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How Nisreen Hasib Is Navigating the Digital Future of Construction

Meet Nisreen Hasib, the Founder and CEO of Signoff, a company spearheading a digital revolution in the construction industry. 

Nisreen’s entrepreneurial journey is rooted in a childhood passion for building, ignited when she discovered architectural software at a young age. Her obsession for designing houses would eventually pave the way for Signoff, a platform born from personal experience. After a challenging house renovation, she identified the need to leverage technology for a smoother, safer, and more efficient construction process. At the heart of Nisreen’s mission is a belief that all individuals deserve secure and beautiful housing and those working in construction should have access to user-friendly digital tools.

We asked Nisreen about the founding story behind Signoff, the biggest misconceptions others have around entrepreneurship, and how she would summarize her journey thus far.

Tell us the story behind your company’s founding. How and why did you start working on Signoff?

I have always been obsessed with building. When I was nine or 10, I went with my mother to an office supply store. I liked to look at the different computer games that were available. That day, I saw a software for architects to draw floor plans and model houses. It was in the bargain bin. I asked my mother to buy it. I played with that software for hours and hours. I was obsessed with the presets, and I learned to design the houses without any guidance.

The year before I started Signoff, I was renovating a house in the Catskills. The renovation took about a year. During that time, I unfortunately had a falling out with my contractor. 

The disconnect, lapse in communication, and incompatibility of our working styles became something I spent a lot of time thinking about. I knew there had to be a way to leverage technology to make renovating and building better. I built Signoff because of my lifelong obsession with figuring out how to make it easier to build safely, securely, and beautifully. 

The United States is in the middle of a housing and labor crisis. The housing market is short by 6.5 million units. Experts estimate it will take a decade to build enough housing to meet supply. I think that is overly optimistic. Not only are we short on houses, we are short on labor and losing construction professionals every day. The workers who are retiring are not being replaced quickly enough. One of the biggest turnoffs for millennials and Gen-Z folks looking to enter the construction industry is its lack of digitization.

That is where Signoff comes in. Signoff is building a digital ecosystem for the construction industry. It is intuitive, useful, and forward looking. 

In what ways has your upbringing or past experiences contributed to how you operate as an entrepreneur?

I grew up in a very small town in California. I am from a blue collar family. Growing up, I spent my summers shoveling stables at a horse farm and working at the state fair and in service jobs. 

The people I grew up with and who I met when working are always top of mind for me. As a tech leader and entrepreneur, I am alarmed by how easy it is to isolate in a bubble of other entrepreneurs and tech people. I fear forgetting the experiences of people who are not always part of the creation of different new technologies—the same people who will inevitably be impacted by the dissemination of those technologies.

When you are building a company, you are creating an organization with a distinct culture that, when successful, will impact people outside of that organization.

As a leader, this means building a company that incorporates hiring structures that look for team members with experiences that augment or supersede experience gained in a university classroom. It means deeply understanding the jobs that we are doing for people in the field when we develop new feature sets. Ultimately, it means resisting the urge to remain in the tech bubble with folks like me.

What’s the biggest misconception that others have around entrepreneurship?

The thing that matters the most as an entrepreneur is not your technical skill nor your years in the field. Instead, you need to have a strong grip on a distinct world philosophy. In other words, you need to understand what you want in your ideal world. That implicitly and explicitly grounds everything you do and the way you move as a founder.

When you are building a company, you are not just making a thing that people will buy, a new way of connecting, or a technology that people will use. You are creating an organization with a distinct culture that, when successful, will impact people outside of that organization, whether it is through your employees’ families or through your ad campaigns.

Culture is grounded in a distinct way of seeing the world and imagining the world as you want it to be in the future. I challenge each founder and potential founder to ask themselves, “What do you want this world to be?”

Have you felt like giving up? What made you persist?

Three weeks before I launched Signoff, my partner and I decided to get divorced. In the 72 hours after that decision, I let go of a headliner that I had hired for a launch event, which meant I lost the venue as well. There were still major bugs that needed to be fixed on the Signoff platform. I knew that I also needed to figure out personal logistics like housing for the next few months. One day during that time, I just sat in front of my computer, opened up my email inbox, closed my eyes and said, “If any other sh*t needs to hit the fan, that call or email needs to come through now.” I sat there for 15 minutes, then called one of my friends and sobbed. She listened to me, didn’t say anything for a minute, and then asked, “Do you want to shut it all down?”

At that moment, I wanted nothing more than to sit under my desk, to wrap myself in a blanket, and to let everything wash over me. But when she asked me that question, I said, “No.” 

At the end of the day, I hold the vision of what Signoff can do at the front and center of my mind. I believe that all humans deserve safe, secure, and beautiful housing. I believe that people who work with their hands should have easy-to-use digital tools to grow and scale their business. All of that grounds the stubborn hope that gets me up each day, putting one foot in front of the other.

We dare you to brag: What achievements are you most proud of?

I feel like my life moves in 12-year cycles. When I look back at these last 12 years, I am extraordinarily proud of the work that I did as Unbound’s COO, working alongside the founders and team to build and scale a radical company that exists to make it safe for all women, femmes, and non-binary people to find joy and pleasure in their bodies. 

I am so proud of the work that I have done over Signoff over the past year. I started the company in September 2022. At that point, I had nothing. In October 2022, I had a working product in the hands of 40 general contracting firms. By February 2023, Signoff had been accepted into Techstars. Over the summer of 2023, we revamped and relaunched the Signoff product on Signoff’s first birthday. Today, Signoff contractors are working with designers and architects who have been featured in publications like Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, and The New York Times. Signoff has come so far, and there is so much on the horizon. I cannot wait to see what’s next.

What have you learned about building a team and a support network around yourself?

I am not good at celebrating milestones. I am very much someone who hits a mark and, instead of taking a moment to celebrate, checks off that milestone as something on my to-do list.

My team consists of an executive coach, my therapist, mentors, and dear friends. These people help me to keep perspective and to celebrate all wins. 

Through this network, I am reminded to give myself grace on the hard days, to absorb the day-to-day lessons—both hard and easy—and to remember the love and ambition that I pour into Signoff. I am building Signoff because I believe, to the core of my being, that we have an obligation to create buildings that are safe, secure, and beautiful to meet all human needs. My support system reminds me of this constantly. Between their reminders and my internal fire, I keep going.

How would you describe the journey you’ve had in a few sentences? Would you do it all over again?

“God is right, but God is rude.” Every time I have hit a wall in my career, that wall was never a stopping point but a redirection. I am grateful for the ambitions that I have articulated and pursued over the years, but I am more grateful for the unpredictable redirection that I have had over the years. My life and experiences have surprised me. For every setback and heartbreak I have had, I have experienced, in triplicate, the biggest wins and greatest joys. I would 100% do the journey again; the rude lessons included.

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