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Last month, we hosted the latest Building Ventures Innovators Network Fall Summit in Boston. Our theme this year was data in the built environment, specifically how the digitization of the built environment is enabling all of us to transform our business practices by making data-driven decisions across all phases of a building’s life. With AI in tech dominating headlines, we wanted to explore how the data all around us can improve all phases of the building lifecycle with the members of the Building Ventures Innovators Network, or BVIN.

Allen Preger hosting BVIN Fall 2023

As usual, Building Ventures Partner and BVIN leader Allen Preger was our MC for the day.

At the BVIN Fall Summit, we also made a special announcement. We’re excited to share that we presented Oprizon CEO and long-time BVIN member Hiroto Sato with the Building Ventures Innovator Award in recognition of his enduring commitment to fostering innovation in the building industry. Throughout his career, Hiroto has been a constant supporter of new technologies, an advocate for strengthening industry connections in the US and Japan, and a frequent collaborator with many Building Ventures portfolio companies. Our team was thrilled to present him with the award—plus a little something extra to commemorate the day.

Building Data

We’ve shared before that our goal for all BVIN Summits is to connect our community, showcase work our members are doing, and create opportunities for further engagement and collaboration. For these events, we gather members of the network, which includes more than one hundred building industry professionals in addition to our strategic LPs and portfolio company leaders, as well as interested individuals in the local built environment ecosystem.

On Wednesday, October 26, we gathered at the Boston Public Library to discuss data with more than one hundred industry professionals. UpCodes CEO Scott Reynolds kicked us off with a deep dive into the code compliance platform. After amassing building code and aggregating these regulations in a central location, UpCodes is able to  harness AI to parse through code quickly, efficiently, and effectively. The result allows architects, builders, GCs, and more to bypass the time-draining process of searching for building codes and focus on strategic decisions for their projects instead.

This benefit of time, attention, and budget to focus on higher-order activities proved to be a common thread throughout the day, including in our two cornerstone panels. These group discussions were centered on our beliefs about data in the built environment: Building Is Data, and Buildings Are Data. In the first panel, GS Futures Managing Partner Aaron Toppston led a conversation about the impact of data, on and off-site, impacts GC firms with Brasfield & Gorrie Chief Strategy Officer Chris Kramer, Gilbane Head of Innovation & Transformation Kelly Benedict, and McCarthy Building Company Chief Administrative Officer Justin McFarland.

Ben Myers, Anne Peck, and Maggie McCarey at BVIN Fall 2023

Aeroseal’s Head of Policy and Market Development Maggie McCarey, right, moderated our sustainability-focused “Buildings Are Data” panel with BXP’s Senior VP of Sustainability Ben Myers and TA Realty’s VP, Head of ESG+R Anne Peck. 

After we closed our presentations with a keynote address from Brian Potter, the writer behind Construction Physics, our own Jesse Devitte took the stage to present Hiroto with the Innovator Award.

Naming Hiroto Sato a Building Ventures Innovator 2023

The Building Ventures Innovators Award honors individuals who have driven meaningful change to create a better built world. Hiroto Sato has more than 30 years of experience working in the construction industry, primarily at industry-leading Japanese construction company Obayashi. In his last role at Obayashi, Hiroto led the company’s Silicon Valley Ventures & Laboratory (SVVL) initiative.

SVVL’s aim is to promote innovation in construction technology, and Hiroto proved a passionate advocate for our industry’s much needed digital transformation. It was in this capacity that Hiroto became a partner to our team at Building Ventures, and he began to work closely with many of our portfolio companies. In fact, during our BVIN Fall Summit, Join Digital VP of Product Jayesh Patel shared the company, including a large, collaborative effort with Obayashi.

In his current role leading Oprizon, Hiroto will continue to champion innovation in our industry. Launched by Obayashi and Hitachi Solutions, Oprizon is a smart building and construction technology service provider. In addition to that company’s commitment to carbon neutrality, Oprizon will also introduce US-based startup services to the Japanese market to expand the industry adoption of new technologies.

For all of these reasons, our team was thrilled to present Hiroto with the Innovator Award. And because we were in Boston, and we know Hiroto is a Red Sox fan, we couldn’t help but commemorate the occasion with a jersey, too.

Jesse Devitte presenting Oprizon CEO Hiroto Sato with a personalized Red Sox Jersey at BVIN Fall 2023

After presenting Hiroto Sato with the Building Ventures Innovator Award, Jesse Devitte handed over Hiroto’s  Red Sox jersey.

In a lucky coincidence, the number 23 couldn’t have been more fitting for Hiroto’s jersey. Red Sox Hall-of-Famer Luis Tiant wore the same number. Tiant is famous for his signature windup—if you were in the room, you saw me demonstrate it—that helped him win 229 games throughout his career. Beyond his record, the pitcher is notable as one of the most revered and respected players of his time for his good nature, good sportsmanship, and commitment to his teammates. 

This is the perfect tribute for Hiroto. We were thrilled to honor his deep commitment to our industry and celebrate not only his achievements, but also his unfailing friendship to Building Ventures.