Founded in Clive, IA in 2020, Groov leverages advanced Land Development technology to help residential land developers. We spoke to Groov’s CEO Ryan Glick about what the company does and the help it’s gotten along the way from local sources.
What do you do at Groov?
Glick: We service the residential land development industry. We help residential land developers organize their land development data in one place. Ultimately, our focus is making land developers more efficient and allowing them to better serve their customers by having more accurate and consistent land development information.
Is land development an area that needs new tools?
Glick: Land developers today are very manual and, just like a lot of industries, they continue to use spreadsheets very heavily. With all their data being managed inside spreadsheets, it’s very difficult for them to then take that data and make it available to their key stakeholders or customers.
How did the idea for the company come about?
Glick: My co-founder and I worked together in a prior business. We were working with small home builder businesses building websites and handling their digital marketing and analytics. Through conversations with the business owners, we uncovered this efficiency problem in the land development industry. Also, my co-founder comes from a land development family so he has a background in the industry.
We proceeded to have conversations with various land developers in the area. After doing that for a few months, we ultimately came to the conclusion that our product was something the industry needed. From there, Groov was born.
Are you among the first in the industry doing this?
Glick: There are some competitors in the industry. Two of them are based out of Canada. One is based out of the United States. We’re approaching it a little differently than they are, though. We’re coming into it in a more nimble way. While they focus on shared market analytics, we focus on data accuracy.
Can you describe the tech?
Glick: We’re very focused on the residential side of things right now. Land developers will acquire a parcel of land that they want to subdivide into different lots. We provide information related to that parcel: the lot size, how close can a home built on that property be to the property line, etc. And different states have different elevations to consider–you can’t add the basement or the foundation if the home is too low.
We provide general analytics based on the data that they’re putting into the platform and we uncover insights based on that data.
What were some of the advantages of starting a company in Iowa?
Glick: The state of Iowa has some great programs through the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). We went through a process called Proof of Commercial Relevance Fund. We were awarded $25,000, which doesn’t seem like a lot of money but it helped us get to the point where we could release the beta of our product. Toward the end of using that fund, we did a pre-seed round and raised $100,000 in private funding.
We joined the Iowa Startup Accelerator this spring and we’re active in that now. The state of Iowa has these funding programs that you continue with as you grow as a company. This spring, we applied for their Demonstration Fund and we were just awarded that as well. We bootstrapped for a while but we have had a lot of outside help.