OWNERS: Private investors
LOCATION: Startupcity Des Moines, 317 Sixth Ave.

The Problem: 
When it came to making and approving payments between parties in the construction industry, the old method was burdened with extra tasks and paperwork, as well as wasted time waiting for that paperwork to be mailed to the next person involved in the payment process. Owners could be reluctant to release payment until they received lien waivers from contractors, and vice versa, which added both time and hassle to the payment process.

The Innovation:
EzNetPay LLC created the software, which allows users to submit payment invoices and perform other functions in the construction payment management process online. This includes signing approvals, obtaining lien waivers and managing stored procedures. Users are emailed when it is their turn to take action, and they can check the status of payment and other steps in the process online whenever they like. EzNetPay generates revenue from this business model by collecting transaction fees when payments pass through the software.

How They Did It:
EzNetPay originally started as EzPay LLC in 2006. The process of creating EzNetPay took a few years while the company obtained the necessary patents for and perfected its eznetpay software, according to Edward Muelhaupt, the company’s president and CEO. In 2013, the company brought in new investors and re-emerged as EzNetPay.

“This helped investors get a fresh start and clean up our capitalization table,” Muelhaupt said. 

The EzNetPay team was built from the ground up. This included filling the key roles of CEO, director of sales and lead software developer. The company also had to find the right investors, ones with expertise in software, construction, financial services and real estate development. The company’s primary target market are “project owners,” Muelhaupt said, specfically in the education sector.

“We are geared toward any entity or organization that does large volumes of construction,” he said. “We refined our approach to deliver (our services) to the target market, which included leveraging strategic partnerships and channels,”

Clients EzNetPay has worked with in the past include Iowa State University, Johnston Community School District and Des Moines Public Schools. It also has done business in three states, including Iowa, and Muelhaupt said he hopes to move the company into other national markets soon.

The Payoff:
After implementing the ezpaynet software, Muelhaupt said the company’s customers have experienced efficiency gains -- measured in both payment costs and time savings -- ranging anywhere from 30 to 60 percent.  

“One customer filled their new school with new desks with the savings from using the software,” Muelhaupt said. 

The company employs six people and plans to add another three to six employees within the next year to 18 months. Meanwhile, Muelhaupt said he’s excited about the prospect of Des Moines becoming the home base for what he hopes will be a way to revolutionize online payment management.