The 530+ ConTech ventures mentioned in the sampled "best of” lists and “market maps” from 2016-2021 [open-source]
⬛ Notion database (caution: long loading times)
🟩 Google Sheet
Crunching the numbers …
1/ Early or late to the party?: % of total capital raised before
and after mention
2/ Making or missing winners?: Total capital raised; firms
mentioned 3 times or more vs. firms least-mentioned but raised $20M+
3/ Substance or hype?: % of total capital raised in last 18 months;
firms mentioned 3 times or more vs. firms least-mentioned but raised $20M+
4/ Earning or burning?: “If these lists were a fund that invested
at time of list”: Estimate of hypothetical fund return
Findings and call-to-action to ConTech founders
ConTech “best-of” lists and “market maps” can waste your time: The data is clear – many pundits are late, bad pickers, and promote hype instead of substance. Reasons are also clear – lack of insight, no proprietary view about operator performance, and hidden incentives.
Adverse selection, anyone?: Alright, get this – out of our top 15 financially-performing companies, only one (1) was ever on a list or market map in its first four years after founding. Let that sink in. Of course correlation is not causation – I am not saying being on a list or map will make your ConTech firm average. But what I clearly see is the correlation between being heads down and under the radar while you build a product and a business with your customers, and your long-term substantial performance in Construction-Tech. Hype does not sell, PR does not sell – only product and substance does, to the no-BS world of construction and architecture clients.
The company you keep: You likely don’t know the past and performance of your peers you get lumped together with on a list or market map. Do they do well? Do they have a good reputation behind the scene? Do they maybe have bodies in their closet? You likely don’t know, and that’s a risk for you. Because your customers and investors might know – they tend to have talked to and looked at many more folks in the space. By accepting to be on a list or market map, you might unknowingly associate yourself with company you don’t want to be mentioned in, and your customers or investors might take notice of such associations. This happens all the time.
I could keep going, but this post already got out of hand.
Let me just close with this call-to-action to you all ConTech founders:
The only stakeholders that matter in your early days are your customers and your talent. If you accept PR for your firm – do it only if it benefits you with your customers or with talent.
Do not accept PR about anything else, especially not investors. It’s an investor’s job to find you. We literally do nothing else the entire day. If this is the reason you accept PR, you are literally wasting your scarce time.
I am a huge fan of staying under the radar. I have seen first hand that ConTech firms can get dinged by old-school construction clients for being perceived as non-serious tech firms, while others who presented themselves as serious firms with no tech PR footprint at all grew quite fast. These are anecdotes, of course – but this general direction is solid advice.