Dovetailing off our Top 27 Venture Players report, we’ve put together the 19 largest AEC and real estate venture rounds of the past year. There were plenty of surprises.
Perhaps first and foremost is that our list kicks off with a $4.4 billion solo investment, which is fairly indicative of the sheer scale of funding entering the built industry. Over the past couple of years, we have seen an increasing number of venture funds turning their focus to AEC and real estate tech. And we expect this momentum to continue, at least while construction industry spending is reaching all-time records ($1.26 trillion in November 2017 as reported by U.S. Census Bureau).
Allow this report to act as a weather vane. Which tech companies have serious wind in their sails and are ready to deliver big in 2018? From WeWork to Blokable, these are the young companies making the biggest waves.
Want additional insight on these deals? You can download the full PDF report with additional analysis at the bottom of the article.
(Private Equity Round) August 25, 2017
Investor: SoftBank Vision Fund
Tokyo telecommunications corporation, SoftBank, announced their $100 billion tech-focused Vision Fund in late 2016 and followed it up with an aggregated $4.4 billion investment in WeWork. The deal included $1.4 going toward the company’s subsidiaries WeWork Japan, WeWork China, and WeWork Pacific. Combined with five acquisitions (including FieldLens), a $760 million Series G, and their highly-reported valuation topping $20 billion, 2018 was certainly a defining year for shared workspace giant.
(Series D) January 24, 2018
Investors: SoftBank Vision Fund, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management LLC, Tavistock Group, Navitas Capital, DivcoWest
All of a sudden Katerra looks less like a construction company and more like a multibillion dollar Silicon Valley tech startup. (It’s both.) The three-year-old construction industry disrupter just announced their mammoth $865 million Series D, led by none other than SoftBank Vision Fund. Their investment in Katerra reportedly set the startup’s valuation upwards of $3 billion. Michael Marks, Katerra’s Chairman and Co-Founder, says that the new funding will help the startup open up to 4 new factories in the next few years. We also may be seeing an IPO before too long.
(Series E) December 7, 2017
Investors: SoftBank Vision Fund, Sinai Ventures
Immediately following a $100 million round led by Fidelity Investments, Compass closes a monster Series E bringing in $450 million from SoftBank Vision Fund and Sinai Ventures as well as $50 million from secondary deals. According to Founder and Executive Chairman Ori Allon, the added capital will allow the company to bring their real estate platform into a global market.
(Series E) June 9, 2017
Investors: Iconiq Capital, Zeev Ventures, Wellington Management, Sequoia Capital, GGV Capital
Leading online platform for home remodeling and design, Houzz has quietly reached a $4 billion valuation following a huge $400 million Series E financing led by Iconiq Capital. The company has recently expanded its user network to several countries around the globe as well as introduced a deep learning tool that can filter products according to data gathered from home photos. Houzz will continue to expand globally with the help of its newest investment partners.
(Series D) November 30, 2017
Investors: Baillie Gifford, Revolution, GreatPoint Ventures
Following close behind their $90 million Series C in April, Uptake closed an even bigger Series D at $117 million, led by UK venture firm Baillie Gifford. Via predictive analytics, Uptake’s SaaS platform improves productivity and safety of complex industrial systems (construction, energy, agriculture). They have embraced IoT tech as a major tool in gathering big data, thereby attracting venture firms looking to nurture such advances in the industry.
(Series C) July 18, 2017
Investors: Insight Venture Partners, Global Founders Capital, e.ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, OCA Ventures, MATH Venture Partners, Levy Family Partners, Draper Associates, Daniel Hoffer, Corazon Capital, Chicago Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Autotech Ventures
In its first investment round in two years, the Chicago-based parking reservation app pulled in $30 million in Series C funding. This came off the back of the launch of SpotHero for Business, which assists employees in directly expensing their parking fees as well as the company’s acquisition of Parking Panda, allowing them to expand into Canada. SpotHero utilized its new capital to launch HeroTech, a suite of software providing event parking, valet, and VIP parking services.
(Series B) January 24, 2017
Investors: Insight Venture Partners, Romulus Capital, Y Combinator, Alrai Capital
EquipmentShare’s Series B (its largest round by almost 5x) enables the 3-year-old company not only to expand its national market, but also to build out its ES Track system, which gathers usage data on the equipment being shared out by its customers. With this collected data, the company hopes to implement predictive failure analytics in the near future.
(Series B) September 28, 2017
Investors: Lightspeed Venture Partners, Crosslink Capital, Brick & Mortar Ventures, Bee Partners, Freestyle Capital, Homebrew
BuildingConnected, the preconstruction CRM/bidding platform from Dustin DeVan and Jesse Pedersen, received a major boost from lead investor Lightspeed Venture Partners. Their ability to attract a top-tier VC who is not known to be construction-focused certainly bodes well for the company’s future rounds.
(Series A) November 14, 2017
Investors: Index Ventures, Nyca Partners
Built Technologies hit the ground running with their cloud-based construction lending software. CEO Chase Gilbert said they had not seeking outside investment, however after Swiss firm Index Ventures called them up, followed by New York’s Nyca Partners, both voicing serious interest, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to double their workforce in the coming year. Gilbert says the capital will also help them to develop analytical tools, providing greater scientific lending data for their client network.
(Series A) October 11, 2017
Investors: August Capital, StartX, Miramar Ventures, Eric Kwan, BoxGroup
After two years developing its Brilliant Control smart home system, Brilliant brings in $21 million in their Series A, led by major venture player August Capital. The company also announced that they are bringing in former Sonos Sales Executive Kostas Reissis to be their new Vice President of Sales. With their in-demand product hitting the market early this year, the new capital will certainly help the company to hit their production goals.
(Series A) June 14, 2017
Investors: General Catalyst, GGV Capital, GV, Flybridge Capital Partners, First Round Capital
An big Series A was just what Irving Fain, Brian Falther, and David Golden were looking for to take their successful vertical farming solution to the next level. Bowery Farming, The New York-based company, takes advantage of new tech (LED lighting, data analytics, and machine learning integrated into their BoweryOS system) to allow their New Jersey warehouse farm to produce an incredible amount of greens year round.
(Series B) October 11, 2017
Investors: Thrive Capital, The Westly Group, Rudin Ventures, RockPort Capital, RiverPark Ventures, Navitas Capital, Greensoil Building Innovation Fund, Circle Ventures, C-III Capital Partners, Brookfield Property Partners, Bienville Capital Management
Honest Buildings, an online RE project management and procurement platform, closed out its Series B with a combined $13 million in investments from a number of real estate and venture capital firms. The startup has spent the past two years building out its data-driven bid management and reporting solutions, and according to Co-Founder and CEO Riggs Kubiak, will use the new investments to continue this expansion.
(Series A) June 14, 2017
Investors: ServiceMaster, GrandBanks Capital, Salesforce, Recruit Strategic Partners, Promus Ventures, Liberty Mutual Strategic Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Huff Capital, GrandBanks Capital, Assurant Growth Investing
On demand maintenance and repair service platform, Dispatch, finished up a Series A with $12 million in funding led by home services leader ServiceMaster and GrandBanks Capital. ServiceMaster has been a major client of Dispatch’s booking service and praises the company for helping to streamline both their extermination (Terminix) and home warranty (American Home Shield) services. CEO Avi Goldberg says they will now focus on building out their sales and customer service teams.
(Series A) November 15, 2017
Investors: Autodesk Forge Fund, Satterfield Vintage Investments, Assemble Investments
This past November, Boston-based Assemble Systems got a significant boost to their BIM data management software in their Series A led by Autodesk’s Forge Fund. "Boston is rich with investment opportunities and with Autodesk's large construction presence in Boston, the ability to invest in the local startup ecosystem is special," explains Nicholas Mangon, VP, AEC Business Strategy and Marketing.
(Series A) September 27, 2017
Eden’s workplace management platform closed out a $10 million Series A led by s28 Capital’s Spectrum 28 Fund in September. Joe Du Bey, Eden Founder and CEO, says that the raised capital will help the company to build out their workforce and expand their national marketplace beyond San Francisco, LA, NY, and Austin.
(Series A) September 25, 2017
Investors: Blackhorn Ventures, s28 Capital, Greylock Partners, Glynn Capital Management, Brick & Mortar Ventures
As previously reported by BW, Rhumbix’s three Series A rounds brought them to a total funding to date of $20.6 million. It is well worth noting, as well, that Greylock Partners’ participation in September suggests a welcomed arrival of big venture players into the arena.
(Series A) July 13, 2017
The machine-learning-driven industrial photo and video management service, Smartvid.io, procured $7 million in funding in July. Led by Borealis Ventures and Castor Ventures, the round also featured Autodesk, who as part of the deal gave the startup access to their database of construction image files to refine their image scanning software.
Worth noting: July also kicked off a series of four investments in five months for the Autodesk Forge Fund, including Saas prefab construction management platform ManufactOn, prefab building systems provider Project Frog, and the previously listed Assemble Systems.
(Series A) July 11, 2017
Investors: JE Dunn Construction, ward.ventures, TIFEC, KCRise Fund, Flyover Capital
Continuing their Series A, which brought in $5 million in September, 2016, JE Dunn spin out Site 1001 raised another $6 million in investments in 2016. Focused on smart buildings, the company provides a facilities management and maintenance platform that utilizes AI tech. Their goal is to use the $11 million to advance research and sales as they move into their second full year of business.
(Venture Round) November 30, 2017
Investors: Vulcan, Jason Calacanis, Borealis Ventures, Urban US, Alliance of Angels
Blokable topped their $5.5 million fundraising goal with a $6 million round that included Paul Allen’s Vulcan and legendary angel investor Jason Calacanis. Blokable designs and manufactures high tech modular retail, residential, and mixed-use buildings at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods. Former Amazon Senior Manager, Production Management Aaron Holm gives Blokable serious clout as CEO and is likely responsible for the attention the company is receiving from such prominent investors.