, combat, you know, weather, and just using technology in this industry is really what we're trying to do at pavewise is kind of integrate the technology with the old school construction and let's work smarter, not harder.

Speaker 2:

I believe in that man. Well, I did notice, so we were, you know, since I sold its railroad. We talked a little bit about that before the show and I'm trying to tell them how much these items that they want to pay for what cities normally have to do. They're usually responsible for one thing the roads. But when you're doing roads you need to pay for asphalt, and I believe I looked at a stat that asphalt inflated like 17% last year or something, and it usually goes up with the price of oil, right, Because asphalt's made from a barrel of oil.

Speaker 4:

Yes, correct. So it has. It's inflated and it does. It's kind of up and down with oil, but what we're seeing is the cost of other things now kind of playing a big part. The aggregates, the fuel prices and even just the shortage in the labor force is huge right now in this industry. I mean, there was a stat that I believe it was over 100,000 jobs a month were being posted just for asphalt industry specific jobs. And it's really one of the biggest pain points when we talk to our customers and really kind of discover, like what how can we help you with technology? We can't find people to do jobs, but we can help the people you have be more efficient. And that's one of the reasons I really created this software was.

Speaker 4:

I've been in this industry for 18 years. I ran cruise. I got to a point in my professional career where I was just I wasn't even spending time with my cruise. I was so busy taking care of a lot of the busy work and just taking phone calls and stuff that I needed to find a way to make my cruise less dependent on me and connect them through a centralized platform. And that's what Pavewise really is is a tool that links the office to the field to help both of them succeed, because that's, I mean, that's where the bread and butter is. This is in the field. You can bid a project perfectly, but the operations aren't performing and you know, there goes your profits.

Speaker 2:

And see, this is really interesting because Kyle and I talk about this all the time with people on the show. You know, pay attention. Like you know, you're out there working with these crews. You're doing road construction, you're doing stuff. You don't think that there's any innovation that needs to happen in that industry, right, like most people that are out here doing the roads are showing up bright and early in the morning, four o'clock or whatever, to get started at work. You know they're not thinking of man. This is really freaking inefficient. They're probably just complaining, right, they're just sitting on the. Oh, this guy, my manager, sucks. I hate working for these people, you know, but it's paying the bills, right? Nobody ever thinks I'm going to go into work today and I'm going to look for the inefficiencies and I'm going to build a software company that actually makes this stuff better, and then, on top of that, you're dealing with these labor shortages. I mean, this is something that you saw these different variables happening in your industry and you said let me create a solution.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, we became a software company, kind of organically, where I created this software in 2019 to solve my pain and then it just kept growing into. Well, this would be really cool to have this. This is a pain point here too. Like I'm always tracking weather, right, I got a weather radar app for every single one of my projects and it takes me a lot of time to see how to integrate in the impacts of my next seven days with the forecast on this project, and I got 20 of these. So, like, how do I put this all together so that I can build a schedule to put my crews where they're going to be most effective and weather is not going to impact them? That's one of the really big things that we do as well with our software is you pin a location 95% accurate weather data. You can build out your next seven 14 days and know how your project is going to be impacted, so you're not sitting on idle. That's the one thing that drives me crazy still to this day is I'll show up on a project and there's like a 95% chance of rain today on this project and let's call everybody in to sit and watch it rain for four hours and then decide to call it and I'm like that just costs you 10 grand just to sit there and we knew it was going to rain.

Speaker 4:

This industry is really stuck on. Well, that's the way it's always been. They kind of have a mentality and it's changing. We're changing behaviors because it's a lot of teaching people. That's a lot of what we're doing right now is look, there is a way that we can. The weather forecasting is accurate enough to tell us if it's going to rain, it's going to rain. Let's not waste our time going out there and starting up the equipment and it's a lost day. People, let's move on. We'll try again tomorrow.

Speaker 4:

And the quality that's the biggest thing we push is we push operational changes, Like we were proactive. So if we see inclement weather coming onto a project, you have to change. All this work is done in an external environment and the conditions of wind, rain temperatures will affect the quality of the roads being built. So we build in automated text messages to notify them that we're going from a 10 mile prior wind to a 25 mile prior wind. That means you need to adapt in the environment and make an operational change like tighten up your roller patterns, Because if you don't, your quality is going to reduce. Well, if you reduce the quality of the road, not only are you going to get deducted as the person building it, but now the longevity of that road has now declined. That's where Potholes is going to be created. So using that kind of knowledge to reduce the headaches but to build longer lasting roads and just be more efficient and make more money as contractors is really our main goal.

Speaker 2:

With the software, yeah, I heard at one point they had a like on the Autobahn and some of these places. During World War II the Germans built these roads to be like two feet thick and they barely ever get any Potholes. They barely ever like. How come we can't just build two foot thick roads in America?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it's the cost right. It's really expensive. I don't know what it is now with inflation and it depends on the type of oil and the type of construction, but it used to be close to a million and a half dollars per mile of asphalt new construction road. I think it's closer to about two million now. So it gets really expensive to build the and maintain the infrastructure. It's like $263 billion a year just to maintain the roads we have right now in the United States, which is over 2.7 million miles of asphalt roads just in the United States, and the road systems now are not even able to keep up with the amount of traffic and it just keeps growing.

Speaker 4:

And it's like it's this problem that like nobody wants to talk about, but it exists. And how do we fix this and how do we use technologies to, to where we're building these roads, make longer, lasting, better roads through the people actually putting the asphalt down and compacting it and doing all that and incentivize it. You know, with the DOTs and like everybody get on board. It's a problem that everybody has. Let's just let's figure out a solution for it.

Speaker 2:

How much do you think is wasted with just dealing with weather, not knowing when the weather is going to show up? If you looked at a highway project, how much of that highway project do you think is just screwed up? And not only that. And then, separately, the quality what do you think? Is there a certain amount of years or something that it takes off the life of the road? How does that work?

Speaker 4:

It depends a lot on geography. You know you get up into the where I'm from, north Dakota we get 130 days to pave, so we have to really make the best of our season and we do have to pave in some colder temperatures and everything. But honestly, we've ran a lot of data and we found 53% of asphalt paving projects in the United States are impacted by weather and impacted whether it's like schedule, extra resources, liquidated damages, litigation, because of completion dates. So it is ultimately the controlling factor and what happens I've seen this so many times is you get caught in a rainstorm paving. So the biggest ingredient with asphalt to make it the quality high is you got to have hot asphalt.

Speaker 4:

Once it sets up you can no longer get compaction. So you imagine you lay asphalt out on a road and all of a sudden you got an inch rain downpour. It's cooling that asphalt to a point where you can't get the air voids out of it. It becomes less dense. The quality of it is pretty much. If it's not above 90%, it's going to fail within the few years and I've seen that on projects where we can literally mark out areas where the rain or temperature affected the quality of the project and that's always where it's going to fail first and that is what's costing us so much money. So being able to proactively identify yeah, that rain is coming, we need to shut the plants off and shut operations off or make these operational changes is those little changes can save billions of dollars across an entire industry.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I could imagine. I mean, think about, I mean you probably sell this apple lot in Seattle, places that, where it's you never know what the rain situation. Or Florida, even Florida, like I mean, it could be just completely sunny one minute and the next thing you know, there's, you know, a downpour and it lasts for an hour. You know that's even worse because at least in Seattle you know like it's going to rain for the next three days. But in Florida it's like, oh, you're out there working on the road, next thing you know it rains for two hours and then it's sunny again.

Speaker 4:

Yeah that we are in Florida a lot up and down the Midwest, up into the northern parts of the Midwest, and you know where it gets colder. It's very important as well because cold temperatures cause a lot of quality defects as well in the asphalt. So knowing and knowing where to put your crews is huge. We got some smaller companies. They got 40 projects out and they literally are building schedules based off of where they can be most efficient from you know a weather standpoint. If project A's got a 50% impact, 50% chance of rain and project B on the other side of town has a 10%, they're going to go work on project B if the schedule allows them to, just because they have a lower chance of being impacted and getting the work done.

Speaker 4:

So those little things like that in making the automations, like the busy work, we're running AI in the back end because we don't want to make it more work for these people in the field. They're busy enough. So we've simplified it to where 90% of our users are running this on their phones. We are a web based app so you can run it anywhere, but they are able to take a picture, upload a document in the AI. We call it PAT is smart enough to actually take that data, put it in the right project, write project file text, notify the project manager that's been uploaded. All they have to do is upload it. So we've simplified that friction of that world for those users who are busy in the field so that they can get an hour or two back in their day just concentrating on their cruise.

Speaker 2:

So I mean, bryce, you're a blue collar guy. What got you into? I mean, this is software development. Like, everything you're saying is stuff that I mean I've been doing my whole career practically. But you have to know what the user is looking for. You have to be able to plan for this kind of stuff. You have to be able to find people to build this thing. Like what made you think that oh hey, me Bryce guy who works on these roads sees a problem I could build an app and figure this thing out. Like what got you into that? I mean, was the problem so big? You were just like, look, there's got to be a market out here for it and I'm going to try it.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it was that. And then I mean literally, I just really was. I knew there was a way to solve this problem and I just started working on creating this and it started. Version one was just tracking data. I was tracking like variables on projects. I was literally almost obsessed with what caused impacts on projects and how the project turned out, looking at weather, looking at the crews, the calendar days, the material, and I would literally just created these data analytics of well, this is continuously showing the weather is impacting a lot of this and the scheduling.

Speaker 4:

I would show up on projects where there was like 60 days of paving and this is a $30 million project and the contractor doesn't have a single rain day and there's 60 days of paving. I'm like where are you guys working at? Because you might as well put 25% of your 60 days. You're going to have some kind of rain or weather impact. And just kind of identifying like being more realistic with things is the first step.

Speaker 4:

But I got some people around me that were pretty tech savvy. I knew the solution was being solved because I'd ran this before we even thought about being a software company and I was running it on projects. I ran it through 27 projects before 3 million tons, 27 projects before it was ever even a software company. Wow. So it was proven, tested, like it was what I was running it through my consulting company, through my construction company, and it just kept building and building, building, and we didn't know it was an industry problem. We just kind of knew it was a problem for us. But eventually more people started to get attracted to what we were doing and how we were doing that and we did some research and all of a sudden we're like, huh, there really isn't a operation software that is connecting the crews to the field and implementing in weather risks and doing all these things. And I think there's actually a market for it. And here we are today, definitely a market for it. And we just keep growing it further and further.

Speaker 2:

But it's so wild, it's such a just like a small niche of a small niche, like it's. It's You're helping people determine like weather, and then helping them schedule around the weather and things like that For an industry. That's. It's a big it like it. There's a lot of money in the industry. Obviously, do you stay busy as long as we have roads, we're gonna need this stuff done.

Speaker 2:

So you're like, hey, look, I'm gonna solve this small problem in this industry that you know there's that probably a not a lot of companies in the industry necessarily that can, that can buy this. I mean there's, you know, every state probably has one or two or three that do a majority of those of the work right, but this is a big problem for them. It's. It's a small thing that can impact all of the work when people are building their, their companies and this is, you know, obviously we're on a side hustle podcast, so people are interested in you know. Hey, I found this problem, but I don't think it's big enough. Explain how the I'm sure you went through some of that yourself and you've probably talked to investors and you probably talked to some Of your tech guys. Did you guys go through some of that stuff and like what have you found?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, we did. We really. Actually that was one of the holdbacks For a long time with with do we want to turn? Do we want to become a software company? Is the market big enough? Because we were researching and there was a ton of software companies doing project management and bidding and all that, but we really struggled to find somebody Directly, you know, concentrating on boots, on the ground operations and like the success of the people doing the work. So we, since we were kind of the first mover in that industry, we're like, well, maybe it's not really that big of a problem, maybe we're just overthinking this or something, but we eventually got enough traction and tested enough to where people were like, yeah, that's a huge problem. Like we started, I started working across the whole United States back in like 2020, 2021, and I seen that it didn't matter where I was, if I was in Alaska, if I was in Florida, if I was in North Dakota, texas Like it was a real problem.

Speaker 4:

Like the communication between the office, what the office was expecting and what the field was required to do, was just like a huge void and it was costing lots of time and Profits between companies. Some are better than others, but really, I mean a lot of times there's companies that, like the office, are the bad guys in the field, is there's like the villain and the good end. Well, nobody told us that we needed this specification or nobody told us that we needed to do this, and it's like now, with one platform that has everybody on there and All your requirements, your specifications, your plans, everything are right there there's. It really brings transparency through that you, you're all on one team and and you're all here to accomplish the same thing. If, if and if a plan set changes, it's uploaded, you have access to that right away. If you know there's a change in the schedule and it's changed from the project management side, you see that in the field and you're notified. So we're we're really trying to bring that Thought process forward as well, and that's part of the behavior change too.

Speaker 4:

Quite honestly, we're dealing with two behavior changes in this industry. One, using technology, especially for the people in the field. Everybody's got a phone, but you know they might be using a weather radar, they might have social media, but they're not using much more technology than that. The office side uses quite a bit more, because they're either bidding projects, they're, they're making schedules, they're, you know, doing a lot more with it. But Taking the mindset to those people and the industry is a blue collar industry, yeah, 100%. And and it's hard to take People that pen and paper is our biggest competitor right now and taking them from something they've done for 10-15 years and now being like, hey, you just do it, do it from your phone. It's a change and change is hard.

Speaker 2:

Well, we had the same problem with ours, except was the fax machine was our big competitor when we did our company. But it was the same thing. We, you know, you had a bunch of people and in our industry there was just a bunch of older people that pretty much ran everything and did all the business and you had to convince them To change right. And sometimes it takes that one big client that it kind of justifies the fact that you exist and says, hey, these people are credible, I'm, I'm willing to use them. Or a big municipality, like in your case, like if they're just a big company, your case like if the city of Los Angeles all of a sudden decided, hey, everybody that does these projects needs to be, needs a tap into this software, that's that helps you.

Speaker 2:

If, if somebody like that comes in says pave wise is the way to go, I want everybody using pave wise. I know it's gonna save us money, it's gonna save us time, that is a big benefit or boost to any startup is getting that first big customer. Did you guys have somebody like that?

Speaker 4:

We were fortunate, yeah, so running my own construction company and a consulting company that dealt with just asphalt paving contractors across the United States. We had built that trust already with a lot of customers, so we had a pipeline that we were able to just take and move. Our first customer was one that I had a very good relationship with and they're really one of our favorite customers right now because we do a lot of new testing with them. We're testing AI cameras and we tested the AI pad assistant with them right away and they're kind of our test dummies, I guess, if you want to call it. They are always testing things with them, but they were our first ones and the hardest part about it was going from a business to business to a software where it used to bill out hourly and be like, all right, here's what my actual time that I put in and here's what you owe me to. Here's a software that is going to automate what I do a lot of for you and just trust me, Just trust me it works.

Speaker 4:

There's got to be that trust built and we're doing a lot of that. Still, If we don't have connections with people that we work with in the industry, we have to bring it into one crew and be like all right, let's just show them how it works here. And then eventually it kind of trickles out like crew BCD is like ooh, I want that too, and that is really neat. And instead of just kind of going all in and with a company that here this is, we're going to run this throughout the whole company We've kind of trickled in with a trickling in method, if you want to call it, with the big companies and we got some real cool ones too, like coming up here KnifeRiver corporations we're doing demos with them CRH some of the biggest paving companies across the United States where we're going to be running on their projects, and we're excited for that as well.

Speaker 2:

And are you doing most of the sales? I mean, or do you have a sales guy? Because you have the kind of the demeanor of a startup guy to me, like I'm like the promoter, I'm like the one who's like crazy I talk. People don't believe me because I'm a little too energetic, right, they think I'm crazy, but you have that. Like I've been in the industry, I know what I'm talking about. This helped us. If you don't want it, then oh well, if you do, it's going to help you a lot. Like you have that kind of trustworthy attitude. What about the rest of your team? Who do you have around you that helps support what you're doing right now? I mean, because here you are at a conference.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, we're a seven person team and you're exactly right. I just love this industry and I will not sell this software to anybody if they don't feel comfortable or think it's going to help them. So that's why we often do, like on boards, 30, 60, 90 day trials, because we're like, hey, run some projects through it If it's not going to help you be more efficient. That's the last thing we want to do is make more work for you. We know how busy you are and it's not for everybody, and that's why we do that, because we don't want to create a bad taste of technology in an industry that really needs it. So that is definitely what we kind of push and we don't. And typically, if that customer can get into it and run it and get some training and sees the value in it, it sells itself. So we really don't even have a sales process. It's more of like a discovery process and I am I'm very laid back. I love talking about the industry. I like what fills my cup is just the training, helping people succeed and paving.

Speaker 4:

I love paving. I started boots on the ground. I run the equipment. One of my favorite thing to do is like go out with a crew on board them and jump on the back of a paver and run the paver screen for half a day and give the guys a break on the roller that you know. I mean, it's just like I've been there, I've done that and I love it. So I got a lot of credibility in this industry because I've done all of it. I'm not just a person that came up with an idea in an industry and like thought this would work. It's like I've been there, I've done that. I've my boots also have asphalt on them as well.

Speaker 2:

So I'm happy and a huge benefit and add to your personally, add to your credibility. What would you say to people? Because I we always have trouble convincing people. One of the whole reasons we started this podcast was you got a lot of negativity out there about what's going on in the economy people losing jobs. I just saw another jobs report that came out where a bunch of companies, software companies included, are firing people. Big software companies they're talking these huge ones right. I mean they're cutting 15, 20% of their staff.

Speaker 2:

In some cases, people are scared when they get into industries, like when they get into companies that all their eggs are in one basket and I say, look, you need to do something on the side. If you're working in a company, you're afraid that you know the acts may come down on you someday Like you need other options, you need side hustles, you need something that you could do. A lot of people during COVID had you know the. They had an idea right. They had something that they were like. You know what. There's been on the back burner for a while. I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to pull the trigger on this thing. What would you say to entrepreneurs people that are busting their butt working at something that they don't necessarily love, and they want to do something for themselves. What was that thing that made you turn the corner? What's that thing that made you want to jump into business ownership?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it was. There was a lot of fear holding me back. I had a really good business, a couple of them. I went all in. I sold my businesses that I knew were producing money that had no risk involved. They were established and I took that and went all in because it was like a magnet that kept drawing me back.

Speaker 4:

There's times I tried to push this away and I'm just like. It is what it is. There's no future in it. And then it would just naturally come back and something would show up where a company is like can you show us more about that or can you present on your technology that you've designed? And I just finally had to make the decision and a lot of it was.

Speaker 4:

My co-founder is my wife and she I had to get her on board as well to be accept the decision of like all right, we're going to just go for this and we're going to do it. This is what we're going to do. We're going to sell our other companies and we're just going all in and having that mentality, because half in, half out is always hard. You can never put your full effort in and once we put that full effort in, it just completely changed everything and you can really concentrate on success and where the company is going.

Speaker 4:

And we got a great team around us too. I mean my CTO is like a Titan developer in AI and like 3D printing, and I have a product manager that is just a great great with the customers. He's got no experience in paving but he can get like the pain out of out of these individuals and really dive into like what they need. And my dev team is awesome and we just hired another sales person and you know getting the good people around you, the support. We got a huge support community with North Dakota and just the entrepreneur community and and going all in. I mean that's what I would just say is, yeah, I mean fear it's scary, but once you do it and give it a try, it's. It's worth it for sure.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and what about conferences? I mean one of the big things that changed the trajectory of our business. I mean we almost the company almost died three times. We were running out of money. We kept having to, you know, go back to the well and ask for some more money and it diluted everybody. And you know we were all young at the time, so none of us had a whole bunch of cash just laying around, so we kept having to go back to investors.

Speaker 2:

But we went to a conference and for us it was the National Association Realtors Conference. And you know we were we. We went all in, like you said, go all in, and we got the booth. We spent a hundred thousand, $200,000 on this booth. We're right in the middle of the show. I mean we've spent as much as some of these big guys and we were nothing. I mean we didn't even. We barely had any customers. We had people testing it out. Next thing, you know, a big real estate company comes by. Once you use the software, it takes us a while to implement it. But next thing, you know it, it it took us to a whole another level Going to shows as a software company, as a startup, what? What are the impacts of that for you Is that? Is that something that you've found is very helpful? I mean, you're at one now you're at PayVex. Is that something you find has has been helpful for you?

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. This is where this is where the people are. It's hard to during the construction season. These people are busy. I mean you're up at six in the morning and you work till dark.

Speaker 4:

So we have like this short little season, expo season from. You know, it starts at December and goes till maybe May for for some states and stuff. But like that's, that's where it's at. That's where you get to connect with the people in person, show them you know you might been talking to them on LinkedIn and stuff and you're finally with them, showing them a demo, and that's where the decisions are made. That's where you make the connections with people Like here I just got to connect with Marvin Joles for the first time, who has Blacktop Bantor, and we've been talking on LinkedIn and you know just this organic connections here. This industry is so organic. I can. I can connect with more people at one of these conferences like PayVex or NPE World of Asphalt, and we're going to be at all of them. Actually, we're at about 15 of them this year. I can connect with more people at one of these conferences in three days than it would take me probably in three months on social, linkedin and stuff like that. So yeah, it's very organic.

Speaker 2:

Take a mouth first and drinks. Take a little, a couple, a couple drinks and go maybe golf every once in a while with some of these people.

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Old school.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I mean, during the construction season there isn't any. You got to make the halo of sunshine and that's that's when they're doing it, you know. And so this is our time. Now we're at these conventions where we can kick back, we can talk about things and we're not pressured because there's a crew that is struggling with density or you know, just doing our everyday things. So this is definitely where it's at for us and it's yeah, we're, we're. Every time we go to one of these, we make a new connection, we have a new customer or two or three or four, one of them I mean, we've been up to like a dozen and it's, it's where it's at for us.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean and it's outside of just making money. I mean there's things like I mean I, I see, you know, you know, you know you're know some of these articles about you and things that have come out calling you a hometown hero and software company guy of North Dakota. And you know you'd started out with this worry, consulting, um, like it's more than just the money, and building this big software company and doing all this other stuff. I mean that's great, obviously that's, you know, a goal. But there's other things that start to happen that you don't even realize when you're trying to build a company, and that is you're inspiring people. You're letting all these people up in North Dakota know, these kids.

Speaker 2:

The rest of the country I mean I live in flyover country too, you know, I mean everybody thinks that oh, there's nothing. You know people on the coast, don't? You know they ride a soft. There's no software coming out of North Dakota, there's no software coming out of Ohio. But I mean you've done it. You've shown people that it is possible. You know there there's. You don't have to just work on these roads, you don't have to just do these blue collar jobs or whatever. You can be a guy that that does that and then turns it into something even bigger. You can be a software guy, yeah.

Speaker 4:

I mean, that is definitely. You know, I didn't know six, seven months ago, I didn't know what venture backed was, and here we closed our first round back in September, with investors from Chicago, from California, from New York and, and all these you know, interested in what we're doing. And here we are. Just you know, yeah, we're flyover state and I'm just a guy that loves construction, asphalt, paving, and my main goal is just to improve this industry, make it better and, like, attract a younger generation towards it with technology.

Speaker 4:

I look at my son who's? Who's 11, going to be 12 here shortly. Like he, he uses his phone, he talks to his phone. I mean, they're just, technology is engraved with them and the younger generation is moving into positions within this industry where they don't want pen and paper, they want technology to run off of and they want to be more efficient. So it's it's a nice time, like the timing is perfect right now for for a change, and we're able to mold this industry with technology and make these advancements right now, and that's exciting to me. That's what I love the most about what we're doing.

Speaker 2:

Well, bryce, every time I think that an industry is matured or an industry doesn't need anything else, guys like you pop up and come up with solutions to make everybody's lives better, and I congratulate you on what you've done. It's awesome and I wish you all the success.

Speaker 3:

I do have a question, kyle. Go for it, since I mean I didn't want to get in the middle of the conversation because it was flowing pretty smoothly. I do have question with the venture back because we have people that listen to the show and they're contemplating how to bring in equity partners. Well, there's just basic investors where it's actually venture capitalists. How is that? I think the fear that most people have with venture capitalists is that they're going to come in and they're going to dictate how you run your company, the company that you created. Have you how's that? I mean, I know you're going to be very politically correct when you say this, but how is there anything that surprised you with the way that you've interacted with your new venture capital guys? Has it been pre hands off? They allowed you to be who you are and run the company as you see fit, or have they been bringing ideas that you think? Well, some of these are good and some of these I'm not going to implement.

Speaker 4:

It's a mixture of both. I'm going to be honest. There's a lot of time that is put towards sitting down with the people on the board and plans, but the connections that they've made for us and how fast, without the venture back, not just the capital even, but the connections that they've made to other people in tech. We've hired people through the connections that they have, just the ecosystem that they can bring, and they've been there. A lot of them have been there, done it. They do it for a living. They see the things that you might not be able to see. We have some that are pretty hands-on. I mean, we're going through CAC and we're going through customer. We're just looking at finances and we're really thinking about those things. Then we have the other ones that are more or less how things go and you need anything.

Speaker 4:

We were fortunate enough to pick. We had an oversubscribe round. We were fortunate enough to really pick and choose and meet with who we had or who was interested in investing with us and deciding like, yeah, we really like what these guys bring to the table. We feel like they can bring a lot of value. It's been good so far. Honestly.

Speaker 4:

There's times where, yeah, it's tough.

Speaker 4:

We're in a semi-pivot right now.

Speaker 4:

I won't even call it a pivot, but we're trying to decide if we just stay niched in Asphalt because we have all these other horizontal construction industries like earthwork, dirtwork, concrete and even vertical contractors that are like man, I think that works for us too.

Speaker 4:

Can we try it? We're like, oh boy, we don't have the infrastructure to really go out into these other industries but that just makes our market that much bigger so we can sit down and talk about those things with our investors. Like, do we just stay focused on this industry and keep pushing forward or do we start kind of going out and diving into it? You have to be comfortable. The reason we went with Venturebacked, honestly, was we knew we had to move fast and quick and the capital and the experience they brought to the table would help us do that rather than just kind of I don't want to say limping along. We could have bootstrapped this longer and stuff, but we never would have been able to hire and become profit to a point where we are like now without them and the capital of doing that. So that's why we really moved toward being Venturebacked.

Speaker 2:

Have they been able to connect you to any clients? And I mean, what all value have they added? I mean, did they look at the software and say, hey, we can help you with this, this and that If they helped you on that front, or is it just mostly, hey, we're going to give you money, Good luck.

Speaker 4:

They definitely keep an eye on the software when we do our dev cycles. You know what we're talking about. You know like right now we're working on some more weather integration impacts into the software. We actually have a hardware where we can put out a hyperlocal on site like a physical piece, so it's a certified weather station that is ground truthing the weather and it's like a little insurance package for these contractors. We're implementing those in now and we didn't want to become like a hardware company or anything.

Speaker 4:

But like we had so much we had like 100 people that we called and they're like would you run this on your project? And they're like, yeah, for sure, if it automates some of our SWIP, rain gauge checking and weather logging and it's actually ground truthing the weather for like compliance. They're like, yeah, why wouldn't we want to run that? So now we're like, oh, it's not really a pivot, but like we're finding there's almost more of a need for that than what we originally went into and staying concentrated on what we have going good now, without hitting this other path. That's going to cost a lot more money and we don't have the infrastructure to do. They guide us through that and kind of give us some tips on how do we tread this new water and everything. So I'm glad we did it.

Speaker 4:

We're going to continue to. We're going to plan on raising another round here in 2025 and just keep growing the company, because we don't. We want to build an ecosystem. We don't want to be just a software company. We want to build, like, an ecosystem of this is how, this is how you pave and this is the technologies you're going to use to be successful. That's our ultimate goal with pay boys.

Speaker 2:

I love it, man. I love the software hardware integration. I love everything you're doing. I love that you're transforming an industry that's using paper right now. I'm glad you don't have it. I'm glad that's your biggest competitor and and the fact that you can leverage your investors to actually help grow your business. You know that's what you got to do. You get to the point where you're like, hey look, we've got so much money coming in, but we there's all these things we want to do, we want to grow it, and sometimes you got to go get that venture money. It's, it's a. You know it sucks giving up equity, but you know it's, it's a necessary evil sometimes. But yeah, bryce, this is great. Kyle, you got any other questions? You got anything about? You know highway? I know, I know your your livelihood depends on what Bryce is out here doing.

Speaker 3:

I don't want to think about my livelihood right now.

Speaker 2:

Kyle's a freight broker. He has to deal with just truckers back and forth all day.

Speaker 3:

Do you do you have a lot of guys that do that, specialize in like driveways and private, like city roads, or is it just all highway companies?

Speaker 4:

It is mostly highway high-risk projects Like we just signed up a contractor yesterday that's doing a $30 million concrete paving project, so it's an easier sell and it works.

Speaker 4:

It's more drive driven towards those high-risk, long-term projects. We do have some what we call commercial maintenance contractors in there and what they're using it for more is to build their schedules out so they can put all these locations of these projects in and they can literally see the 714-day impacts of the weather on these single projects so that they can build their schedules and figure out where they want to put their crews. We've thought about pulling that out of our software and just selling it as like a light package where, if you just want to use it for scheduling and you can mark your locations and all that, it would fit better for them and that's really what we're testing right now. That's what we're doing down at Pavex. This really isn't our target market down here, but we're using this expo as a way to gauge and ask the people that are coming through what they do and if there was something that did that, would they have interest in it and it's been going really well for us so far.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome, Bryce. Man, you're doing it. Man, You're doing what all these people are listening to the podcast right now, wishing that they could do and wanting to do, and at some point you just got pulled the trigger, right.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, you got to just go for it and I'm a true believer in everything happens for a reason. You work hard and good things will happen, and that's just the mentality I grew up on and I'm very humble. It's just really. If we can help a crew and the people in the field be less stressed out and perform better, I'm happy at the end of the day.

Speaker 2:

I love it. Well, Bryce, thanks for sharing and thanks for what you do and building the US economy in a way. I mean, everything runs on the roads primarily and you're helping them out. You're helping out the taxpayer with being more efficient. These crews at the end of the day, they're going to build these roads faster. They're going to. It's not going to be as bad. They probably aren't going to have to be as prepared or have to be repaired as much. So I mean you're doing stuff that I don't know, maybe haven't even thought about, but what you've come up with and what you're doing actually hits on a lot of different aspects.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I've thought about that a lot. I mean, like I've ran numbers where if we can take an industry like the asphalt industry and just increase the overall quality by 5%, it's like a $1.5 billion a year in savings. A 5% increase, which is not that much across an entire industry, that's over a billion dollars, right. So that's what makes me excited is because that's more money too that we can put towards more infrastructure and just keep expanding that all. So that's exciting. I love that part.

Speaker 2:

Well, there's a company here called John R Juergensen and they were a former client of mine and we were doing some stuff. They brought a lot of that work in-house, but they do primarily all the highways around here in Cincinnati. So I will be sending them over an email and saying, hey, I haven't talked to you guys in a while, but you might want to check out this software. This is going to help you out and it'll help all of us out in this region that are paying taxes on these highways. So I appreciate you coming on today, man, I appreciate you sharing your story and good luck with everything.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, no, thank you Kyle and Adam. It was great. I really enjoy talking through these things and it's really just a fun thing. I enjoy it. I wouldn't change it for anything and I look forward to keep building on it and I hope this can anybody that is on the fence of doing something. Just take the chance, go all in and it'll all work out, and just hard work and grind away.

Speaker 2:

I love it. Man Guys, check it out. If you're in the industry, if you're in government, if you're what has anything to do with Pave and Roads, go check it out. If you're in a position where you're doing this work and you're sick of going out in the rain and fighting the elements, pavewise guys, pavewiseprocom, go check it out. Thanks a lot, bryce. Yes, thanks. Thanks for joining us on this week's episode of Side Hustle City. Well, you've heard from our guests. Now let's hear from you. Join our community on Facebook, side Hustle City. It's a group where people share ideas, share their inspirational stories and motivate each other to be successful and turn their side hustle into their main hustle. We'll see you there and we'll see you next week on the show. Thank, you.

Innovating the Pavement Industry
Solving Industry Problems With Software
Innovating Technology in Construction Industry
Entrepreneurial Journey and Industry Networking
(Cont.) Entrepreneurial Journey and Industry Networking
Navigating Venture Capital Partnerships
(Cont.) Navigating Venture Capital Partnerships
Side Hustle City Community Building