How Justin Brian Smith Started a Scalable, High Growth Tech Business From a Contraband Cell Phone in Federal Prison

Justin Brian Smith has a gut wrenching story of insane risk, extreme loss, and new beginnings. He made monumental missteps in his mid 20’s that led him to serving years as an inmate. However, this ambitious and talented CEO was determined to make sure his downtime wasn’t going to be for nil.

He, with the collaborative effort of his Co-Founder and CTO, Roshan Sethia, started laying out the foundation of what would grow into a successful tech company. And he did it all from a contraband cell phone in federal prison.

“Prison changed my life. I read over 500 books in the first five years. I worked out every day. I started eating healthier. I became more extroverted.” He continued, “I realized I could utilize this time to better myself and grow both personally and professionally.”

It is often said, ‘The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same’ it all depends on what you make of it. This statement is certainly true for the CEO of Contractor Plus, who started his journey in the toughest of places, but eventually managed to turn things around, and even formed a team of talented developers and entrepreneurs.

Together, they came up with a cost-effective solution for field service contractors, that’s taking their niche by storm.

One fellow inmate said, “I remember watching him lay out all these sketches he was drawing [of Contractor Plus App] on the tables in the back of the unit. He would ask people to watch out the windows for the CO’s so he could scan in his drawings and upload them to his team in India.

It was so crazy watching him work. Most people spend their time working out and facetiming their girlfriends. Not Justin. He worked like a maniac all day, every day. He’s got to be the most intense person I’ve ever met. In a good way.”

Upon his release in 2020, he got a full time job as a supervisor in a warehouse, immediately registered their Delaware C-Corp, and with the help of family and friends, started recruiting developers in their Mumbai office. They shipped their MVP on November 30th, 2020, and have since grown to over 7,000 users and nearly $8,000,000 in user-generated invoices.

This success story is proof that no matter how big you fail, with the right mindset, and a killer work ethic, there is always an opportunity for redemption.

Contractor Plus helps field service contractors, remodelers, and property managers streamline their entire business, and it’s growing rapidly. Justin and his team have a Crowdfunding campaign on Wefunder that has already raised over $50,000 from 25 investors.

Justin’s journey is an inspiration to everyone who wants to do better for themselves. According to the man of the moment, it is important to make the best of the situation you are in. Even at the lowest of lows from inside the walls of federal prison, Justin never stopped pushing forward.

He is certainly proud of his product and his team at Contractor+and says, “My work at Contractor+ is all about helping our customers perform at their best. We have an amazing product and we decided to make the bulk of the functionality totally free. We can monetize ‘free’ so there’s no reason our users should have to pay for basic features like estimating and invoicing.

This is something that benefits everyone. Our entire team is so excited and extremely grateful to have such an incredible opportunity.”

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