Oct 20, 2023
The construction industry is often maligned by outsiders as “traditional”, “slow to innovate” or “complex”. That’s not my experience. In fact, when you offer outcomes based on technology (instead of selling the technology), I have found that construction is quite fast adopting.
In fact, construction has seen its fair share of companies building and scaling technology to billion-dollar businesses. These businesses pioneer procurement solutions, marketplaces, workflow platforms, AI, and robotics, to modernize and optimize varied workflows of the construction process. These novel solutions span different construction workflows — from design and planning to on-site execution.
While I think “best-of lists” and “market maps” are not just random, propagandastic, useless, but even outright dangerous, the billion-dollar valuation is an objective metric that allows us to look through an objectivized filter without personal opinion. It also allows to work with a complete set, and not a partial and incomplete landscape.
I have noticed through years of experience and thousands of conversations that many people actually do not know how global of a phenomenon Construction-Tech is by now, evidenced by the global span of these billion-dollar valued Constru-Tech firms. You might find interesting that out of these 17 Constru-Tech Unicorns, 10 are NOT based in the USA. People don’t always realize that Constru-Tech is a global movement.
That’s why I’m sharing here these 17 Construction-Tech unicorns as of today (October 2023) with you all, and provide some perspective into the products and solutions these unicorn Constru-Techs are offering.
Methodology note: I have added the media sources that confirm the Unicorn valuations for each company. Basically: If I don’t have a media link confirming the Unicorn status, the firm is not in this article. Also I exclude defunct and deadpooled companies (such as Katerra). I might come back to this overview and update it from time to time. If I missed any, I’d be grateful for a nudge and I’ll add them.
Starting with two “former” Constru-Tech Unicorn veterans that most people will know, and who have since either become acquired or publicly listed. (”former” because they are not private standalone companies anymore).
- Founded 2000 in Australia. Technically not a Unicorn anymore, since acquired.
- Aconex was a standalone software company founded in 2000 by Leigh Jasper and Rob Phillpot in Melbourne, Australia. It specialized in cloud-based collaboration solutions for construction and engineering projects.
- Main Product: The Aconex platform, a web-based system, allowed project teams to share documents, manage workflows, track issues, and collaborate in real-time. Highlighted features comprised document management, workflow tracking, collaboration tools, forms management, reporting, and system integration.
- Stack: The Aconex platform utilized technologies like cloud computing, web services, XML data formats, advanced search capabilities, and integration APIs. It was designed using a service-oriented architecture and was accessible via web browsers or mobile apps.
- Expansion & Clients: Aconex broadened its offerings over the years, introducing financial management, bidding, and other modules. Globally, they catered to clients in over 70 countries with notable customers such as Bechtel, Turner Construction, and Leighton.
- Oracle Acquisition: In December 2017, Oracle announced its plan to acquire Aconex for a sum of $1.2 billion, thereby integrating construction project management capabilities into its comprehensive software suite.
- Post Acquisition: Post-acquisition, Aconex operates as an autonomous entity under Oracle, persistently offering cloud-based collaboration tools tailored for the construction industry. Furthermore, with Oracle’s backing, the platform has incorporated advancements like AI and machine learning.
- Company Journey: Aconex’s trajectory went from a pioneering startup in the realm of cloud collaboration software to being acquired by the enterprise software behemoth, Oracle. Throughout its journey, the firm remained dedicated to digitizing construction project management, resonating with the increasing demand for cloud solutions in the engineering and construction arenas.
- (Former) Unicorn status: https://www.techpowerup.com/239781/oracle-buys-aconex-for-usd-1-2-billion
- Founded 2003 in USA. Technically not a Unicorn anymore, since IPO’d.
- Comprehensive Workflow Platform: The Procore Construction Management Platform is the nucleus of Procore’s offerings. Designed to streamline all phases of a construction project, it offers a cohesive environment for various stakeholders — from architects and general contractors to subcontractors and owners. The platform seamlessly integrates project management, financials, document management, resource management, quality, and safety. Some of its standout features include:
- Scheduling: Efficient time management for every phase of a project.
- RFIs (Request for Information): Streamlined communication to ensure all questions and concerns are addressed.
- Submittals: Organized tracking and management of documentation submissions.
- Daily Field Reports: Real-time progress updates, ensuring everyone stays in the loop.
- Drawings: Centralized storage and management for architectural and engineering plans.
- Punch Lists: Detailed to-do lists ensuring all tasks are completed to specifications.
- Cloud Infrastructure & SaaS Model: Procore’s decision to use a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model means that their software isn’t just available anywhere, anytime, but also scales effortlessly with the growth of an enterprise. Procore guarantees a robust, secure, and reliable environment. This setup ensures swift data processing, even for vast amounts of construction project data.
- Mobile-First Philosophy: Recognizing the need for on-the-go management in the construction industry, Procore has developed mobile apps compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows. These apps are not mere companions but powerful tools that offer most functionalities found on the desktop version, allowing for real-time collaboration and updates from the field.
- Integration & Flexibility via Open APIs: One of Procore’s focuses is through open APIs to integrate seamlessly with leading software in accounting, estimating, and construction. This compatibility reduces data silos and optimizes workflow efficiency.
- Unicorn status: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2018/09/12/how-procore-built-the-clouds-hottest-unicorn-bringing-software-to-low-tech-construction-sites/
Procurement and supply chain management
This category actually currently yields the most (6) Constru-Tech Unicorns. These players are all about providing one-stop shop solutions to source and procure construction-related materials and machines. Also worth noting how 3 of those are borne out of the Indian Constru-Tech market.
- Founded 2014 in USA
- EquipmentShare aims to modernize the construction industry with innovative, technology-driven solutions. Their platform allows contractors and construction companies to efficiently rent, manage, and monitor heavy machinery and tools.
- Equipment Rentals: At its core, EquipmentShare operates as an equipment rental marketplace, connecting equipment owners with renters. The platform allows users to search for various equipment types, from excavators and bulldozers to skid steers and lifts, and compare prices and availability.
- Telematics & IoT: EquipmentShare’s proprietary telematics solution, known as T3 or Essentials, is a game-changer. It offers real-time insights into equipment performance, utilization, health metrics, and location. This cloud-based system uses sensors and cellular connectivity to provide data to both owners and renters.
- Fleet Management: Beyond individual equipment rentals, EquipmentShare provides a comprehensive fleet management platform. This offers users a detailed view of their fleet’s overall performance, maintenance schedules, and other essential metrics.
- Software Solutions: With a focus on digitization, EquipmentShare’s software suite integrates various aspects of construction operations, including asset tracking, maintenance scheduling, and work order management.
- Marketplace: Beyond rentals, EquipmentShare’s platform also acts as a marketplace for buying and selling used equipment, catering to the broader needs of the industry.
- Financing & Leasing: To ease the financial burden of the capital-intensive construction industry, EquipmentShare offers flexible financing and leasing options.
- Equipment-as-a-Service: A more recent innovation, this model allows businesses to pay based on equipment usage rather than a fixed rental or purchase price, providing greater financial flexibility.
- Real-time Tracking: Through the Essentials or T3 system, EquipmentShare can monitor equipment in real-time, from location to engine hours.
- Security and Maintenance Features: The technology can send alerts for preventative maintenance, fuel levels, geofencing breaches, and potential theft incidents.
- Digital Accessibility: Renters can seamlessly reserve, pay for, and manage rentals through EquipmentShare’s web and mobile platforms.
- Unicorn status: https://news.crunchbase.com/venture/biggest-funding-rounds-ai-equipmentshare-coreweave/
- Founded 2016 in India
- Infra.Market is an India-based B2B startup specializing in the construction materials and technology sector. The company has pioneered efforts to revolutionize the traditionally fragmented construction materials market by introducing a comprehensive, integrated procurement platform for both materials and services.
- Unified Procurement Platform: Infra.Market serves as a one-stop solution where builders and developers can efficiently source a wide variety of construction materials, including cement, steel, tiles, and more from leading brands.
- Private Label Branding: By procuring materials in bulk and conducting rigorous quality checks, Infra.Market is able to offer these products under its own private label brands. This not only assures standardized quality but also allows them to provide these materials at highly competitive prices.
- Credit Solutions: Recognizing the capital-intensive nature of the construction industry and the credit necessities associated with it, Infra.Market extends a credit facility to its trusted partners. This facility especially benefits small and medium-sized developers by easing their liquidity concerns.
- Software: Beyond just physical materials, Infra.Market provides software solutions tailored to the industry’s needs. These encompass project management tools, billing and invoicing software, and workflow standardization tools, all designed to empower real estate developers and contractors for enhanced project efficiency.
- Supply Chain Forecasting: By successfully digitizing the procurement chain, Infra.Market collects invaluable data spanning supply chain nuances, demand trajectories, and customer preferences. They harness this data analytics prowess to refine the supply chain, forecast demand accurately, and curate personalized offerings for their clientele.
- Quality Assurance: Quality is paramount in construction. Infra.Market has instituted several quality-check facilities where materials procured in bulk undergo thorough examinations to ensure they meet industry benchmarks. This guarantees that customers receive only top-tier, compliant products.
- Logistics and Supply Chain Integration: Beyond sourcing and quality assurance, Infra.Market emphasizes seamless delivery. They’ve intricately woven logistics and supply chain management into their operations to promise timely and efficient material delivery, ensuring projects remain on track.
- Unicorn status: https://techcrunch.com/2021/02/25/infra-market-becomes-newest-indian-unicorn-with-100-million-fundraise/
- Founded 2013 in France
- ManoMano is a European online marketplace specializing in DIY, home improvement, and gardening products. The platform aims to consolidate and digitize the vast but fragmented market of home improvement and gardening products.
- Extensive Catalog: ManoMano offers a wide variety of products across categories like DIY, home improvement, gardening, and more.
- Private Labels: Like many e-commerce platforms, ManoMano may also develop and sell products under its own brand.
- User-Friendly Interface: ManoMano’s website and mobile applications provide an easy-to-navigate experience for users, with clear product listings, detailed descriptions, and customer reviews.
- Search and Recommendations: The platform likely employs search algorithms to help users quickly find what they’re looking for and recommendation systems to suggest related or complementary products.
- Secure Payments: Like other major e-commerce platforms, ManoMano offers secure payment options, including credit card payments, PayPal, etc.
- Seller Dashboard: For vendors and brands looking to sell on ManoMano, the platform provides a comprehensive dashboard to manage products, track sales, and interact with customers.
- ManoMano Pro: An initiative aimed at professionals in the home improvement and gardening sectors, offering them tailored services and product assortments.
- Advice and Tutorials: Beyond just selling products, ManoMano provides DIY advice, tutorials, and tips for its users. This positions the platform as not just a sales portal but also a go-to hub for DIY enthusiasts and professionals.
- Logistics and Delivery: ManoMano, being a marketplace, primarily relies on its sellers for logistics and delivery. However, they do have tools and partnerships in place to ensure timely and accurate deliveries.
- Customer Service: The company invests in customer service to assist both buyers and sellers on the platform, addressing concerns, handling returns, and ensuring a smooth transaction process.
- Unicorn status: https://www.internetworld.de/plattformen/investment/manomano-unicorn-deutschland-wichtigsten-markt-2677904.html
- Founded 2016 in USA
- Material Bank is a platform designed to revolutionize the way design professionals search for and sample materials. By creating a centralized hub for material search and distribution, Material Bank aims to simplify the process and reduce the environmental impact of sampling.
- Centralized Material Search: Material Bank provides a platform where designers can search for a wide range of materials from various manufacturers. This can include fabrics, tiles, wall coverings, and more.
- Sample Delivery: Once materials are selected, designers can order samples that are shipped overnight in one consolidated box. This helps to reduce waste and emissions as compared to multiple shipments.
- Return and Recycle: The platform also offers the capability for designers to return samples when they are done, which can then be reused or recycled appropriately.
- Digital Platform: Material Bank’s platform is digital, allowing designers to easily search and filter materials based on their needs.
- Integration with Brands: The company works closely with various manufacturers and brands to integrate their product offerings on the Material Bank platform.
- Logistics: One of the impressive aspects of Material Bank is its logistical technology. With a state-of-the-art facility, they can efficiently consolidate orders and deliver them overnight. This not only provides convenience but also contributes to sustainability.
- Monetization: Material Bank primarily monetizes by charging the manufacturers for the services and the exposure they get on the platform, for example through sample handling fees. It’s a B2B model where manufacturers pay to be a part of the platform and to distribute their samples to designers.
- Unicorn status: https://businessofhome.com/articles/material-bank-raises-175-million
- Founded 2015 in India
- Moglix is a B2B e-commerce company, specializing in the procurement of industrial products such as MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Operations), fasteners, electricals, hardware, pneumatics, safety items, and more. It gradually expands its presence across the Asia-Pacific region.
- B2B E-commerce Platform: Moglix operates a comprehensive e-commerce platform where businesses can browse and purchase a wide range of industrial products. The platform is designed to make the procurement process seamless, transparent, and efficient.
- Moglix Business: Moglix offers a tax-compliant and SaaS-enabled procurement solution designed for businesses. It helps in streamlining the purchasing process, managing vendors, and ensuring compliance.
- Supply Chain Solutions: Moglix also offers an end-to-end supply chain management solution. This includes vendor management, logistics solutions, and inventory management, among other services. The aim is to optimize and digitize traditional supply chain processes.
- Cloud-Based Systems: Moglix’s infrastructure is cloud-based, ensuring high availability, flexibility, and scalability. This allows businesses to access the platform from anywhere and facilitates easy integration with existing systems.
- Data Analytics: Data-driven decision-making is at the heart of Moglix’s operations. They utilize advanced analytics to gain insights into buyer behavior, demand patterns, inventory management, and other critical aspects.
- GreenGST Solution: Understanding the complexity of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) introduced in India, Moglix launched a solution named GreenGST. It assists businesses in becoming GST-compliant, offering solutions for invoice reconciliation, return filing, and other GST-related processes.
- Private Label Brands: Over time, Moglix has also introduced its own private label brands in certain categories, ensuring quality products at competitive prices.
- Global Sourcing: Moglix has a strong global sourcing network that allows them to offer a wide range of products. This is backed by a quality assurance mechanism to ensure that products meet the required standards.
- Forecasting: The company has been consistently focusing on incorporating innovations like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) into its platform to enhance user experience, predict demand, and ensure optimum inventory levels.
- Unicorn status: https://www.businesstoday.in/entrepreneurship/story/ratan-tata-backed-moglix-13th-unicorn-in-india-this-year-296273-2021-05-17
- Founded 2018 in India
- Zetwerk is an Indian B2B marketplace for manufacturing goods. Zetwerk connects OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and EPC (engineering procurement construction) customers with manufacturing partners around the world.
- Procurement Platform: Zetwerk’s platform serves as a bridge between buyers who need custom products and manufacturers who can produce those products. This encompasses a wide range of industries, such as fabrication, machining, casting, forging, etc. For buyers, Zetwerk offers a one-stop solution to their manufacturing needs, eliminating the need to manage multiple suppliers. For suppliers, the platform offers an opportunity to get larger contracts and improve capacity utilization.
- Project Management Tools: These tools help in tracking the production process in real-time, ensuring that deadlines are met and quality is maintained.
- Quality Control: Through the platform, Zetwerk can ensure that products meet the required standards by implementing stringent QC measures.
- Supply Chain Financing: Zetwerk has also introduced features to support its suppliers in terms of working capital requirements.
- Network of Suppliers: For buyers, Zetwerk simplifies the procurement process by providing a large base of manufacturers to choose from based on their requirements.
- Asset-light: Zetwerk doesn’t own any manufacturing plants. Instead, it works with a network of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). By doing so, Zetwerk allows these businesses to access larger contracts they wouldn’t be able to get on their own. The platform charges a commission for the transactions.
- Expansion and Growth: Zetwerk has expanded its services outside India, serving customers in North America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Their approach to digitizing a traditionally offline sector has attracted significant interest from investors.
- Unicorn status: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/funding/zetwerk-turns-unicorn-after-150-million-funding-led-by-d1-capital/articleshow/85557940.cms
Renovation design / one-stop shops
A similar one-stop shop, theme, but applied to light materials coupled with a top-down design and, in some cases, the actual execution of the design (I call that a “digital general contractor”) to allow for a standardized and streamlined execution of the renovation project.
- Founded 2009 in Israel/USA
- Houzz is a platform for home remodeling and design, bringing homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community.
- Website & Mobile Experience: Houzz offers a platform accessible both via its website and mobile apps, allowing users to explore millions of photos showcasing home interiors and exteriors. This inspires homeowners for their next design or renovation project.
- Design Inspiration & Ideabooks: The platform features a database of over 50 million home design photos. Users can save their favorite images, products, and articles to ideabooks, aiding in project planning and collaboration.
- Professional Directory & Collaboration: Homeowners can connect with over 2 million home professionals, including architects, designers, and contractors. These professionals can manage their portfolio, interact with clients, and generate leads. Profiles, past projects, and reviews help build their credibility.
- Houzz Pro+: This premium subscription service amplifies the visibility of home professionals, offering enhanced listings and business tools.
- Houzz Shop: A direct e-commerce avenue, the Houzz Shop lets users buy home products, ranging from furniture to lighting. This monetization stream allows users to purchase directly from varied brands and retailers on the platform.
- Informative Content: Beyond visual inspiration, Houzz offers articles, advice columns, Q&A sections, and reviews, providing depth and context for users planning home projects.
- Personalization: Houzz leverages big data analytics, studying user behavior to offer relevant content, product recommendations, and professional connections. The platform’s engagement mechanisms employ algorithms based on user interactions, enhancing the overall user experience.
- Visual Recognition & AR: Advanced visual recognition tech lets users identify and source products seen in images. Additionally, augmented reality features in the app allow virtual placement of furniture and decor, helping users visualize before purchasing.
- Responsive & AI-driven Design: Houzz’s platform uses responsive web design ensuring a consistent experience across devices. AI-driven recommendations further streamline user journeys.
- Security & Infrastructure: Given its vast user base, which Houzz claims to surpass 40 million monthly users, the platform would necessarily emphasize robust security measures and employ a combination of cloud infrastructure and modern tech solutions.
- Revenue Streams: Houzz’s primary revenue channels include Pro+ subscriptions, commissions from the Houzz Shop, and brand advertising.
- Unicorn status: https://techcrunch.com/2015/09/22/houzz-ceo-adi-tatarko-wants-to-redefine-the-term-unicorn/
- Founded 2011 in China
- Kujiale (酷家乐) is a prominent Chinese technology company specializing in interior design and home renovation software solutions.
- 3D Interior Design Tool: Central to Kujiale’s offerings is its sophisticated cloud-based 3D design tool. This tool facilitates the creation of detailed and realistic interior designs, allowing users to visualize spaces and furnishings in three dimensions.
- Extensive Product Library: Kujiale boasts a vast library comprising furniture and decorative items sourced from a myriad of suppliers and brands. This library enhances the platform’s versatility, enabling users to experiment with an array of styles and products.
- Virtual Reality (VR) Integration: The platform integrates VR technology, offering users the unique opportunity to undertake virtual tours of their envisioned spaces. Such immersive experiences are invaluable, aiding users in making well-informed design and renovation choices.
- Community and Collaboration: Beyond individual projects, Kujiale has cultivated a thriving community where designers can exhibit their creations, solicit feedback, and engage with clients in real-time. Concurrently, homeowners can peruse various designs, drawing inspiration for their own spaces.
- Mobile: To cater to the on-the-go demands of modern users, Kujiale has developed a mobile app, mirroring most functionalities found on its desktop counterpart.
- E-commerce Integration: Given its extensive furniture and product repertoire, Kujiale has seamlessly integrated with e-commerce platforms. This integration not only offers users a convenient shopping experience but also directs them to vendors, simplifying the process of procuring items they’ve integrated into their designs.
- Insights: Harnessing the vast data accumulated from countless designs, Kujiale utilizes AI and machine learning to furnish users with actionable insights and recommendations. These can span from design counsel to forecasts about emerging trends.
- User-Design-Integration: Kujiale’s platform is a democratizing force in the design realm. Individual homeowners are empowered to actively participate in the design process, ensuring their visions are realized. Simultaneously, professionals benefit from the platform’s expansive toolset, enabling them to showcase their talents, network with prospective clients, and elevate their design methodologies.
- Unicorn status: https://news.crunchbase.com/startups/kujiale-raises-100m-at-1b-valuation-to-grow-home-design-platform/
- Founded 2014 in India
- Livspace is a technology-driven home interior and renovation platform that offers end-to-end home design solutions.
- Digital Platform: Livspace operates through a digital platform where users can browse thousands of interior designs, get an estimate for their home interiors, and connect with designers.
- 3D Visualizations: One of the standout technological features of Livspace is its ability to provide 3D visualizations. Customers can visualize how their home will look after the redesign or renovation, making it easier for them to make decisions.
- Integrated Supply Chain: The technology-driven platform has an integrated supply chain which helps in reducing lead times and ensuring quality control. They have partnered with various vendors and manufacturers to streamline the process of furniture and decor sourcing.
- Design Partners: Livspace has a network of interior designers who are onboarded to their platform. Customers can collaborate with these designers in real-time, ensuring a personalized touch to their home designs.
- Standardized and Customized Solutions: While Livspace offers standardized solutions that are easier to implement and cost-effective, they also provide an option for fully customized designs based on customer requirements.
- Cloud-Based Design Tools: The design partners use cloud-based tools provided by Livspace, which makes collaboration, design visualization, and modifications seamless.
- Project Tracking: Once a project kicks off, customers can track the status of their projects in real-time using the Livspace app. This includes updates on design, procurement, manufacturing, and installation.
- Quality Assurance: Livspace has stringent checks in place to ensure the quality of the products and services offered. This includes quality checks at various stages of manufacturing and service delivery.
- E-commerce Integration: Livspace also has an integrated e-commerce platform where users can browse and purchase decor items, furnishings, and accessories to complement their interior designs.
- Data Analytics: Using the data collected from various customers and projects, Livspace can offer personalized design recommendations, anticipate market trends, and improve its offerings.
- Unicorn status: https://www.ibef.org/news/livspace-becomes-7th-unicorn-in-2022-raises-us-180-million
Tubatu (aka To8to)
- Founded 2008 in China
- Tubatu is an online platform for home renovation and interior decoration in China. The company operates a platform that connects homeowners with interior designers, decorators, and other renovation-related services. Here are some of the main aspects of its product and technology:
- Platform for Homeowners and Designers: Tubatu’s main value proposition is linking homeowners looking for home renovation or decoration services with interior designers and decorators. Users can browse designer profiles, view past projects, and read reviews from other homeowners.
- 3D Visualization Tools: One of the features Tubatu offers is 3D visualization tools that allow users to see potential designs in a simulated environment before making decisions. This gives homeowners a clearer idea of what the final result might look like.
- Quality Assurance: The platform implements measures to ensure quality. For example, funds for a project are usually held in escrow and released in stages upon project milestones. This ensures that both parties are committed to the completion of the project and the quality of the work.
- Community and Inspiration: The platform isn’t just a marketplace; it also has community features. Homeowners can discuss their renovation experiences, share photos of their homes, and get inspirations from others.
- Reviews and Ratings: To maintain the integrity of the platform and help users make informed choices, Tubatu includes a review and rating system. Users can rate and review service providers based on their experiences.
- E-commerce Integration: Recognizing the potential for sales of home products, the platform also integrated e-commerce features, allowing users to purchase home decoration products directly.
- Personalized Recommendations: With the vast amount of user data at its disposal, Tubatu leverages big data analytics and artificial intelligence to provide personalized recommendations to users, optimize the user experience, and improve its operational efficiency.
- Unicorn status: https://www.chinabankingnews.com/wiki/list-of-chinese-unicorn-companies/
Surprisingly, only two Constru-Tech private firms have reached Unicorn status on the FinTech angle. More to come soon ?
- Founded 2014 in USA
- Built Technologies is a Construction-Tech / fintech company specializing in the commercial real estate sector. At its heart, the firm offers Built Express, an end-to-end lending platform tailored specifically for construction lending. Built harnesses advanced algorithms, vast data, and predictive analytics to present a digital lending platform tailor-made for commercial real estate financing. Benefits include minimization of risk, swifter lending processes, and the genesis of new business prospects.
- Streamlined Lending Process: The platform is devised to simplify and automate the entire construction loan procedure. This not only boosts overall efficiency but also significantly reduces associated risks and ensures thorough compliance.
- Advanced Analytics: Built Express employs advanced algorithms, AI, and big data to appraise risk, simulate project outcomes, and anticipate potential construction hitches before they emerge. This foresight empowers lenders to make faster and more accurate lending decisions.
- Real-time Collaboration and Tracking: All stakeholders, from lenders and borrowers to builders and inspectors, can collaborate in real-time on Built’s centralized platform. This feature ensures immediate decision-making and the capability to track project progress and schedules, pinpointing any deviations between planned and actual timelines.
- Digital Draw Management: “Draws” in the construction realm signify the periodic release of loan funds upon achieving specific milestones. Built revolutionizes this process by offering a digital interface for fund requests, approvals, and inspection coordination.
- Risk Management and Forecasting: Beyond its compliance checks and lien waiver tracking, Built harnesses the power of predictive analytics to provide potential risk forecasts, instilling greater lender confidence in transactions.
- Comprehensive Integration: The platform can seamlessly merge with diverse industry-standard software, from core banking systems and loan origination to accounting tools, e-signature, and document storage solutions. This integration ensures a smooth digital lending experience.
- Mobile Accessibility: Recognizing the mobile needs of users, especially for on-site professionals like builders and inspectors, Built proffers mobile solutions facilitating tasks like draw requests and inspections from smartphones or tablets.
- Insightful Reporting: Lenders can benefit from Built’s data-driven reporting tools and dashboards, offering a clear visualization of vital metrics like cash flow patterns, lien waivers, change orders, and more.
- Key Benefits: Built Technologies’ platform not only diminishes lender risk but also expedites funding for developers, paving the way for novel lending opportunities that might have previously seemed overly intricate or hazardous.
- Unicorn status: https://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2021/09/30/built-technologies-reaches-unicorn-status.html
- Founded 2015 in India
- OfBusiness offers a unique combination of commerce and financing to SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) in infrastructure construction and manufacturing sectors to help them grow.
- (Technically I could list OfBusiness also under the marketplace/one-stop shop category, since it has a unique dual angle)
- Procurement for SMEs: OfBusiness provides raw materials like steel, polymers, and chemicals to SMEs at competitive prices. Their value proposition revolves around enabling SMEs to get the best quality products at the right prices without any hassle.
- Financing for SMEs: Recognizing that one of the significant challenges faced by SMEs is access to capital, OfBusiness also provides quick and hassle-free financing. They offer short-term unsecured loans to help SMEs manage their working capital needs. Their tech-driven approach allows for swift credit evaluation and disbursement of funds.
- OFSys: OFSys is their core tech platform that aids in faster credit evaluation and risk assessment. By leveraging machine learning and analytics, OFSys evaluates SMEs’ creditworthiness based on both traditional data and alternate data sources.
- BizFin App: OfBusiness also provides an app provided by OfBusiness for SMEs to manage their orders, payments, and financing in one place. The app is designed to give SMEs transparency into their transactions and financing options.
- Supply Chain Efficiency: OfBusiness has established strong partnerships with large OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and bulk suppliers. This ensures that SMEs receive raw materials of the highest quality and at competitive prices. The tech platform aids in streamlining the supply chain, reducing inefficiencies and ensuring timely delivery.
- Community & Knowledge Sharing: The company also focuses on building a community amongst SMEs. They curate insights, market trends, and expert opinions to help SMEs stay informed and make better business decisions.
- Unicorn status: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/startups/ofbusiness-turns-unicorn-post-softbank-led-160-million-funding/articleshow/84905645.cms
Tech-enabled general contractors and standardized/verticalized construction
Another category that many outsiders will immediately think of is the vertically integrated application of new materials and methods of construction.
- Founded 2016 in USA
- ICON specializes in the use of 3D printing for the home-building industry, aiming to rapidly produce homes and structures using a proprietary concrete mixture.
- Vulcan 3D Printer: This is ICON’s main technological asset. It’s a large-scale 3D printer specifically designed for building homes. The printer can construct the primary structure of a home in as little as 24 hours.
- Lavacrete: ICON’s proprietary concrete mixture optimized for 3D printing. It’s extrudable for printing and also offers durability and resilience. It hardens faster than regular concrete, allowing the printed layers to stack swiftly. Additionally, it’s more environmentally friendly compared to standard cement, contributing to reduced carbon emissions and eliminating the need for steam curing.
- Speed & Affordability: ICON’s approach significantly reduces construction time and waste, leading to decreased costs.
- Design Flexibility: The technology permits unique architectural designs, such as intricate curves and overhangs, which may be more challenging with traditional methods.
- Collaborations: ICON has collaborated with various entities, including housing nonprofit New Story, to erect affordable printed homes in Latin America. They’ve also explored projects with NASA to conceive 3D printed lunar habitats.
- Unicorn status: https://techcrunch.com/2022/02/18/icon-raises-185m-in-tiger-global-led-round-at-a-2b-valuation-to-build-more-homes-with-its-3d-printing-technology/
- Founded 2019 in Canada
- Nexii has developed a sustainable building product and technology aimed at reducing the environmental impact of construction materials. Nexii is able to minimize carbon emissions of buildings through two key innovations: its choice of building material and its assembly process.
- Nexiite: The primary product developed by Nexii is a proprietary material called “Nexiite.” This material is designed to be an alternative to conventional concrete, which is a significant source of carbon emissions globally. Nexiite has similar properties to concrete but with a significantly reduced carbon footprint. It’s resistant to fire, water, and mold, and is highly durable, making it suitable for a variety of construction applications.
- Whole Building Solution and Assembly: Nexii offers a “whole building solution” using panels made from Nexiite. These panels are manufactured in a controlled environment and then shipped to construction sites where they can be rapidly assembled. This offsite construction approach is more efficient than traditional building methods, leading to cost savings and reduced waste. The precision-manufactured panels also help improve the energy efficiency of the completed structures, further enhancing their environmental benefits.
- Sustainability: Nexii’s technology aims to address several environmental challenges associated with the construction industry:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding the need for conventional concrete.
- Minimizing construction waste by using precision-manufactured panels.
- Enhancing the energy efficiency of buildings, which reduces their operational carbon emissions.
- Adaptability: Nexii’s building solutions can be applied to a variety of structures, from commercial and residential buildings to infrastructure like bridges. Their technology is also adaptive to different architectural designs and needs.
- Expansion and Partnerships: Nexii had been expanding its manufacturing capabilities and forming partnerships with other companies to promote the widespread adoption of its sustainable building solutions, for example Starbucks.
- Unicorn status: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/nexii-becomes-fastest-canadian-company-160000093.html
- Founded 2008 in USA
- Veev is a company with a focus on improving the efficiency, sustainability, and speed of building.
- Prefab Construction: Veev utilizes prefabricated construction methods. Instead of the traditional building process, where most construction happens on-site, Veev’s homes and structures are primarily built in a factory setting and then assembled on-site. This method can lead to faster build times and better quality control.
- Veev Panel: One of the central innovations of Veev is their proprietary panel system. These panels are made with a combination of materials that can include steel frames and a proprietary material that replaces traditional sheetrock. This makes the panels more durable, mold and water-resistant, and quicker to install than traditional materials.
- Smart Home Integration: Veev homes often come with integrated smart home features, allowing homeowners to control various aspects of their home (like lighting, temperature, and security) remotely or through automated systems.
- Sustainability: Veev emphasizes eco-friendly and sustainable construction practices. Their homes tend to be more energy-efficient than traditional structures, which can lead to lower utility bills for homeowners.
- Software Integration: Veev has invested in digital tools to improve the construction process. These tools can include software for design, project management, and other facets of the construction process.
- Unicorn status: https://www.worldconstructionnetwork.com/news/veev-joins-unicorn-club-with-400m-series-d-investment/