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November 06, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Edwin Williams about ready to launch pilot projects at Zenhammer

He pivoted from his original plans and is now focused on becoming a reporting site that serves general contractors that routinely manage anywhere from 20 to 80 subcontractors on a given day.

It was more than six years ago that we first wrote about a new business that Johnson City native Edwin Williams started developing while living in St. Louis. The company’s name at the time was Perserbid, and it started as the result of a challenge that his mother was facing trying to find a contractor for some work on her home.

Today, the company has changed its name to Zenhammer, but Williams’ focus on the contracting industry is still alive and well. He has made a couple of pivots along the way, the most recent coming as a result of participating in the “Arch Grants Start-up Competition.” During that year-long commitment that required him to reside in St. Louis in exchange for a $60,000 equity-free grant, Williams says he made another pivot.

Edwin Williams

“I met a general contractor who had looked at a small feature on our app and offered a good suggestion,” he explained. It resulted in what might be described as a 180 degree shift in the target customer.

Up to that point, Zenhammer had been focused on providing a tool to help subcontractors keep up with their work. The suggestion was to focus on becoming a reporting site that served general contractors that routinely manage anywhere from 20 to 80 subcontractors on a given day.

“We now can allow the general contractors to see data coming in real time from their subs,” Williams says, explaining that managing so many people doing so many different aspects of a construction project can be overwhelming.

He plans to launch pilot projects with small and medium-size contractors in the near future along with meeting with prospective customers during the “International Builders’ Show” in late February in Las Vegas. The three-day event hosted by National Association of Home Builders brings together more than 70,000 builders, general contractors, remodelers, designers, flooring professionals, as well as product specifiers from around the globe.

Williams, who says he is still very active in St. Louis, moved back to Johnson City last November. He learned of “The Works,” an annual offering from the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center that helps start-up founders who have moved beyond idea stage, have a product in the market, and are producing revenue (or are three months away from producing revenue).

“I sent my (pitch) deck to Jim (Biggs), we talked, and I applied,” Williams said. “I wanted to get the sales process going.”

“The Works” concluded with pitches from the participants during the “Raising and Rising” event held during “Innov865 Week” (see article here).

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