It’s hard to believe it has been only 90 days since we penned our last newsletter in March. We could not have imagined the ever-more historic path we’d be on come June 2020. What started as an uncertain year with Covid-19 setting upon us has evolved into a moment destined to be pivotal to society and our world. Beyond adding our voices to the chorus calling for systemic reform, the mission for our team is how to engender real and lasting change in the long run as funders and leaders in our industry. We think it starts by fostering inclusion and support in our community of builders and we are committed to using our voice and our platform wherever possible for lasting and impactful change. As venture capitalists; our focus is on the future. The events that we have all witnessed this spring are a reminder that the past cannot be ignored, should not be dismissed and should be reckoned with in order to move forward; together. As William Gibson has said “the future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” We must all work harder to make sure the promises of the future are evenly distributed in opportunity for all, but especially for those who have been denied it in the past. We hope you will share your thoughts and plans with us, as well. We have found both comfort and inspiration in our discussions with you, our partners, throughout this tumultuous time. Thank you for your continued support and friendship. Let’s keep marching towards a better future together.
BV Portfolio Companies Innovate in the Age of COVID-19
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has affected every company worldwide from disrupting supply chains to sidelining the workforce. Startups have been disproportionately impacted, yet their agility and scrappiness have also driven many to rise to the occasion, tackling challenges presented by virus headon. We’ve been proud to see so many of our PortCo teams do just that – and get recognized for their efforts along the way!
Smartvid.io has received much deserved recognition for the launch of their AI and observation-powered safety plan for construction and COVID-19. The new functionality, part of the SV safety platform, helps organizations reduce the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks on site and document their efforts. Read their most recent coverage in the Boston Globe, and check out their news page for a full roundup of coverage.
75F Chief Evangelist Bob French was quoted in Propmodo’s What Building Owners Need to Know About COVID-19 and Air Filtration commenting on ASHRAE’s recommendation to increase the amount of fresh air coming into a building. Depending on location, pollution, and weather, changing building controls to bring in fresh air can be a guessing game for facilities managers. For this reason, 75F recently came out with an “epidemic mode” for their cloud-based technology, which uses IoT and sensors to monitor and control a building’s internal environment. Read more of 75F’s recent press here.
More on COVID-19 responses:
enVerid Systems CEO Christian Weeks shares that independent third-party tests conducted by LMS Technologies confirm that the company’s HLR modules can help address the potential airborne transmission of viruses. “In light of the growing interest in indoor air quality, we are very pleased to confirm that our technology can help in the fight against COVID-19,” Weeks said in a report shared via the company’s page on LinkedIn.
Join Digital launched their Extended Workplaces VPN product to enable security and access for those working from home. The company is offering the VPN service available free of charge to customers, partners, and the broader commercial real estate community.
Blokable delivered their Blok prototype to the Washington State Department of Health for use as an accessible quarantine unit.
Dandelion Energy CEO Michael Sachse shared the company’s new health and safety procedures for reopening in NY with altenergymag.com. “Pioneering these new standards that allow us to work through this crisis is critical to tackling many of our state’s other big challenges– air pollution, climate changes, and improving indoor air quality.”
More Portfolio News
Built Robotics was profiled in VentureBeat’s feature Robots, AI, and the road to a fully autonomous construction industry.
Congratulations Measurabl on receiving the 2020 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award for its outstanding work to improve ESG data aggregation and quality! The award recognizes partner businesses and organizations that demonstrate superior leadership, innovation, and commitment to environmental protection through energy efficiency. Read more here.
Feeling social, but still social distancing? Join Hypar’s Discord channel. If you are an architect, engineer, contractor, or real estate professional who believes that we can accelerate our industry through sharing expertise, you belong there.
Despite stay-at-home orders, the firm has managed to stay busy. After all, a bored Jesse Devitte is a dangerous thing! Besides our usual schedule of inspiring sessions with our portfolio CEOs, fascinating pitches from entrepreneurs, and contemplative conversations with our LPs and BVIN, we tackled some pretty exciting tasks this spring. We redesigned our website, launched a webinar series for our Innovators Network, participated in virtual panels & podcasts, and made a new investment in the residential construction tech space (more on that in the coming month). Oh, and new headshots by David Shopper.
Heather teamed up with Join Digital CMO Charles Stucki this month to discuss what it will take for knowledge workers to return to the office in a Propel by MIPIM Daily Talk entitled “Open for Business? Building Trust for Returning to Work”.
As part of the site redesign, she launched a new Activity Page to house our musings, investment announcements, and newsletters. Not satisfied merely making the new page searchable and better organized, Heather insisted that we add content to it by launching a series diving into our Investment Thesis. In this first post, she shares our thoughts on the trend of Constructuring.
Jesse found a way to be everywhere while staying put in the Granite State. He gave a prescient interview to Construction Dive on the resilience of construction, tech, and investment in the time of coronavirus. A regular on the panel circuit, demand for Jesse’s thought leadership remained high, and he was thrilled to participate in Thornton Tomasetti’s Ingenuity Now discussion alongside TT’s Executive Chairman & BVIN member, Tom Scarangello. Jesse also appeared on the Constructing Brands podcast on the future of building businesses.
While holding down operations out West, Allen also launched our new BVIN Webinar Series. Each session features a BV portco-led discussion, their ideas on opportunities for innovation in our industry, and Q&A with the audience of network members. We kicked off the series with Join & Join (for your sanity and ours we distinguish them here by their urls Join.build and Join Digital). While the live sessions are exclusive to BVIN members, non-members can view the previously recorded Join Digital webinar now (Password: 8W+JZgw5) and sign up for Join.build’s upcoming encore performance here.
Still not maxed out on content? Then check out Travis on CREtech Talk’s Episode 2 of Perspectives in a Time of Uncertainty. Also, Travis has been a longtime mentor in the MIT DesignX accelerator program. For this cohort he and Heather co-mentored AceLab, a platform connecting architects with the products they need. Congratulations to the founding team for taking home the silver on Pitch Day! Watch all the cohort pitches here.
If your ears need a rest from all the podcasts and webinars, then we’ve got a book recommendation. We’ve all read and loved Dror Poleg’s Rethinking Real Estate, a truly insightful and prognostic view across the industry.