BuildDirect Co-Founder Jeff Booth Steps Down as CEO

Jeff Booth has announced he is “regrettably leaving” BuildDirect, a Vancouver-based e-commerce company for home improvement supplies he co-founded nearly 18 years ago.

In a LinkedIn post, Booth described what led him to walk away, a decision that was ultimately fuelled by an unmatched vision for the company with investors.

Part of Booth’s reasoning was laid out in a retelling of how BuildDirect became a victim of their own success. He explained the online marketplace platform was rapidly growing—from 6,000 products on the platform to 150,000 last year—while facing technological hurdles.

“Suppliers who had been with us for years saw their products buried under the avalanche of new offerings on our site, and customers couldn’t easily find the products they needed. It’s much harder to hold faith in a grand vision when every new data point warns of disaster,” Booth wrote. “As this problem intensified, I made a fateful decision to bring more debt into the company to try and get to the other side of our technology build.”

The debt Booth is referring to is a $30 million USD investment the company received earlier this year. That financing was not made public but apparently valued the company at less than half of the $350 million valuation BuildDirect earned in 2014 when they raised $50 million, sources told the Globe and Mail.

“Today, that decision has created an unforeseen roadblock in how I lead BuildDirect from this point forward, specifically how to maintain our vision and how to protect the investment of staff, investors and partners who have believed in our company for the better part of 18 years,” he added.

Booth said his resignation is effective immediately.

“This journey has been more exciting and more terrifying than I could have ever imagined. It’s also been life changing,” said Booth “I have had a front seat view of how fast technology is changing the world. I set about to help change an industry and the job of trying to do that has changed me.”

Booth wrote for Techvibes earlier this year on finding a tech job with meaning.

“If a company is unfocused, or if its leaders can’t get everybody on board with its mission, what sounds like a dream job can easily turn into a daily grind,” he said. “Poor internal communication and competing priorities translate directly to less satisfaction and more frustration.”

There is no indication that Booth was referring to his own company while writing the piece, but his awareness regarding what it means to make an impact within a company and stay motivated can certainly be applied to his tenure with BuildDirect.

Booth also won the BC Technology Industry Association’s Peron of the Year award in 2015.

Photo by Chung Chow, Business Vancouver.