CompanyCam has roots in local business
Luke Hansen is no stranger to running a successful business.
Hansen's family owns and founded Lincoln's White Castle Roofing, a longtime local business staple. Hansen said he grew up working for his dad and has worked in the construction and roofing industry for nearly his whole life.
Hansen now owns CompanyCam, a software service that allows contractors to easily share pictures and keep track of renovation progress with coworkers. Hansen said the software is unique in its capabilities and is the fastest growing app in the roofing industry.
The company is currently headquartered in the Haymarket, where Hansen and his seven employees work.
Hansen sat down with Downtown Lincoln to discuss the origins of his business and why he chose to get started downtown.
Downtown Lincoln: How long has CompanyCam been operating?
Luke Hansen: We officially became a business last March. We’d been working on it for a bit before that-- for maybe six months-- as something for White Castle to use. It’s really an app or software for contractors.
DLA: Did you start with your family?
Hansen: At White Castle Roofing, I got put in charge of our siding and gutter division. I didn’t know as much about that as I did about roofing which I had been doing forever. I wanted to know more about the jobs, keep better track of things. I wanted to be able to look over our projects and talk to our guys before we went out to do the work. But we didn’t have any good ways of keeping track of our photos. Guys would go out, take a couple pictures and hand me their memory card from a phone or e-mail me and it was just a hassle. I kept thinking, there’s got to be some better way to do this. I just could not find anything made for a company like ours. And so I thought, we need this [software] and even if we just make it and use it, that’s something, but we’re pretty sure other people need this too. So we started working on it just for White Castle and then last March we hired Chad who was working at Hudl to be the CTO. And that’s when we really got serious. Then we released it last July. So we’ve been in business since then.
DLA: Is it an app that you use with a website or how exactly does CompanyCam work?
Hansen: The category would be software as a service, meaning you subscribe and we store all these photos for you. It’s kind of like Facebook in that you can log in on the computer, see all the photos, photos reports but the idea is to use the app on the phone to take photos. A business would pay for their account and then they would add employees as needed to the account.
DLA: How’s the response been?
Hansen: Really good. You wish things would go faster and then things sound easier than it’s going to be, but we’ve signed up a lot of companies. We feel really good about it right now. We’re the fastest growing app in the roofing industry.
DLA: Do you have any new developments you’ve been working on?
Hansen: We do have a few cool things we’ve been working on. One of the big features that people really like –and the whole premise is your company can take photos that are then connected to that project and we use the GPS on your phone to figure out what project you’re at. Most companies take a photo and have to manually upload it to a Dropbox or whatever, which is fine if you’re working on one project. But White Castle Roofing, for example, they’re literally working on 20 construction projects every day because they’re all fairly small since it’s putting on a new roof or whatever, but then they have sales guys out as well and they probably have nearly 100 things going on each day. So we make it really automatic for them to just document what’s going on. It’s similar to Snapchat in that they can draw and write text on the photos and do all that. So right now we’re making that drawing portion way better so it’s easier and you can add shapes and little measurements and all that kind of stuff. We’re also in the middle of creating the perfect “Before and After” camera. So if you’re remodeling your kitchen and took some photos during the estimating process, you can use that photo to lay over the camera screen to take the after photo. Then we make a pretty before and after photo you can post on Facebook or send to a customer or whatever you want to do with it. I’m super excited about it and I think it’ll be very well-received.
DLA: Is CompanyCam only available for businesses or can people use it for personal use?
Hansen: Almost everyone, who uses it is associated with a business. That being said, my designer and web developer have been using it to chronicle the renovations for his house. We have some customers that are just one or two people, but it’s overwhelmingly used for businesses. Our average customer size is about eight to 10 users per company. You can use it for personal use, it’s just not very practical. Any one person with iCloud or Google Drive can fairly easily keep their photos organized. We do stuff like give a "project feed" so back at the office they can see the recent updates. It’s almost like a Facebook feed of all the projects going on. Doesn’t have much relevance for one person, and we’re exclusively marketing to businesses.
DLA: Has it always been known as CompanyCam? How did you come up with the name?
Hansen: I came up with some truly terrible names. CompanyCam is at least explanatory for some degree. I’ve found it’s always better to be clear than clever.
DLA: Why did you decide to create your headquarters in the Haymarket?
Hansen: You know, I didn’t want to buy into the hype of the Haymarket just because it looks cool. But part of it is there is this community of technology and startups down here and I wanted to be a part of that. It just worked out well that there was space here. People like working down here. The main thing was to be where the people are and downtown is pretty great as far as downtowns go.
CompanyCam is located at 809 P St #110.
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