Day Two of the BuiltWorlds 2022 Venture East Conference has come and gone. Over three days, BuiltWorlds hosted more than 150 industry professionals focused on venture investing in emerging construction technology or are players in the built world. Attendees joined in person and on the livestream for various Forum Meetings and a slew of General Session Panels. Day Two focussed on Construction Tech adoption, with an emphasis on later-stage investments. Conversations touched on investing in the built environment, new materials, sustainability, and ended with a look at what it takes to be successful in this space.
The day’s first panel was titled “A 4-D Look Into Industry 4.0” and featured a diverse group of investment professionals in the building-tech ecosystem. Panelists included Joseph Angotti, Principal at Grouse Ridge Capital, Tigre Wenrich, CEO of LAB Miami Ventures, Rip Furniss, SVP at Houlihan Lokey, and Raja Ghawi, Partner at Era Ventures. Together the group provided an array of perspectives on investing in this still nascent venture space.
The next panel, “New Materials of The Future,” took a closer look at potential alternative materials in the AEC space that could help alleviate CO2 emissions worldwide. Jeff Ouyang, Director of Innovation with UFP Industries, Adam Jaffe, Senior Engineer at ARUP, and Tim Sperry, CEO of Carbon Limit, provided their insights into the changing landscape surrounding new materials. The group agreed that the supply chain plays a considerable role in procuring high-performance materials that may only be available in some regions.
Following a brief networking break, the General Sessions continued with “When Sustainability and Profitability Collide.” This panel highlighted the fact that sustainability initiatives do not necessarily mean high costs and low profits. Speakers included Andrea Chico, Business Development Manager at Ferguson Ventures (CVC arm of Ferguson Enterprises), Jason Blumberg, Managing Director with Energy Foundry, and Roger Krulak, President of FullStack Modular. Based on his time in the space, Jason noted, “The industry has changed from why do I care to what can I do.”
The final panel of the 2022 Venture East Conference focused on “What it Takes To Be a Built World Unicorn.” As discussed on stage, a unicorn is a startup company that is valued at over $1B. To help understand what investors look for in a startup before they reach unicorn status, Momei Qu, Managing Director at PSP Growth, Travis Connors, Co-Founder and General Partner of Building Ventures, KP Reddy, Managing Partner of Shadow Ventures, and Diana Swenton, Venture Capital at Suffolk Technologies, took the stage for a candid conversation. Like Daniel Fetner alluded to in his Keynote Address, Travis mentioned a “Founder-Problem Fit.” The panel agreed that technical skills alone do not create a great company; instead, what’s critical is a deep understanding of the problem they’re solving.
After the conclusion of the General Session, Dan Laboe announced that LightYX was the winner of the 2022 Venture East Demo Day Competition.
The final event of this year’s Venture East Conference was the inaugural meeting of the Building Tech Forum. This Forum intends to promote and facilitate conversations around building technology. Unlike some of the other BuiltWorlds Forums, the Building Tech Forum will be conversational instead of presentation based—conversations will cover nine different categories including Asset Management, Modular Systems, and Sensors & Robotics, to name a few. The inaugural meeting included an informal panel with Prabhakar Karri (KP), Director at Anderson Corporation, Josh Lowe, Co-Founder and Chief Solutions Officer of Akita Box, and Bernd Oswald, Co-Founder and Business Development at Gropyous.