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Our Founding Story

It’s not uncommon to hear stories of successful entrepreneurship that began at Harvard. After all, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard in 1975 to start Microsoft, and Mark Zuckerberg coded the first version of Facebook from Kirkland House. 

But ConstructSecure’s story is a little different. Our founder, Garrett Burke, was not a student, but the Associate Director of Occupational Safety at the University for almost a decade. In this role, he was responsible for ensuring the safety of Harvard’s students, faculty, staff and partners during major construction projects and facility operations. 

With billions of dollars of projects underway and hundreds of contractors, suppliers and vendors working around the Harvard campus, Garrett needed a way to assess and mitigate risk. 

He evaluated existing solutions for prequalification and safety assessment, but wasn’t satisfied. There was an ideological divide between their static, compliance-oriented tools and Garrett’s vision: a lifecycle approach that considered safety beginning at the project design phase and all the way through construction and operation of a new facility. 

Together with Harvard faculty and staff, Garrett designed an internal solution. They leveraged sophisticated analytics to support risk mitigation throughout the project lifecycle. And with his construction-industry colleagues always in mind, Garrett focused on the user experience and making enrollment simple for his partners. 

In 2008, at the request of the contracting community and with Harvard’s backing, ConstructSecure was spun out as an independent company. Since then, ConstructSecure has enabled the world’s most admired companies, including Google, Intel and Merck, to extend their winning streaks through dynamic risk mitigation.

In 2021, after a decade of bootstrapping ConstructSecure, Garrett took on investment from Summit Partners, a $24 billion growth equity firm. As part of the investment, Summit introduced a new CEO, Austin Merritt

Austin’s background as a successful software industry entrepreneur complements Garrett’s deep risk management expertise. Since teaming up, Garrett and Austin have continued to build ConstructSecure’s leadership team and chart an ambitious course for the company’s future.

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