While the world's ecosystem of Construction and Real Estate Tech Companies has grown exponentially since our first visit to San Francisco back in 2014, two event-filled days in the city illustrated how the Bay Area has retained its edge in the now global ecosystem of startups, investors, engaged industry players, mature technology companies and other stakeholders. On the heels of a mixer with the startups from newly created San Francisco-based accelerator, Formwork Labs, we also held a BuiltWorlds Meetup and connected with members from the area's ecosystem, including OpenSpace, whose recent round places their valuation right about at unicorn level. Between the mixer and the meetup, we caught up with an influential group of BuiltWorlds Members who have made homes (or bases) in the Bay Area, leaving us with a clear picture of the continuing strength of the region in the industry overall digital transformation journey.
Formwork Labs Accelerator Mixer: A Powerful Networking Event Leading Up To the Summit
Brick & Mortar Ventures played host to a mixer for Formwork Labs' startups so that they could meet with investors, industry players, and other technologists. The penultimate event for the startups in the Formwork Labs Cohort, players from companies including Autodesk, Blackhorn Ventures, Binsky Snyder, Goldbeck, Touchdown Ventures, Zacua Ventures and others turned out to show their support from some of the industry's newest tech companies, gathered from around the world. The companies will have a final opportunity to present in front of a large group gathered in Chicago for the BuiltWorlds Summit on September 7th, but they clearly were already making valuable contacts through the course of the summer.
BuiltWorlds Meetup Yields a Fresh Crop of Promising Built World Startups
Beyond those gathered for Formwork Labs Meetup, we had a chance to meet up with members for a little networking, in a resumption of an annual tradition that had been interrupted in recent years. While our early years in San Francisco brought us together with people from companies like BuildingConnected, Plangrid, and Rhumbix, we had the opportunity to get together with people from startups like ALICE Technologies, Cupix, and OpenSpace - which recently entered unicorn territory.
The Industry's Global Leaders Plant Roots in the Bay Area.
Also joining us for our Meetup was Takahiro Machinaga, Director of TAK-GRIT, one of a growing group of representatives of companies from all over the world planting roots in the Bay Area and engaging proactively with the startups, venture investors, and others in the region. Other companies from Asia with permanent presence in the Bay Area include GS Futures, Kajima, and Obayashi. From Europe, Bouygues and Goldbeck are among those with boots on the ground. Acting as beta customers and investors and also helping the area's startups expand to other parts of the world, these global companies also provide the area's startups with invaluable assistance expanding to other parts of the world.
BuiltWorlds quickly expanding Venture team led by Dan Laboe & Jack Forde also had the pleasure of meeting with the Obayashi US innovation team in the Bay Area this past week. Obayashi's state-of-the-art SVVL (Silicon Valley Ventures & Laboratory), in San Carlos, CA, was eye opening to the level of dedication this leading Japanese construction company has to uncovering the next Built World unicorn. It is no wonder why this AEC titan's strategic fund (CVC) is a leader in Japan's efficiency-fueled economy.
New San Francisco-Area Funds Continue to Proliferate: Announcing Takeoff Ventures
Even as we wrapped up our visit, we were greeted with the news of yet another Venture Capital Firm launching in the area. Founded by Willy and Jabbok Schlacks, the Founder of industry unicorn, EquipmentShare, along with investors Joey Kim and Warren Chia, Takeoff Ventures is the latest Bay Area startup exclusively focused on construction tech. Capitalizing on what they learned from building Equipment Share into a leading industry equipment rental and operating system, the team will bring another source for seed through series B investment, adding to the Bay Area's already impressive roster of investors.
Save the Date for Our Venture West Conference: Westin Saint Francis, San Francisco, March 21-22, 2023
We gained many insights on this trip that will help us build out our Venture West Conference, in March of 2023, in San Francisco. If you are interested in the industry's West Coast and Asian Venture and Startup Community, sign up now the Venture West Conference, apply to speak, or reach out for more information on how to be involved. This conference has grown each year we have held it, and we are working hard to make sure that 2023 is its best year, yet!