University of Louisville-born construction technology startup, MetaConstruction Technologies LLC, has launched its first product.
The product, BlackTop, is a software platform that lets asphalt contractors locate dump trucks and get the right number to construction sites.
“It feels great to reach this milestone as a company,” CEO Nick McRae said. “As the 2018 construction season gets underway, we are excited to work closely with our current and future customers as they leverage BlackTop to request and track their virtual fleets.”
McRae and co-founder Max Kommor met in the Entrepreneurship MBA program at the UofL College of Business, where students learn how to launch their own companies.
McRae’s background was in software development and information technology leadership, and Kommor had worked in the heavy highway industry. So, starting a construction technology company made perfect sense.
“Assembling a talented development team to bring BlackTop to life was a fun, rewarding experience and one that was made possible through support we received from the University of Louisville, Vogt Awards and Awesome Inc.,” McRae said.
The team conducted more than 300 customer discovery interviews to identify pain points as they developed their product.
According to the company, typical GPS fleet management solutions use expensive hardware and are built just for companies that own trucks. The BlackTop platform lets the people contracting those trucks request vehicles from preferred trucking vendors directly and track drivers using a free mobile app.
The MetaConstruction team has been working toward this launch for a while. As students, they pitched the idea in several new venture competitions throughout the state, including UofL’s Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge. In that challenge, they had coaching from the Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship at the UofL College of Business.
“We are extremely proud of the MetaConstruction team,” said Suzanne Bergmeister, the center’s entrepreneur-in-residence and assistant director. “It’s been amazing to see them build this business — first as UofL students, and now as alumni.”
They refined the idea as participants in the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps site program at UofL, which provides training and mentorship.
“This team has tremendous entrepreneurial spirit and drive,” said Dr. Van Clouse, co-principal investigator for the Innovation Corps program and director of the UofL Forcht Center. “We’re very proud of what they have done so far, and look forward to seeing them build on their success.”
McRae said there are already plans for that. Now that BlackTop is out, he said the team is looking forward to expanding into the four-state region of Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio.