Age 34 | President, Submittal Exchange LLC

Starting his own business was scary, but creating jobs, hiring employees and serving clients has made the experience worth it for Matt Ostanik.

Ostanik started Submittal Exchange LLC, an online construction communications software company, in 2003. He went full time with the company a few years later, quitting his job as an architect at Frevert-Ramsey-Kobes Architects-Engineers P.C.

“Definitely the day I quit was one of the most scary and exciting days I’ve ever had,” he said. “It’s kind of like jumping off a cliff. You don’t know what you are getting into.”

Turns out, Ostanik landed on his feet. Submittal Exchange grew to about 35 employees and 40,000 users when it was acquired by Textura Corp. in 2011. No employee changes were made following the acquisition, with the exception of more than doubling the staff, he said.

Ostanik got the idea for Submittal Exchange when he found himself frustrated with the amount of paper that goes back and forth during a construction process.

It was a challenge to get the construction industry to get on board with the solutions he was offering, but Ostanik learned to develop a thick skin when trying to sell his product. But he has found it particularly rewarding to build relationships with customers and solve their problems, he said.

Helping people grow professionally has been the other most rewarding aspect of the job for Ostanik. He hired the company’s second employee in 2008 before experiencing more rapid growth after that, which “has been very cool,” he said.

Ostanik’s passion for architecture prompted his involvement in the American Institute of Architects’ Iowa chapter and the Iowa Architectural Foundation.

“The built environment – design decisions, how we shape things around us – just has a huge impact on the quality of life,” he said.

Five reasons he’s a 40:

• He founded and grew his own company to more than 40,000 users and about 35 employees.

• He was responsible for an annual year-over-year revenue growth rate of 350 percent over five years with the company.

• Upon Textura Corp.’s acquisition of Submittal Exchange, Ostanik reports as a senior executive for Textura.

• Serves on the board of directors for the American Institute of Architects’ Iowa chapter.

• “Matt is an extremely caring leader. In fact, one of his company goals is ‘Caring for People’ and Matt demonstrates this on a regular basis,” said Paige Horton, client experience manager at Submittal Exchange.

Mentor: Mike Upah, assistant director of the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship at Iowa State University, and Steve Carter, director of the ISU Research Park

Fun fact: Ostanik knew ever since he was a “little kid” that he wanted to be an architect. Architecture was “just something that’s always been in my blood,” he said.