If you drive most anywhere in Charlotte, you’ll notice many large apartment complexes under construction.
Last year, data from apartment analysis and property management company RealPage revealed that Charlotte’s apartment market had grown almost 31 percent in the last eight previous years, faster than any other major U.S. city.
While all this new construction brings jobs and progress, the way plans are relayed to construction workers is not exactly modern.
There are many different kinds of plans for each building you walk or drive past, including your own home. These plans include everything from electrical wiring to plumbing to flooring type and paint colors. But many times, that information is not consolidated. Plans are scattered in different places with limited access from a select group of people.
“The original idea for Vizla came in 2016 while I was in Virginia,” Ayala said. “I was working for a general contractor. A lot of time was being eaten up explaining the plans to workers on construction sites. Going through that process I realized there had to be a simpler way.”
Easy Does It
The workers Ayala was looking to help were the ones who unknowingly presented him with a solution.
“I noticed they would share plans with each other through texts,” Ayala said. “When I would show one the page where the information was, he would take a picture and send it out to his other buddies. And I was like, how is it possible that the actual workers physically building these multimillion-dollar structures do not have access to this information.”
CBG Building Company relocated Ayala to Charlotte. In his spare time, he got Vizla off the ground and by using Quick Response (QR) Codes developed a way to easily get key information into one place.
“We eliminate the search,” Ayala said. “Our platform extracts the information to build each individual space from all the files — architecture, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and finishes,” Ayala said. “We embed this information on a QR code sign.”
The QR code signs are located throughout the job site.
“The signs clearly show location and the name of the room, plus our QR code,” Ayala said. “Everyone on the jobsite simply walks up to our QR codes, scans them and boom — instant access to the information. But even better, the information is already packaged, easy to digest without the need to go back and forth between multiple documents to understand it.”
Vizla’s intent is to increase productivity in the construction industry by reducing the amount of time workers search documents to find relevant information.
“I named my company after the Vizsla — a Hungarian pointer dog — as they are best known for being great pointer dogs and for fetching,” Ayala said. “In our case, our platform Vizla fetches the construction information for everyone.”
Building a Business
Vizla is not Ayala’s first rodeo as an entrepreneur. He is, however, very focused on this latest venture. A grant last December from NC IDEA allowed Ayala to work full-time on Vizla.
“I’ve always had the sense to build something and work for myself and to have the ability and the flexibility to change something if you don’t like it,” Ayala said. “My focus is on sales right now. I’m looking to do a seed round later this year and really expand the company.”
Following the seed round, Vizla will expand to different verticals.
“But right now the hyperniche focus is on multifamily dwellings,” Ayala said.
While Vizla’s solution is practical, Ayala knows there are implementation challenges.
“The obstacle now is I’m a construction guy and I know how my market views people selling them stuff,” he said. “Breaking through to an industry not known for using software is difficult. I’m learning how to tailor my pitch and my solution so it brings value to the construction companies.”