Featured Member – Jeff Wraley

Jeff Circle“If you are starting a business or even thinking about starting a business, then zWORKS is the place to be.”

Jeff Wraley is no stranger to startups or the Zionsville community. He grew up in Zionsville, before going to Purdue University and later living in Virginia. While there, he worked in construction engineering along with building a few startups along the way. They weren’t all successful.

“Sometimes you learn even more from failure than you do success,” says Jeff. “I have an entrepreneurial spirit and have pursued many ventures, each one helping me learn and grow.”

When he moved back to Zionsville with his family, he was searching for his next big idea. Determining what his next startup would be was a challenge of its own and Jeff tackled it by creating a bracket challenge. Through his bracket, he conducted several MVPs and pilots to determine which one of his dozens of ideas had legs. He narrowed down those 50 ideas to what would become his business today, Groundwork.

Groundwork is a software that is dedicated to helping contractors qualify their leads and find their ideal customers. Contractors get video walkthroughs from homeowners before the site visit so they know what they are quoting and can qualify good leads. Jeff’s engineering degree from Purdue University and his background in construction engineering led to the inspiration for Groundwork and helping companies in the construction and home improvement industries be more successful.

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, Groundwork was just getting its start. Jeff competed in zWORKS’ first Pitch Night competition, opening the door for him to connect with the wider zWORKer community. This opportunity allowed Jeff to meet other startups, connect with investors, and eventually hire a partner for Groundwork.

“That experience was so helpful simply to grow the business, but also enlightening,” says Jeff. “To see other startups and hear their challenges and solutions was a huge opportunity that I learned from and took away to implement at Groundwork.”

But COVID-19 challenged businesses of all sizes to adjust their tactics and business models. Luckily, the Groundwork platform was in the perfect position to show it’s value. Jeff expected it to take 5-10 years to get to this point of working virtually with contractors. Now, overnight the industry had to adapt to working virtually as much as possible. One contractor had over a hundred homeowners submit videos in just May of last year alone.

“The zWORKS community has been instrumental in making Groundwork the success that it is today,” says Jeff. “Not only did the exposure help bring our business to investors and partners willing to help, but it also gave me a community of fellow entrepreneurs to help navigate the surge brought on by the pandemic.”

With the huge spike in business, Jeff needed to bring on assistance. His LinkedIn post was shared with a zWORKer who had the perfect fit in his network for Jeff’s needs. Not only has zWORKS helped Jeff build the Groundwork team, it has been a source of support and connection with other startups. You can often find Jeff and Doug Wilcox of How’s Mom at zWORKS connecting to problem solve, ideate, and just chat, supporting each other through the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.

As Groundwork continues to grow, the team is looking to expand. While they are always looking for talented people, they are hoping to grow in Development, Sales, and Marketing.

Getting to know Jeff on a more personal level…

  • Jeff attended Zionsville High School and may still hold some records for receiving for the football team. Go Eagles!
  • Jeff and his wife sold their home in Virginia and bought a camper to travel for two months before moving to Zionsville. They drove 17,000 miles and hiked over 70 miles with the kids, seeing 9 national parks along the way.