To start 2019, I want to introduce you to the three founders of LandscapeHub. A few weeks ago, I told my story. Now, I’m excited to welcome Chad Cooper to share his background and why he’s excited about being a part of LandscapeHub.
Thank you, Chad!
First off, I want people to know that I’m actually an amateur plant person. I have a weekend farm in Northern Indiana, so I’ve actually used LandscapeHub to place large orders for trees and stone. It’s exciting to be using the product while also building it.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves, though. Let’s rewind.
I came from the engineering world out of school. I worked in engineering development in the programming world for a lot of companies. I saw lots and lots and lots of projects.
“The Internet Space”
In 2000, I first got into what I called, “the internet space.” I was working for an insurance company but I wanted to work for tech companies, so I went to work for cars.com. I thought I’d be there for — max — 6 months. I stayed for ten years. The parent company of cars.com had several companies, including apartments.com, cars.com, and homefinder.com. I learned digital marketing, how to build websites, and how to build online products that made money. It was different than a more traditional company, but I got used to it and liked it. Every six months I’d be doing something different.
That was the beginning of my three-pronged career transitioning and balancing between business development, coding, and leadership. I didn’t plan on getting into leadership, but after working with so many managers, I thought, “I can do this differently.” So in addition to business development and coding, I started wearing a leadership hat.
“The Startup Space”
Then I met the founders of Grubhub and they said, “We want you to come help us. We’re starting to scale the business.” So that’s what we did. I had been reinventing myself every three months but at Grubhub we saw incredible change every three months. From 2010-2013 I helped them scale massively on all fronts — products, engineering, technical operations — all of which culminated in the IPO.
I thought, “I want to do that again,” so I went to work for GiveForward, which was eventually purchased by GoFundMe. Along the way, I was advising companies and doing assessments, but I couldn’t quite find something else that got me as excited as those early companies.
Making Space for LandscapeHub
I bought my farm and started renovating it to be an Airbnb and an event space. I’m really into being outdoors and backpacking. I was not thinking about tech at all.
But then someone said to me, “You should talk to Lisa Fiore. She’s in the landscaping space and has a startup.” I took a meeting with her and heard her story. Then I agreed to join LandscapeHub as a founder and an engineer.
Here’s the neat part about that: I had been in the startup space for a while and never really thought I’d be a founder myself. I thought, “there’s nothing I’ve come across that I’d co-found.” But then, I met Lisa and her passion became mine. I thought it felt right from the first meeting and I still feel that way today.
“A Growing Space”
On a day to day basis, I work with the software engineers — hiring and building up the team and creating the website. One part that has been my baby since the beginning is working to integrate with the supply side of the business, including standardization of data for the industry.
This year I’m excited to get the product in front of more landscapers and we’re in a much better place to illustrate how we can help. It seems like a lot of the green industry uses online tools in the rest of their lives, but then they go to work and check everything online at the door. Everyone is doing so much manually, and there are tons of problems with that. Being able to help solve those problems is amazing.
What Gets Me Out of Bed Each Day
When I was working at Grubhub in 2010, it was during the recession. We’d be working away, creating online ordering, loading restaurants, and building features, and then, all of a sudden, two people would walk in the door carrying food with tears in their eyes. In 2011, when small businesses were hurting, we were building this platform to get them orders and put buyers in front of their product. They were so thankful.
That’s what I love about LandscapeHub. We’re helping small businesses compete with bigger businesses and helping them make it and grow. We can help small suppliers weather a bad year and smaller buyers with solutions they might not have had before.
Each day, the team evaluates what we’re doing and if we’re working on something that’s not adding value, we stop and work on something else. Overall, I’m most excited about the people and teams we’re building. It’s pretty cool: that company we were talking about back in 2016 is now employing 18 people. And it’s just the beginning.