Chattanooga's Brickhunter brings e-commerce to brick, materials industry

Chattanooga's Brickhunter brings e-commerce to brick, materials industry

September 19th, 2018 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Carson Combs, the managing director of Brickhunter, poses for a photo Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at Brickhunter in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Brickhunter has received new funding to grow its business of matching consumer and sellers of brick and other building materials.

 

“Were working on developing a nationally recognized brand.”
Carson Combs, managing director of Brickhunter
 

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Meech Jones, a customer service representative, works on matching a customer's project Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at Brickhunter in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Instead of being required to take samples out to all customers, Brickhhunter is capable of matching most brick in their online database.

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Meech...

Chattanooga company bringing e-commerce to the brick and heavy building materials industry has secured $1.3 million in new funding that will help it grow.

Brickhunter will use the seed capital to develop its online platform that provides manufacturers and distributors of brick and other construction materials a marketplace to sell their products, said Carson Combs, Brickhunter's managing director.

The platform will help those businesses reach the entire country instead of limiting their shipping or distribution area, according to Brickhunter.

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Brick samples line the walls of Brickhunter Wednesday, September 12, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. While some brick samples are delivered to customers, Brickhunter has an online system that allows them to easily match existing brick without having to pull out all of the physical samples.

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Brick...

"We're digitizing the brick and mortar industry," Combs said. "We're first to the market for what we do."

The investment was made by KMA LLC in Jackson, Miss., and an angel investor from the software industry, he said. Butler Snow Advisory of Ridgeland, Mississippi, acted as a conduit for the funding, Combs said.

Kelli Cook of KMA said the construction industry in the United States spends more than $1 trillion annually.

She said the firm "is pleased to be part of the company as it scales to serve this sector."

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Sharon Combs, vice president of operations and sales at Brickhunter, works on assisting customers nationwide with brick purchases Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at Brickhunter in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Brickhunter has received new funding to grow its business of matching consumer and sellers of brick and other building materials.

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Sharon...

Brickhunter was started three years ago by Combs, 39, who moved to Chattanooga in the late 1990s to attend Southern Adventist University. He later finished his degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, entered the building materials industry, and then he decided to start his own company.

Combs said the business, which currently has four employees located off Riverfront Parkway, is expected to ramp up both its workforce and revenues. He foresees having between six and 12 employees within the next year.

In terms of revenues, he is targeting between $20 million and $25 million by year five, Combs said.

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Chris Cooper, director of logistics, and Meech Jones, customer service representative, work on customer orders Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at Brickhunter in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Brickhunter has received new funding to grow its business of matching consumer and sellers of brick and other building materials.

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Chris...

Plans are to launch a new marketplace platform by the end of this year, the businessman said. A new operating system will permit manufacturers and distributors, in a more cost effective way, to utilize a cloud-based platform to run their organizations in a real-time manner, according to the company.

With its software as a service (SAAS) platform, whether one is a consumer or selling, customers can get a product up on the internet or buy that item in an automated way, Combs said.

In addition, he said, the company is building its team and looking for talent.

"Chattanooga has a burgeoning tech scene," Combs said, citing the ultra-fast internet speeds which make the city attractive. "We're working on developing a nationally recognized brand."

He said one way to look at Brickhunter is as a mix of The Home Depot and Amazon, but for bricks and heavy building materials.

"We created the digital platform to meet both consumers and sellers that are already buying other materials online," Combs said. "It just makes sense."

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.


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