Justin Witz, CEO of Catapult, is building a company that will make the RFP (request for proposal) process more efficient but he is not doing it alone. Justin’s father, David Witz, founder of PlanTools, has his DNA in Catapult as well. Justin, David, and the rest of their family make up Team Awesome, the driving force behind all Justin does. “Catapult has always been beyond me,” says Justin. “Everything I do, I do for them.”
In middle school, Justin started his first company. He set up networks for small companies and grew the business through referrals. At the age of fourteen, he became a paid gamer for Blizzard Entertainment and had a following of 2,000 gamers on World of Warcraft. Eventually, Justin evaluated games and wrote reviews for PlainGames, a small Christian gaming company. “Soccer and gaming were my two things,” says Justin. “I was that introvert, extrovert kid. An ambivert!”
In addition to gaming and soccer, Justin worked odd jobs here and there, including rebuilding motorcycles, which he says was the most enjoyable odd job of all. After six months at Central Piedmont Community College, Justin realized school was not his next step. His next step was the U.S. Air Force. “I always knew I wanted to join the military,” says Justin. “September 11th I was in ninth grade Spanish class as I witnessed the towers falling and our nation in a vulnerable state. At that moment, I knew I would serve, I just didn’t know when.”
Justin served in the United States Air Force from 2006-2010 at Vandenberg AFB, CA. One night at a bar, Justin saw a beautiful woman, Marissa, who was picking up her roommates. They married in 2008 and have two children together, Liam and Caleb, all members of Team Awesome.
While in the Air Force, Justin was an Electrical Engineer and deployed for six months to Balad, Iraq in 2010. The spark that led to Catapult came during his time as the Project Manager for a satellite launch that NASA, Lockheed Martin, and the country of Italy were working on collectively. Justin describes the process of trying to find the right vendor for the project as “hair-pulling and aggravating.” “Wealthy countries were using paper to manage and execute the procurement process,” says Justin. “I would find one document that would say one thing, and another document would come in days later and say something completely different that was never communicated.”
Justin knew there was a way to capitalize on making the procurement process more efficient. After the military, he joined his father’s company, PlanTools, which had a pre-existing RFP system. “PlanTools gave me the foundational piece I was missing,” says Justin. “It was that missing piece I needed to build out my RFP solution.”
In 2015 Justin laid out the wire-frames for Catapult in less than 24 hours. The only change that has been made to the product has been the color scheme. Looking back at the time Justin spent understanding the problem and building his solution, Justin says, “I don’t do anything until I know I can perfect it."
The naming of Catapult was the most difficult part of the process. Justin went through about forty names before landing on Catapult one day in the shower.
Catapult now has a team of six working on the product and a team of seven advising. Justin’s hope is that Catapult will make a massive footprint on the Charlotte community, which has been his home since 1999. “We are going to be a community-driven business that invests back into the community to help build it further,” says Justin.
Justin hopes to host code schools in a Catapult building he plans to build once they hit it big. “I want to show people that you can make something from your own mind,” says Justin. The Catapult building will have a soccer field on top and a park around it, allowing for plenty of time dedicated to family and community. Justin’s vision for Catapult is something Team Awesome taught him from Day 1: there is no ceiling when you have multiple minds building together.
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