At Perserbid, we are building a legitimate network where homeowners and contractors can interact with each other in more efficient ways. We want to simplify the process so that the homeowner can save time and stress getting work done around the house and contractors can save time and money finding customers.
Location: Johnson City, Tennessee, USA
Product / Service Offering: Contractor/Homeowner job matching
Co-founder Interviewed: Edwin Williams
This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
I grew up primarily in Johnson City, Tennessee and had a fascination for the sciences. While in school in St. Louis, Missouri, I took the entrepreneur dive and co-founded GetFit Gadgets. I enjoy creating things for others to use and for their benefit.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
Perserbid was established in 2014. The idea for Perserbid came about from trying to solve a problem with my previous company.
I co-founded a fitness equipment company, and we were having trouble finding a shop to prototype our devices. I came up with the initial idea for manufacturing where I would post a prototype design and shops would bid on building it. We ended up not executing it, because we did not find a shop to build our prototype.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
We have two main needs we are trying to fulfill. The main homeowner need is the ease of finding and managing contractors to work on your home. We want to simplify that process so that the homeowner can save time and stress on getting work done around the house.
On the contractor side, we are trying to save them time and money on finding customers.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
Our approach to the home building industry in the sense of many of our competitors are variations on ad space or list services. What we are trying to do is build a legitimate network where homeowners and contractors can interact with each other in more efficient ways.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
Money and technical issues were the biggest challenge. You need money to get through technical issues, and you need your technology to work in order to make money. The way I got through it was asking people for a lot of help.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
The local organizations have been a big help. I would recommend finding your local co-working space and getting a day pass to meet people there. Most of my learning has come from other entrepreneurs.
The TNSBDC has also been very helpful in saving us money on some critical things that would be cost prohibitive as a small startup. Finally, the local trade organizations have been invaluable as they have allowed us to get Perserbid in front of our target market to be dissected and assimilated.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
A lot of asking – I’m still green at this. With Robert on board now, he’s taken the lead in funding efforts with Perserbid. We’re now going the equity crowdfunding route.
If I could start over, I would start asking for funding earlier. Our recent cash infusion earlier this year has helped push us along at our fastest pace ever.
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Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
How to build a good team? Also, what is good design?
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
Our challenge is user adoption/technology. Our technology is getting better now that we have some funding. That used to be the big damper to user adoption. We still have some slots we are looking to fill regarding our core team, and keeping our team diverse is a priority as we grow. How we fill out our team going forward, build a great user experience that keeps users coming back, and integrate our next phases into the network are our big challenges.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
Drink with your users/testers. Alcohol makes people honest in a way surveys don’t. You get so much more information from a conversation over drinks than any other method I’ve found. People tell you what’s wrong, what doesn’t work, what they would like to see, and the best, the “You know what would be really great that I’ve never seen?”.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?
Perserbid is growing. Our team now includes Robert and Matt, not just me, and we will be doing a crowdfunding raise shortly. This crowdfunding will allow us to expand to new markets faster.
Are you familiar with other startups you believe should be spotlighted? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them in the comments below!