Chattanooga startup SupplyHog, which sells building supplies online, is growing, and its leaders said the company has the potential to change the landscape of the industry.
Although it seems that most everything is online these days, SupplyHog's Director of Perfection Ben Johnson said that when the company started, many people were skeptical about a site that would sell products from many different manufacturers.
It hadn't been done before, he said. Before SupplyHog, the only place to buy building supplies online was directly from Lowe's or Home Depot, Johnson said.
And many people in the industry thought manufacturers wouldn't agree to let their products be sold from one online site.
"Traditionally how it's done is you've got to go to a bunch of different places to get the things you want," he said "And you're driving around town and loading them yourself. We would just ship it to the job site. Also, we are significantly cheaper than Lowe's or Home Depot."
Johnson said that SupplyHog—which got its start by winning the first Will This Float? competition—has fewer overhead costs, so they can sell products for less.
The company currently has eight employees, and leaders are looking to hire more. Johnson said they are looking for Web developers and designers and sales and customer service representatives.
Leaders are looking for a new office, possibly with warehouse space, and the company is getting support from investors.
500Startups, which is a seed fund and startup accelerator, recently announced it would invest in the company.
Now, half of the SupplyHog team is in Silicon Valley, working with leaders of 500Startups. The SupplyHog team has access to the accelerator's mentors, and soon, they will pitch to several investors in three different cities in hopes of securing more capital, Johnson said.
Johnson said SupplyHog's platform eliminates "busy work" and provides better value than the competition.
"Our platform brings transparency and efficiency to a market dominated by phone calls, shopping trips, fax machines, endless negotiations and personalized pricing," he said. "Then we throw in free drop shipping and contractor-level pricing just for drinking the SupplyHog Kool-Aid."