Necessity is the Mother of Invention: The Sekady Story by Diana Luoma

Residential Construction Project
  • April 5, 2024

When looking back on how Sekady came to fruition, there have been many surprises and unknowns, but one thing is certain: It was born out of necessity. I wouldn’t say I had a “master plan” to create a loan management software platform, and I certainly never set out to build something we’d ever monetize.

I had recently sold a successful invoice factoring company and had planned on taking the next few years to raise my three young teenagers. The housing market was absolutely booming and for several years I had loaned money to a handful of local builders. My husband had a small but successful residential building company, and after the sale of my company he asked me to help him out with the paperwork and money movement portion of his business. I thought this would be a simple process and I’d be able to kick back a bit, but oh was I wrong.

With my experience in invoice factoring, I understood the number one rule in lending: Secure the asset. As I switched my focus from factoring to construction lending, I realized the lending I had been doing all along was not secure. I had been receiving a draw package from a general contractor, writing them a check, and assuming they were paying all their subcontractors. I understood the concept of lien waivers but didn’t truly understand their importance until I was asked to sign an indemnity agreement at the title company. This was the moment I realized I was doing unsecured lending.

Not only was the lending unsecured, but the paperwork process in the construction space I thought would be simple and straightforward - was highly inefficient. Money moved with paper checks, and chasing down lien waivers was a painful process. Subcontractors wouldn’t bill for 6 months, and sometimes sent duplicate invoices weeks apart. Most of the documentation still managed with actual paper, and the 1099 process at the end of the year was the icing on the cake! I knew if these were the problems I was experiencing, others in my position had to be experiencing them as well.

I went looking for a software solution that could help me both secure my money and make the process of handling all the paperwork more efficient, but I couldn’t find anything to meet my needs. I still had a small team of software developers, so I asked them to build something that would help me manage my husband’s projects and my growing lending portfolio.

The first iteration of Sekady was simply a digital lien waiver feature that allowed me to electronically capture a signature and make a digital payment. Subcontractors loved the process because they didn’t have to use their lunch break to sign a lien waiver or go deposit a check. From there we added features to make the building process more efficient for the general contractor. When general contractors started asking me if they could use the Sekady platform even if I wasn’t the lender, I knew we had done something right and I was going back to work. So much for retirement!

Since then, we’ve grown to over 40 employees and continue to release powerful features to securely move money and provide visibility to all parties involved in the construction process. I no longer worry about a general contractor making their boat payment instead of paying their plumber. I know all my money is secure before it ever leaves my account. I hope to continue to meet fellow lenders and continue building and releasing new features and ways to help them be successful, because necessity truly is the mother of invention.

 

 

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