Levi Smith is no stranger to startups. Before he became the president of Boise, Idaho-based Franklin Building Supply, the native Texan founded an Austin barbeque business that shipped craft briskets nationwide to what he calls a “discerning base of customers.”
More recently, Smith has combined his personal passion for startups and entrepreneurialism with a professional interest in cultivating economic growth in Franklin Building Supply’s hometown of Boise. The result of those blended interests is a “vision for a home construction related startup ecosystem in Idaho.”
In other words, Smith wants to help make Boise an ipso facto capital of building supply innovation. Think of the connection between Hollywood and filmmaking, or New York City and high finance, and that’s kind of the idea.
One-on-One with Levi Smith
The HBSDealer One-on-One Video Series explores the topics of startup ecosystems and home-construction innovation with Levi Smith. Check out the video here.
One key feature of the contest is its reverse-pitch format. That means that entrepreneurs are giving industry-specific problems to solve.
Among the 2021 Problem Statements, supplied by industry participants, are the following:
• Job site theft;
• Theft or vandalism of equipment trailers;
• Lack of visualization tools;
• No process to pass along legacy knowledge;
• Training new hires working remotely;
• Better training and accountability to installers;
• Reduce waste of unused materials;
• Tracking the last contractor to leave a property.
Smith described that last problem statement as a particularly good example of the value of the reverse-pitch format. “You’d have to be in our industry for a while to realize that is a huge problem,” he said. “If you don’t know that the tile guys are done, for instance, you could lose a couple of costly days in the building cycle. You want to know who is the last person to leave. That is a unique problem in our industry.”