The growth of early stage companies makes a substantial impact to Idahos tech ecosystem. Some of our states most prominent companies, such as HP and Simplot, emerged from startups formed with just a handful of people. The Idaho Technology Council seeks to foster the growth of small-tech companies and wants to impart lessons learned from startups success. Thats why the story of Locate Express, launched less than three years ago, is a great case study.
Locate Express was formed when its founder, Doug Joseph, recognized an innovative way to solve a compelling problem. Joseph recognized that creating a real-time location-based lead generator for service providers such as heating and air-conditioning contractors, landscapers and plumbers could help them serve more customers and improve efficiency. Locate Express uses a smartphone app that reports the location of service providers in the field and integrates with a website used by homeowners. Customers can visit the Locate Express website, plug in their address and the service needed, and allow technology to find the nearest provider. Within seconds, a customer can find and accept a qualified service provider.
Since its inception, Locate Express has succeeded in creating early adoption of its technology. Locate Express partners with the states Better Business Bureau to help its members quickly connect to trusted companies approved by the BBB. Last month, Locate Express also signed an agreement with the BBB in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. Another recent development is a partnership with the Ada County Association of Realtors, which will provide real estate agents with a tool to help their clients instantly connect with hundreds of local service businesses affiliated with the association.
What makes Locate Express truly remarkable is that this Boise company is competing against similar businesses across the country that have raised millions of dollars in funding. How can a small Idaho startup compete? Its not easy, but here are some lessons learned from Doug Joseph.
Be innovative in creating new business opportunities. Joseph recognized how his companys technology could be valuable for organizations like the BBB and ACAR, which emphasize connecting customers with trusted professionals.
Find your market niche. Through understanding the unique selling proposition of his companys technology, Joseph was able to break into the Boise market, find early adopters and create valuable partnerships.
Understand the competitive advantages of being small. Locate Express low overhead allows the company to structure partnerships at prices lower than larger companies, allowing it to enter small markets profitability. Since Locate Express is privately held, it can grow without concern for investor milestones or exit strategies.
The Idaho Technology Council wants to see future successes like Locate Express, which is why we focus on strengthening Idahos tech ecosystem. As businesses grow, they need greater access to capital and a trained workforce. They also need advocates who can represent their needs to state policymakers to ensure synergy between the private and public sectors.
Our vision is to create a business environment that can help Idaho tech companies rapidly launch and expand to larger markets. Through addressing many of the challenges early stage companies face, we can better help our entrepreneurs grow their businesses, create jobs and strengthen Idahos economy.
Jay Larsen, founder and president of the Idaho Technology Council. firstname.lastname@example.org; 422-9100 ext. 119