By RIley Kaminer
If you’ve ever tried to get any construction work done at your house, you’ll be very familiar with the antiquated processes most tradespeople use. From mailing carbon copy paper receipts to Excel spreadsheets sent back and forth from personal Gmail accounts – the $1.5 trillion construction industry often does not act as professionally as its size would suggest.
Boca Raton-based Santo Leo is on a mission to help bring construction companies into the 21st century. As co-founder and CEO of Pro Platforms, Leo and team are building the digital tools to help tradespeople run their business more efficiently, while also providing better service to their customers.
Pro Platforms recently announced a $4.7 million fundraise led by Aperture VC and Social Leverage, with participation from GS Futures, and Hustle Fund.
“Santo and his founding team are building the future of payments for the home improvement industry,” Garnet Heraman, Managing Partner of Aperture VC, said in a statement. “Their product vision and passion for execution are game-changers for contractors long underserved by technology.”
“There’s a lack of awareness and literacy both on the consumer side and the contractor side,” Leo told Refresh Miami. “The industry has literally no technology.”
Pro Platforms, which has been active for three years in various forms but launched in its current form in December, started by launching a CRM platform for contractors. They then began to offer marketing automation services, proposal builders, invoice and contract generating platforms, and other products to digitize construction companies’ operations. In June, they’re launching a platform that aims to modernize construction payments and financing.
“We’re the first one-size-fits all platform,” asserted Leo of the company’s main competitive advantage. Whereas most platforms are specific to one particular trade, Pro Platforms creates tools that can work for any type of construction company.
Pro Platforms follows a SaaS business model, charging $999 per year. While Leo signaled that this is the best price in the market by 80%, he also said that the company plans to launch a freemium version later this year.
According to Leo, the startup has a wide variety of customers – but most have five to 15 employees and around $1 million in annual revenue. Pro Platforms has users in all 50 states. He noted that construction companies tend to have a very low margin – around 10% – meaning that even a very small overall savings can have an outsized impact on business owners.
Leo’s goal is to become a public company within five years. “Three years if the market is conducive,” he said. And the figures are already going in the right direction. Pro Platforms raised a $4.7 million venture round and are on track to be profitable by May while crossing $1 million in ARR by June.
Pro Platforms has plans to start raising a Series A later this year. One major use of these funds is to grow the company’s sales team. “We have 20 new employees starting every month,” said Leo, which is significant since the company currently has 24 employees overall.
“Ultimately, our plan is to hire about 100 account executives to do outbound marketing and inside sales to the contractors,” continued Leo. “That’s how big our database is. It’ll take us years to call these contractors.”
“This is a huge market,” said Leo. “We have a blue ocean ahead of us, and we’re enjoying the swim.”
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