2024 Venture West Demo Day Winner Spotlight: Parspec

VentureWest2024_Demo Day-13

Parspec continues to turn heads in the AEC industry as it emerges from a competitive field to be crowned winner of the 2024 Venture West Demo Day Pitch Competition.

The top startups that emerged from the 2024 Venture West Demo Day reflect overall trends in built world venture investing, including keen interest in AI-powered and infrastructure-focused companies. Innovative solutions for EV charging, urban mobility, construction FinTech and scheduling tech all found favor amongst the judges panel, but ultimately Parspec won beat out the other nine companies with its approach: providing AI-enabled software for sales agents and distributors of construction materials to support product selection, quoting and submittal preparation.

BuiltWorlds Demo Day Rules

By way of background, in the BuiltWorlds’ Demo Day Pitch Competition evaluation process, a panel of judges actively investing in the AEC space evaluates each pitch on a scale of 1-5 based on the following equally-weighted five criteria:

  1. Market opportunity and size
  2. Underlying technology
  3. Business model and go-to-market strategy
  4. Management team and leadership
  5. Competitive edge
Demo day winner, Forest Flager of Parspec, delivers his pitch
Demo day winner, Forest Flager of Parspec, delivers his pitch

The judges' scores are averaged for each criteria field and then a combined average is taken across all criteria to determine the winner. This year’s Venture West judges panel consisted of the following industry leaders: Matt Wheelis (SVP of Strategy, Nemetschek), Diana Swenton (Investor, Suffolk Technologies), Allen Preger (Partner, Building Ventures), Akihiro Manda (Venture Manager - Innovation Incubation Office, Kajima), Burak Gursel (Acquisition & Integration Manager, Simpson Strong-Tie), Eliot Jones (Principal, Trimble Ventures), Santhosh Chandrabalan (VP of Business Development & Ventures, Cornerstone Building Brands).

Emerging from a close field of innovative startups shaping the built world, Parspec’s combined average score of 3.63 out of a maximum 5.0 secured the gold medal. Below is a list of the top five startups and their average scores:

  1. Parspec - 3.63/5
  2. Swyft Cities - 3.21/5
  3. Voltpost - 3.17/5
  4. Ediphi - 3.02/5
  5. ClimeCast - 2.74/5

Parspec Bona Fides

According to several judges, Parspec’s scalable business model for construction material procurement was the differentiating factor. Currently, Parspec serves the electrical and lighting industry to address the following problems: high amount of labor hours spent on product selection, quoting and submittals; low success rate of electrical RFQs and low industry profit margins.

Parspec leverages AI to index over 3 million product documents from 1,800 manufacturers every day, extract over a billion performance and technical parameters and enable a streamlined product search and comparison system.

While Parspec’s beachhead target market is electrical and lighting OEMs, the company plans to scale for other construction materials providers after mastering its inaugural market. The startup’s service model is simple yet effective: they capture available data, understand with AI and deliver efficiency and insights. This model provides a scalable foundation for Parspec as it looks to encompass the gamut of the construction supply chain for its future growth initiatives.

As it turns out, proven ARR doesn’t hurt either. Parspec has booked $1.2M in ARR across 175 customers with a low churn rate of 2.2 percent.

Co-founder and CEO Forest Flager brings a background in structural engineering from Arup and Katerra to the helm of Parsec. Flager also has an extensive relevant academic background with a PhD in Civil Engineering from Stanford, a Master of Structural Engineering from MIT, a Master of Digital Media from Harvard and a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Stanford.

Flager’s deep industry acumen is supplemented by his co-founder and CTO Pratyush Havelia who has industry experience from Autodesk, construction tech startup experience and MEP engineering consultancy. In a capital constrained fundraising environment where management experience is top of mind for investors, it's no surprise that this team scored highly with our Demo Day judges.

Demo Day runner-up: Jeral Poskey of Swyft Cities
Demo Day runner-up: Jeral Poskey of Swyft Cities

Of the 10 startups that pitched for this year’s demo day, the top three positions confirmed industry sentiments that AI is leading the charge followed by a heavy interest in infrastructure tech.

Swyft Cities, the Demo Day runner-up, is creating a smart gondola system for urban mobility. This infrastructure solution will be used to connect real estate developments to offsite parking, thus reducing traffic and automotive emissions. Voltpost, the bronze medal Demo Day contestant, is retrofitting lampposts with EV charging hardware. The interest in these startups from the judges panel also underscore the shifting investing paradigm towards infrastructure and mobility technologies.

Startups 811spotter, Projexion, ProjectMark, Optimotive and ControlQore also delivered impressive pitches (the order listed does not reflect judges’ ranking).

Congratulations to the Parspec team!

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