Meta Construction Technologies founders Max Kommor, left, and Nick McRae at the recent 2018 World of Asphalt trade show in Houston. | Courtesy of MCT

A local startup has introduced software that aims to help asphalt companies save time and money by allowing them to more efficiently manage the dump trucks that bring material to construction sites.

Meta Construction Technologies, founded in 2016, this week released BlackTop, a mobile tracking and dispatch software that allows asphalt contractors to request and track dump trucks, much like one might call and keep track of an Uber.

MTC was founded in 2016 by construction project manager Max Kommor and software developer Nick McRae. The two met while getting their MBAs at UofL.

Kommor, while working on construction projects, frequently heard from asphalt contractors that they struggle to make sure that the right number of trucks delivers material at the right time for construction to continue smoothly.

“Trucking is their No. 1 issue,” Kommor told Insider recently.

The contractors don’t generally own the trucks that deliver materials, but subcontract with one or more trucking companies, depending on the size of the job. That makes it difficult to keep track of the trucks’ location and estimated arrival.

“They either overtruck or undertruck,” said McRae.

Too many trucks on a job site means material sits around unused, which wastes time and money — and too few trucks means not enough material is available to continue construction, which also wastes time and money.

Delays of even a few hours can easily cost contractors thousands of dollars — never mind that they may face additional costs to catch up, or even penalties if they finish the job late. BlackTop also allows companies to save money by being able to handle the work with fewer dispatchers.

With BlackTop, which has been in beta testing, the asphalt companies can now see on computers or mobile devices where the trucks are and when they will arrive — and they can dispatch additional trucks if the job requires more asphalt. The app provides information about the driver’s name, speed and heading.

Asphalt company dispatchers can get a real-time view of their entire fleet, even if the trucks are owned by different companies, McRae said.

In the last few months, the Louisville entrepreneurs have collected feedback from testers.

Roscoe Willis, of Hall Contracting of Kentucky, told Insider via email that Kommor and McRae “have been very open to ideas and changes.”

“We feel this can be a helpful tool to allocate logistical resources that can maximize efficiencies and create real-time results,” Willis said.

Kommor and McRae had received significant attention already, including a Vogt Award last year from the Community Foundation of Louisville and Greater Louisville Inc.’s EnterpriseCorp. Because of that award and other startup capital, the business owners still have funds available, and they said they expect BlackTop to generate enough revenue in the next few months to cover operating costs.

Kommor said the BlackTop payment model is still evolving but generally involves clients paying MTC a monthly subscription fee tied to use. The company is targeting medium to large general contractors and asphalt companies.

MTC employs just the founders full time for now, though, the company has hired five subcontractors to help with development and quality assurance. Kommor said MTC is looking for more investors.

The company recently landed a third prospective customer in Indiana, he said, which the founders hope marks the beginning of a geographic expansion. They say they are targeting the southeast, because warmer weather extends the construction season.

McRae said the entrepreneurs have received good feedback about BlackTop at a recent trade show of the Plantmix Asphalt Industry of Kentucky and at World of Asphalt in Houston.

Kommor said MTC hopes to offer BlackTop in 48 states within five years.

Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.


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