While building a career in industrial construction and mining, Tyler Knock worked with earth and aggregates regularly. Aggregates are gravel, rock, sand, concrete, and natural products that come out of the ground. During a project bidding on a 200 mega-watt wind farm, Knock needed a massive amount of gravel but did not know who to contact in the area. He talked to farmers, asked local people, and navigated RM maps to try and track down landowners. When he searched the internet to seek out supply, he found himself at yet another dead end, which is when Knock came up with the idea of GravelHUB. Knock partnered with a Saskatchewan based Project Management firm Peter Lucas Project Management to make the vision a reality.
“The aggregate industry as a whole is kind of forgotten about,” Knock explains. “You’re forced to make multimillion dollar decisions at times with nothing more than a network of contacts or simply the people you’ve dealt with in the past. There’s no marketplace or platform for aggregate suppliers to market their product so buyers can find them.”
GravelHUB is a digital solution that answers a simplistic problem in nature: who has the gravel? Created for buyers, sellers, and industry partners, it’s an online, interactive, and map-based marketplace designed to buy and sell aggregate. Sellers list aggregate that they have available and buyers can search where they want their gravel, which takes haul distance and other arrangements into account.
“GravelHUB was built to make the whole process easier for everyone to save time and money” says the GravelHUB CFO Connor Regier. “Being able to easily access the supply chain for aggregate and gravel is crucial to the livelihood of our local businesses and communities.”
On the buyer side, GravelHUB’s user-friendly solution is built for anyone who is searching for aggregates such as individuals, private companies, municipalities, and government. On the seller side, the platform is an easy way to access the gravel market in Canada and list your products for sale.
“2020 has been difficult for everyone, and it’s challenging to ask people to look at new tech” Knock shares. “We want to remove as much friction as possible to enable people to do that.”
For industry partners, the platform addresses companies or individuals who work in the aggregate industry in some specialized fashion such as crushing companies, technical services, equipment companies, and more. By providing a dedicated and concentrated advertising solution, GravelHUB becomes a lead generator for these partners and helps connect companies with the users looking for their specific services.
GravelHUB has been working on initiatives to sustainably transport gravel through the railways by providing railway logistics for gravel and working with local governments on concepts for future steps. “By supplying aggregate closer to its destination, there are less negative impacts on roadways, infrastructure, the environment, reduced carbon emissions, and increased traffic safety,” Knock shares.
They are also working with Indigenous communities, as many have aggregate bearing land. There are often barriers preventing the communities from getting their supplies to market as it's common for people to be trucking aggregate in from quite a distance away and driving right past another source. The GravelHUB platform works alongside Indigenous communities to allow sourcing their product quickly and competitively, which leads to greater economic development through increased access to the market as well as increased visibility for the industry into the supplies found on their land.
In Canada, the mining, quarrying, oil and gas, and construction industries are the third and the fourth largest contributors to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, contributing $280 billion in March of 2020 alone. Almost every infrastructure project includes aggregate, so GravelHUB has been a game-changer for the industry. “We’re diversifying supply networks,” Knock explains. “Our goal is to distribute gravel more efficiently and widely.”
GravelHUB is currently the only digital marketplace for aggregate anywhere, and they’re working on growing in Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta, then eventually across all of Canada.
Being a technology-based company whose product improves Government service delivery, GravelHUB is an eligible Made In Saskatchewan Technology (MIST) company through Innovation Saskatchewan and the Provincial Government.
Since Saskatchewan has more kilometres of roadway than anywhere in the country, aggregate is crucial for the economy here so it’s been a great place to start. As well, the team are Saskatchewan born and raised so they understand the industry and challenges that are faced.
The Saskatchewan tech scene is vibrant and filled with experts, and the team has been working with a local firm to develop the platform. Knock says the government has been supportive of the idea and been open to giving time and taking meaningful actions to put resources forward, “I can’t imagine trying to do this with a government who wasn’t open to innovation.”
Founders: Tyler Knock
Incorporation Date: Late 2019
Employees: 3 (Tyler Knock, CEO; Connor Regier, CFO; Dennis Wilson, CSO)