We hired new folks this year, and as we went through the process with job candidates, I told the origin story of Moraware many times. I realized we don’t tell many of our customers about the old days, so here are the highlights up ‘til now.
A long time ago…
The story starts in 2002. Ted Pitts, my friend from college, has a brother who owns a countertop shop in Central Florida, Solid Image. Ted’s brother and the other owners of Solid Image asked him for help. Since Ted was a programmer living in Silicon Valley, he was a resource for all things computer-related.
Solid Image had bought other software to help with quotes, scheduling, and job management… but it was filled with bugs that made it unusable. “Can you fix it?”
“No, but I can write something better!”
Ted thought it’d be a project for a few nights and weekends, but it turned into something bigger. Ted already had the name for a company (Moraware) and was ready to take his side-project to other countertop shops.
He and I happened to have dinner right as he was quitting his day-job, and his excitement about the opportunity to make software for countertop fabricators was infectious. I offered my help to build a business and I quit my job shortly after that.
Slow, but steady growth
It was slow going at the beginning, but we were convinced that we could make a difference in the countertop industry. There were many things we didn’t understand, but we were also starting at a time when countertop fabricators were beginning to automate – both in the shop with CNC equipment, and in the office with software like ours.
In 2003, we had about 5 customers. In 2004 it was around 30. In 2005, more than 100. Thank you to all of those early customers for supporting us. We learned so much about the industry at the beginning, and it totally shaped the features of our scheduling software.
By the end of 2017 we had over 1600 countertop companies as customers, and a new one signs up with Moraware just about every day.
Building new products
We’re constantly making updates to our software, and even though many of the features we build seem small, they add up over time. Occasionally, we also built a whole new product from scratch.
In 2002, we had one product that helped with estimating, scheduling, and inventory for countertop businesses. Based on the feedback from our customers, we kept adding new features and refining them to fit the needs of more countertop shops.
In 2010, we were really excited when we built a free service to help connect fabricators with each other in order to buy and sell stone remnants. RemnantSwap is still going strong today, and if you’ve got remnants you want to post, you should do that for free.
Then, in 2012, we made CounterGo to draw, layout, and quote countertops. When we were first asked about doing drawings a decade earlier, we never expected that it’d be part of what we do. And now, it’s a huge part of our business.
The most recent development has been Systemize, which we released at the beginning of 2018. When we first started, there were no smartphones or tablets. So, even though we continue to solve the same scheduling and job management problems, we needed a modern way for our users to interact with our software. Systemize also gives us a platform for future innovation, which is a key part of what’s valuable to our users.
Looking forward, too
The future is even more exciting than the past. As our team grows, we need to make sure we keep improving all of the areas of our own business. That’s a combination of sales, customer support, software development, marketing, and operations. The way we do that is by continuing to do what we’ve done ‘til now – listen to our customers’ problems and build great solutions.
The challenges of supporting thousands of customers is very different from the first 20 (or 200), but we’re really looking forward to the opportunities in this awesome industry!
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