The TECHdotMN team would like to introduce you to each of the startups featured in the upcoming BETA showcase. Over the next couple of weeks, we will highlight each company, so you can get a better idea of the talent, hardwork, and dedication held within each of these startups.
The next company in our BETA Startup Showcase series is: Mortarr
Mortarr is an imagery-driven and search-based website and app that serves the commercial construction and design industry as the new source for project inspiration, products, and pros.
Tell us the story of how and why you started your company.
Mortarr evolved from the commercial design division of The Marketing Plant, a boutique marketing and design agency in Albert Lea, MN, owned by Abby Murray and Amy Petersen, two of Mortarr’s eventual co-founders. After years of battling through inefficiencies in commercial design at The Marketing Plant, the two were inspired to create a solution that brought the inspiration necessary to dream up commercial projects together with the resources and professionals needed to bring them to life. Murray and Petersen eventually partnered with a third co-founder, Steve Pulley, who brought with him decades of executive leadership experience. All three co-founders carry a diverse yet complimentary skill set – marketing, sales, design, and finance. They came together to bring the commercial design world together.
While the concept for Mortarr was imagined years ago, after thousands of rabbit-hole internet searches for conference room tables, hundreds of flights around the country to catch the latest trends, and one broken ankle from lugging dozens of heavy samples to a meeting, it was legally founded in the spring of 2017. Mortarr.com launched in the summer of 2018, and quickly proved its worth through the quick and enthusiastic adoption of many leading players within commercial construction and design. Mortarr users include those from firms such as Sherwin Williams, Allsteel, Gensler, Crossville, Perkins & Will, Kohler, Skanska, Herman Miller and Interface. Mortarr’s app, available on iOS and android devices, launched in April of this year.
Mortarr was developed exclusively for the commercial construction and design industry as a way to fill the void for architects, brands, contractors and subs, designers, and engineers in the industry who are not yet embracing online marketing. Trade shows and industry publications are still the primary method these firms use to get in front of their audience: to inspire future projects, display their product samples, and showcase their services. While these traditional approaches are still valuable, Mortarr is the first of its kind to connect this industry with decision-makers searching online. No more waiting for the next show or next publication release to display their latest to their target audience.
From companies and professionals who offer the services, to brands providing the products to outfit the structures and spaces, and finally, the clients or “end-users” such as business owners and facilities directors who initiate the projects, the site currently features subscribers representing 20+ different sectors. Mortarr is currently home to 20,000+ images from pros and brands across the industry.
What’s your most recent success or milestone hit?
In just over one year live, Mortarr has become the leading online source for commercial construction and design projects, inspiration, products and professionals across the country. Our site boasts over 20,000 project photos from approximately 600 companies and by June of this year, Mortarr reached a pure commercial audience of over 5,000 weekly users. Mortarr has made over 1.1MM online impressions via Google and our social channels.
Similar platforms have been developed over the past decade in the residential space and transformed the way homeowners find ideas, products and professionals and in turn helped firms market their services and draw in prospects to see their work. Mortarr is filling this void in the commercial industry which actually has a 35% larger market spend than the residential industry ($781B in 2019!). These 20,000+ images are a strong indication of the fast adoption by pros and brands and yet it only represents a fraction of the opportunity to modernize the commercial industry and its 250,000+ companies in the space.
Where do you see your startup in 1 year?
We expect to see our user growth continue at a rate of 25% month over month, reaching 1 million users per month by the end of 2020.
We’ll continue to roll out partnerships with entities including the American Society of Interior Designers, the Commercial Interior Design Association, the American Institute of Architects, the International WELL Building Institute, AEC Daily, and BIMobject. These partnerships will allow us to not only enhance current Mortarr features, like product specification, but roll out new features as well.
We’ll socialize Mortarr, pulling in features from social media sites, such as LinkedIn, allowing companies and their employees to more easily call attention to their work, connect on projects and network to enhance the industry overall.
Our initiative, Mortarr in the Classroom, will continue to be adopted by colleges and universities across the country and enhanced with our current partners: Columbia University, Arizona State University, UW-Stout, Syracuse University, Texas Tech University, and the University of Minnesota. This initiative encourages both faculty and students to use Mortarr as the resource in the classroom, streamlining the way most of their inspirations for projects and course work are sourced today.
For more information, please visit: Mortarr