When brothers Jon and Ron Antevy were growing up in South Florida, they always pictured working together. Now they have — for 17 years.
Their cloud-based construction management software company, e-Builder, has been growing at a clip of 30 percent to 40 percent a year.
The 20-year-old e-Builder is approaching $40 million in sales this year, up from $28 million in 2014, chief executive Ron Antevy said. The company employs nearly 150 at the company’s headquarters in Plantation.
“Some people wonder how we’re able to do it — working together for 17 years. But we have very complementary personalities,” Ron Antevy said.
Jon, who founded the business in 1995, prefers working outside the office to visit prospects and clients while Ron likes managing the business and workforce.
“He’s a total relationship kind of guy,” Ron, 47, said of his brother Jon, 43.
Jon said: “I love the chase. I love the hunt. But I am not a process person. Ron is. I have so much respect for him and trust.”
The brothers usually eat lunch together. On Friday nights, they gather with their families. On weekends, they often go boating. The brothers also share a love of piano playing.
Last week, Ron Antevy was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year, one of four business leaders from Broward and Palm Beach counties given the honor.
“He’s awesome at execution,” said Georganne Goldblum, leader of the Vistage CEO group to which Antevy has belonged for 13 years. “Most CEOs will zig-zag a million times. He runs the course, figures out what he’s going to do and then builds on it,” she said.
The brothers were born with construction in their blood. Their grandfather and uncle both were in the business, and parents Ovadia and Victoria, now retired in Hallandale, were in real estate. The family moved to Hollywood from New York when Ron was just 5 and Jon was 1.
Ron graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida and then worked for Waste Management, first at its headquarters outside Chicago and then in Pompano Beach.
Jon joined his brother at UF, graduating with a degree in design and going on for a master’s in construction management. As a teaching assistant at UF, Jon said had access to a wealth of computers and software. That’s when he developed his idea for construction management software and wrote his thesis on it.
Upon graduation, he had the choice of a $55,000 job or starting a business with his thesis concept.
Ron urged his brother to start e-Builder — to be first in the market. He started the company in 1995, still living in his college apartment and driving a “beat-up Honda.” The early years were tough as the company struggled to find financing and sustain business.
So Ron, who had gained some business experience, joined e-Builder in 1998. “I saw a big opportunity,” he said. “The dot-com era was just starting to heat up.”
One change was to sell the software directly to company owners instead of contractors. That has kept revenue flowing as companies like hospitals have ongoing building projects.
Under the system, all contractors and architects on a project are required the owner to use e-Builder’s software. e-Builder becomes the central depository for a project — from invoices and building plans to documentation and project approvals.
“Everything runs through the system,” Ron Antevy said. “The advantage you have is transparency. The tool increases accountability and audit-ability. Nothing is lost in an e-mail or fax. When things come up after the project is finished, you can see how it transpired.”
Walid Achi, director of technology for Fort Partners, which is building Four Seasons hotels in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, said switching to e-Builder’s system about two years ago was a “no-brainer” to keep track of budgets, pay subcontractors and archive documents, drawings and invoices.
“The process saves a lot of money, specifically in keeping track of duplicate invoices,” Achi said. The system makes subcontractors happy, too, in expediting pay: “It used to take 60 days and now it takes seven to 14 days,” he said.
Contractors also can access e-Builder on their smartphones or tablets, which is important because they’re often working in the field.
The company met its biggest challenge in the 1990s in trying to find financing after the dot-com bust. “If you had a dot-com in your name, you couldn’t talk to anyone,” he said.
So e-Builder took on a minority investor but has since bought back that investor’s stake.
The nation’s recession from 2007-2009, which hurt most of the construction industry, actually boosted e-Builder’s business. Project managers were looking for ways to be more efficient and cut costs.
The company still sees a huge opportunity for e-Builder to grow.
“Seventy percent of our industry doesn’t have any system in place,” Ron Antevy said. “The industry is slowly adopting it. Facility owners are more careful about money they spend. Everybody is still careful after the recession. They need systems and controls and e-Builder plays right into that.”
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, e-Builder is giving $1,000 to 20 charities chosen a committee of employees.
For Jon Antevy, developing the e-Builder concept has delivered his dream.
“I get to do what I want to do when I want to do it so I can find time with family and friends,” he said.