The technological advances we’ve made over the past thousand years are astounding, but the construction industry still relies on centuries-old technology.
Setting up a robot to mix concrete is easy, but delivering a CementTron 3000 to a workplace, training employees on its use, and keeping it serviced are not the kind of disruptions that builders seek, especially when margins are so small and experienced workers are hard to find.
Even so, investors are backing startups that bring robotics, data management, automation, and augmented reality into the building process.
Many of the major construction firms run their own R&D divisions, but that hasn’t fundamentally changed attitudes about adopting new technologies: in a survey, more than a third of respondents who worked in the industry said they were ambivalent about the use of new tools. Despite their reluctance, a growing number of construction tech startups are helping builders with offers, planning, modeling software, and, quite frequently, drones.
To learn more about the market forces that shaped construction technology in 2022, we spoke to five investors:
- Nikitas Koutoupes, managing director, Insight Partners
- Heinrich Gröller, partner, Speedinvest
- Momei Qu, CEO, PSP Growth
- Suzanne Fletcher, business partner, Prime Movers Lab
- Sungjoon Cho, general partner, D20 Capital
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For better or for worse: managing the tension between founder and CEO within a startup
Technical founders often recruit a CEO who can fill in the gaps in their business experience, but if they can’t build a solid partnership, everyone suffers.
Metaphorically, imagine two people in a lifeboat arguing which direction to go ashore.
Managing potential stress points is key, but founders need to be pragmatic – choose only someone you respect and be prepared to invest time and energy to nurture a close relationship, advises Max Schireson, a resident executive at Battery Ventures. Previously, MongoDB’s co-founders hired him as CEO.
“At best, a strong partnership can pave the way for new models and build a long-lasting, high-impact business,” says Schireson.
Dear Sophie: Can I do anything to speed up the EAD renewal process?
I have an L-2 visa as a dependent spouse of my husband’s L-1A.
My EAD (work permit) expires in May: we asked for an extension of both my visa and EAD a few months ago. How long does the ongoing process take?
Could there be anything I can do so that my work is not affected?
– Focused on career
A chart’s argument that tech ratings have dropped too low
As you may have heard, tech companies are having a bit of a problem whoopsie.
But is it possible that stock sellers have gone too far when it comes to devaluing these startups so deeply and so quickly?
Alex Wilhelm says yes, largely because “the selected technology concerns are now worth less than they were before the pandemic, despite having a few years of bank growth.”
To back up his thesis, he tracked Okta’s share price and found that the identity platform’s share price is back to where it was in early 2019.
“It is also about three times bigger,” writes Alex. “But today it is worth less than it was then. Chew on it.
3 things to remember when diversifying your startup cap table
Just as a sales team builds and refines their own funnel, early stage founders in fundraising mode can create an investor funnel that will help sustain their business for years to come.
Oriana Papin-Zoghbi, CEO and co-founder of women’s health startup AOA Dx, shared her investor analysis with TC +:
- 35% private investors.
- 34% women (female investors or funds).
- 26% venture capitalists.
- 23% family and friends.
- 18% international investors.
- 15% groups of angels.
“When building an investor funnel, expressing what you want is key to finding the right investors,” says Papin-Zoghbi.
“Finding the right investors is like finding the right team members – you have to be ahead of your expectations and tackle what you want them to bring to the table.”
Pitch Deck Teardown: BoxedUp’s $ 2.3 million seed round suit deck
When video production equipment rental company BoxedUp was launched, it initially focused on serving corporate customers who hosted events and conferences.
And then, it took place: Earlier this year, BoxedUp raised a $ 2.3 million seed round to expand its rental marketplace where people can rent high-end equipment directly to creators.
“We found a $ 10 billion opportunity where owner-operators rent things through Instagram and rental shops are still using very old websites,” said CEO and founder Donald Boone.
“Instead of spending $ 30,000 to buy a camera to rent one at a time, we could instead create the platform to connect the people who have that $ 30,000 camera,” he told TechCrunch in March.
To help other founders replicate his success with the BoxedUp seed round, he shared the 22-slide unreacted deck with TechCrunch +.