BuildingConnected, a San Francisco-based digital construction software that company CEO Dustin DeVan has likened to LinkedIn for contractors, announced it closed $22 million in Series B funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors CrossLink Capital, Brick & Mortar Ventures, Homebrew, and Freestyle.
BuildingConnected’s preconstruction platform is designed to save contractors time and money during the preconstruction phase by simplifying the bidding process and connecting hundreds of thousands of general contractors and subcontractors through its network. The platform is also used by real estate owners to locate general contractors and issue requests for proposals and prequalifications.
To date, BuildingConnected has raised $37.5 million in venture capital, including $8.5 Series A funding led by CrossLink Capital in 2015.
Lightspeed is a self-described “early-stage venture capital firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovation and trends in the enterprise and consumer sectors. Over the past two decades, the Lightspeed team has backed and helped build more than 300 companies globally, many of which have become market leaders.”
“I think Lightspeed’s investment demonstrates how our company is engaged in activities that are exceptionally unique to our industry,” DeVan said. “It also marks a major milestone for our entire team.”
BuildingConnected likely will invest funds in R&D. “Our goal is to become the No. 1 preconstruction platform for contractors in terms of establishing contracts, managing relationships analyzing bids, and managing assets in the field.”
DeVan, who holds degrees in mechanical engineering and aeronautical science, co-founded BuildingConnected in 2012 after working six years for large construction companies such as Bechtel, Rudolph & Sletten, and XL Construction. His vision was to replace static contact databases with streamlined preconstruction bidding.
“The problem is, databases often are outdated, with missing contacts, or they don’t include prospects for prequalification when contractors find themselves expanding into new geographic areas,” DeVan said.
BuildingConnected began building a database by soliciting free bidding profiles. Initial features included a streamlined bid management platform capable of creating projects in minutes and storing documents in a single location. The system also included a network to view subcontractor-managed files and save preferred contacts for future projects.
As BuildingConnected grew to more than 90 staff members and hundreds of thousands of users, so grew the breadth of the company’s offerings.
We’ve been following BuildingConnected since before their Series A, which we talked about in one of our very first episodes of Venture, above.
In 2015, the firm introduced several features intended to support quicker, smarter decision making, with add-ons ranging from performance analytics, historical cost data, and relationship tracking to prequalification forms, integrated cloud storage, non-disclosure agreements, and sealed bids.
“Our vision was very clear from the beginning,” DeVan said. “I can’t think of a single enhancement we’ve adopted that wasn’t on the original roadmap. We knew that of course users were going to want performance analytics and historical cost data. It was clear from the start.”
In May 2017, BuildingConnected released Opportunity Manager, a CRM platform designed for subcontractors, that allows them to manage their bid opportunities — even ones outside of BuildingConnected — in one, consolidated place.
Its pipeline feature shows the status of each bid invitation, from those that have yet to be submitted, to those under review or awarded. It also includes real-time analytics to help subcontractors make informed business decisions.
“The number of U.S. subcontractors outnumbers general contractors 100 to 1, and yet no one builds software systems for them,” DeVan said. “We’re in the process of onboarding a select handful of initial users. So far, they’re loving it.”