Bricks And Bytes Podcast

Fraser Patterson – Skillit – Q&A

fraser-patterson skillit construction labor shortage

This Q&A is taken from the full podcast episode we recorded with Fraser.

Q: Can you tell us about your journey from working as a carpenter to founding startups in the construction technology space?

A: My journey has been quite unconventional. I started as a carpenter, but I’ve always had a love for math and an entrepreneurial drive. Being a carpenter taught me valuable lessons about risk mitigation and problem-solving.

As a general contractor, I gained experience in managing complex projects and understanding the challenges facing the construction industry. This ultimately led me to found startups in the construction technology space, first in Mexico and then in the US with Skillit.

Q: What are the main challenges you see in the construction industry, particularly regarding skilled labor?

A: The construction industry is facing a critical shortage of skilled labor, with over 90% of companies struggling to hire craft workers. The hiring process for these workers is often antiquated and lacks digitization, making it difficult for employers to find and recruit the right talent.

There’s also a lack of comprehensive data on workers’ skills, experience, and preferences, which hinders workforce development and retention efforts.

Q: How does Skillit aim to address these challenges?

A: Skillit is a data-driven recruitment platform that focuses on creating detailed profiles of skilled construction workers. By digitizing worker information, including their skills, certifications, work history, and job preferences, we make it easier for employers to find and hire the right people for their projects.

Our platform also helps workers showcase their abilities and connect with job opportunities that align with their goals and experience.

Q: You mentioned that many construction workers are now seeking full-time employment rather than gig work. Can you elaborate on this trend?

A: Absolutely. According to our data, 92% of the tens of thousands of workers onboarded by Skillit are looking for full-time positions with employers who value their skills, offer fair compensation, and provide growth opportunities. This challenges the notion that most workers in the gig economy prefer independent contracting.

We’ve found that stability is a top priority for many construction professionals, especially those in the early stages of their careers.

Q: As a startup founder, what do you believe are the key skills necessary for success?

A: I believe that storytelling is one of the most essential skills for a startup founder. Being able to craft and communicate a compelling narrative is crucial for attracting investors, recruiting top talent, and winning customers. A CEO must also be able to define the company’s strategy, set clear goals, and shape the organizational culture.

Additionally, having a strong sales acumen and the courage to make decisions in the face of uncertainty are vital for navigating the challenges of building a successful startup.

Q: Can you share your approach to fundraising and any advice you have for other founders?

A: My approach to fundraising involves several key elements. First, it’s essential to conduct thorough research to identify investors who are the best fit for your company based on their investment thesis, stage focus, and expertise. I recommend developing an “ideal investor profile” and being highly targeted in your outreach.

Second, crafting a compelling founder story is critical. Investors should resonate with your background, mission, and the problem you’re solving. Third, have a clear plan for how the raised capital will be used to achieve specific milestones, and be prepared to articulate this plan convincingly.

Finally, run an organized fundraising process, engage with potential investors simultaneously, and be direct in seeking definitive answers. Remember that choosing the right long-term partner is just as important as securing the funds themselves.

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