We are pleased to announce Building Ventures’ investment in Join, the leading provider of Converged Network as a Service (CNaaS) for Smart Buildings and Smart Workplaces. The San Francisco-based startup was founded in 2016 by a team of serial technology entrepreneurs who led the revolutions in optical networking, cybersecurity and cloud computing. Join was born when innovative Commercial Real Estate Owners & Operators, seeking the “backbone” required to power their ever “smarter” buildings, asked if that same level of high performance networking the founding team was known for could be delivered as a service. The team at Join answered the call by developing their best-in-class service layered on top of their unmatched fiber optic networking and cybersecurity IP to bring CNaaS to market.
We were excited about Join for a number of reasons. First, CEO Karl May, along with his co-founders, is a pioneer of networking. When you think about founder/market fit, you envision an expert like Karl applying his vast knowledge to solving a problem like highly secure yet simple-to-execute connectivity for a huge market like commercial real estate owners with ever-growing tenant demands for smarter buildings and flexible options.
It was, in fact, an early adopter who put Join on our radar. We were introduced to Karl and Join by Jim Whalen, the CIO & SVP of Boston Properties and a Building Ventures Innovator Network member. Jim was an early Join customer turned evangelist. You can hear about Jim’s experience implementing Join in FLEX by BXP, the organization’s flexible lease product, as well as in Dock 72, BXP’s 675,000 sf Class-A office building co-developed with Rudin Development in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. Needless to say, when one of CRE’s most vocal advocates for innovation and a perpetual evaluator and adoptor of the latest and best technologies tells us he is excited about a startup and would like to introduce us, we take that intro!
These early BXP projects exemplify two of the most exciting opportunities and reasons we wanted to participate in Join’s Series A1. Two key meta trends that contribute to our investment thesis are the notion of Space as a Service and the evolution of Autonomous Buildings. The components that make up Join’s CNaaS product offering form the very backbone of enabling these two trends to become a reality. The Join Cloud for Smart Workplaces enables owners to provide exceptional, secure connectivity to coworking, flex and enterprise tenants alike, allowing for happy, productive workforces on Day 1 of occupancy. Expanded to a building or campus-wide perspective, the Join Cloud for Smart Buildings provides innovative owners and operators with that network they need to securely power IoT and smart devices, streamline operational technology and thereby elevate the tenant experience, bringing us several steps closer to the autonomous buildings of the future.
We were thrilled to participate in this $10M Series A1, led by our friends at Canaan Partners. The capital will be deployed to expand Join’s user base and Class A building footprint, as well as grow the Sales and Engineering teams.
You can learn more about Join and even hear Jim Whalen talk about rolling out his first two Join projects here. We look forward to seeing how Join continues to transform our expectations of the “fourth utility” and enable truly smart buildings.