Eight years ago, Willy and Jabbok Schlacks came to Columbia Startup Weekend with a plan to make it easier for construction companies to access a digital database of equipment available to rent or track in-house assets.
Their vision won and laid the foundation for the founding of Columbia-based EquipmentShare a year later, which now has more than 80 locations across the United States and more than 2,700 employees.
EquipmentShare is a Startup Weekend success story.
“We were really excited to see this (business) support happening in the local community,” Willy Schlacks said of Startup Weekend, adding that they are now happy to support the event and foster local entrepreneurship. .
Continued:A new technology company in 54 hours? It’s possible with Columbia Startup Weekend
This year’s Startup Weekend began on Friday and was scheduled to end on Sunday, with another prize awarded to help boost another Missouri-based tech company.
Startup Weekend has returned after a two-year hiatus thanks to Scale, a venture capital and business accelerator also co-founded by the Schlacks brothers, along with Jai Malik, and operated by Brett Calhoun.
EquipmentShare was a major sponsor of Startup Weekend and provided its Bull Run Drive headquarters as the venue for the weekend event.
A vision for EquipmentShare
The Schlacks brothers know the business world well and have created several companies. They started early in the construction industry, Willy Schlacks said.
“We’ve been building businesses since we were in our early teens. They were in construction, service-based, tech-based, e-commerce, real estate, restaurants. All over the map,” a- he declared.
The success of StartupWeekend has seen EquipmentShare valued at over $1 billion.
In the construction industry, there was no standardized platform to track construction assets in real time, Schlacks said. This included people, supplies and equipment. It was the impulse to create.
There have been previous attempts to track inventory using other forms of software, but without standardization these have failed. That was EquipmentShare’s goal: to standardize the process.
“We wanted to build a platform and first and foremost create a digitization of the (construction) environment,” Schlacks said. “If you can have a digital replica of inventory, that really starts to open up opportunities around measuring and improving productivity.”
The brothers wanted people to be able to scan inventories of whatever they were doing and make them visible through a platform so other people and businesses could see what was available.
“The power of being able to access this data has a real impact on businesses when managing fleets of hundreds of thousands of machines that they own and rent. Being able to see it all on one dashboard has an impact,” said said Schlacks. .
A technological platform is developed
EquipmentShare now has a technology platform known as T3 to help not only the company, but also other construction companies know what equipment inventory is available.
While T3 came after the creation of EquipmentShare and its success at Startup Weekend, the groundwork for its development was laid thanks to the weekend event.
“At the same time, we have a very large (equipment) distribution business, and that leverages our technology platform. We’re really able to deliver a holistic experience for our customers,” Schlacks said. . “Everything is connected. Every EquipmentShare asset is connected within our distribution network.”
So, if a customer leases from EquipmentShare, the company handles the logistics of supplying that asset and servicing that asset. All of this is connected to EquipmentShare’s T3 platform, allowing customers to see what’s available.
T3 connects assets, or equipment, people and materials, and “provides the workflows to really step into the modern age and run a business within a modern digital platform,” Schlacks said.
EquipmentShare’s success is built on its people, he added.
“There are phenomenal individuals making things happen every day. It’s fun to see,” Schlacks said, noting that the work continues.