Books We Are Reading
An Action-Packed Summer
New investments, new co-investors, new connections and lots of meetings.
As Jesse would say, the past few months have seen a lot of action. We’ve been longtime collaborators with Andrew Zukoski since his days with Flux and are thrilled to have him and his team back in the Building Ventures family. This summer brought success of a different kind to another early collaborator via the acquisition of Honest Buildings by Procore. HB was an early real estate tech investment of Borealis that helped to inspire the founding of Building Ventures. We added two other companies to the portfolio although they’re not quite ready to share with the world just yet (stay tuned). As a result of these new deals, along with follow-on investments in Smartvid.io and Blokable, the roster of amazing co-investors who are seeing the opportunity to make a massive impact in our space continues to grow.
The team crisscrossed the country over the past several months meeting with dozens of entrepreneurs doing innovative things in all aspects of the built environment, and Jesse even managed a stop in Chicago to pick up a BuiltWorlds award along the way. In June, we held the second major gathering of over 100 members of our Innovators Network to discuss the critical importance of Sustainability in how we design, build and operate the world we live in. This gave us the opportunity to showcase BxP’s Salesforce Tower which (along with some incredible views) boasts being the Best Tall Building Worldwide.
Blokable Series A
We are pleased to share our latest follow on investment in Blokable, the vertically integrated developer that builds high-quality, low-cost and connected housing for the “missing middle”. The Series A round was led by Vulcan Capital and our co-investors include Kapor Capital, Jason Calcanis’ LAUNCH, Motley Fool Ventures, Marc Benioff, Ten Eighty Capital as well as angel investors James Brooks and Dennis Joyce. Congratulations to Aaron, Nelson and the entire Blokable team!
Join Seed Investment
In June, BV co-led the Seed round of Join, leaders in preconstruction collaboration software, alongside our friends at Signalfire with participation from Bolt. Preconstruction is ripe for transformation. CEO Andrew and Co-Founders Drew, Jim and Ye are just the team of insightful, determined and talented entrepreneurs you’d want tackling such a longstanding issue. We are excited to collaborate with the Join team along our mutual journey to a better built world!
Smartvid.io Strategic Funding Round
Smartvid.io completed a strategic funding round to help drive their work on predictive analytics, welcoming in new strategic investors Suffolk, Obayashi, and JE Dunn alongside additional funding from existing strategic investors Building Ventures and Leawood Venture Capital. They’ve also added to the team, including a new VP of Industry Strategy, Tim Gattie. Welcome Tim, and congratulations Team Smartvid!
Honest Buildings Acquired by Procore
Congratulations to Honest Buildings CEO & Co-Founder Riggs Kubiak on the company’s recent acquisition by Procore. A leading project management platform for owners, Honest Buildings was an early proptech investment by Jesse at Borealis that helped inspire the founding of Building Ventures with our focus on construction and real estate tech investments. Riggs, co-founders Cody Roberts and Garrett Kubiak and the company’s additional 100+ team members will join the Procore team.
BV News & Events:
Building Ventures Innovators Network
Focus on Sustainability
June 4th marked the second meeting of the Building Ventures Innovators Network, this time convening in San Francisco. The topic of the evening was Sustainability in the Built Environment, and, thanks to the participation of over 100 industry leaders and an amazing locale provided by our hosts CBRE and BxP’s Salesforce Tower, it did not disappoint. Here are some highlights:
BV Innovators at Salesforce Tower
Travis kicked off the event off by introducing the network to Ian Keough, CEO & Co-Founder of portfolio company Hypar.
Ben Myers, Director of Sustainability at BxP shared strategy, successes and his optimism for the future in a Fireside Chat with portfolio company Founder & CEO Matt Ellis of Measurabl.
David Bowcott of Aon moderated a panel representing perspectives on Sustainability and Resiliency across architects, engineers, contractors and owners. Peter Alspach of NBBJ, Eric Lamb of DPR, Krista Raines of Thornton Tomasetti and Jonathan Rowe of Facebook comprised the panel of experts.
Inaugural BV Innovator Award
When it comes to pioneering Sustainability in our industry, few can hold a candle to David Pogue, the retired former Global Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at CBRE. We honored his lifelong contributions with the inaugural presentation of our Innovator Award. Dave’s protege and Measurabl CEO Matt Ellis presented the award to his friend and mentor.
Thought Leadership & Press
Procore & ENR Mid-Year Forecasts
Jesse headlined this annual webinar reflecting on the first half of 2019 and projecting into the back half of the year. Joined by two top economic forecasters, Jesse brought his perspective as an investor and industry tech expert.
In case you missed it, John Caulfield, Senior Editor at Building Design + Construction featured Jesse in his piece AEC Angel Investor focused on venture capitalists who’ve bet on the AEC industry finally coming around to embrace technology.
The BV Team at Industry Events
Travis at Future of Real Estate Tech Summit by LAB
In May, Travis took to the stage with several other Proptech investors at the Future of Real Estate Tech Summit presented by LAB Ventures. The group discussed the growing role of venture capital in introducing technology and startups to the Real Estate industry.
Allen at Paris Region Enterprise Global Open Innovation Network
Allen joined a panel of industry experts to lead a discussion of “Digitalization in The Built Environment”. The event series and network support Paris Region Enterprise’s mission of accelerating innovation, particularly in the construction industry, by bringing together leaders in the field.
Summer brought more awards!
Zilper Trenchless Takes 1st Place at MITdesignX’s Demo & Pitch Night
The BV team continues to champion MITdesignX through mentorship. Throughout the year Travis mentored 2019 cohort venture Zilper Trenchless. Co-Founders Daniel and Roberto Zillante’s first product is a machine that drastically reduces the cost of installing water piping by eliminating the need to dig trenches. Their hard work paid off when they received the top honors and $5K prize at the 2019 Demo & Pitch competition. Keep up the great work!
Jesse is a BuiltWorlds Maverick Award Recipient
Jesse stopped by the BuiltWorlds Summit in Chicago to pick up a 2019 Maverick Award! The list highlights 50 individuals who have acted as trendsetters, innovative thinkers and catalysts of change in their respective fields. From architects and engineers to contractors, real estate moguls, technologists, venture investors and urban designers, BuiltWorlds identifies boundary-pushers from across the built landscape. Well deserved, Jesse!
Catch up with a Building Ventures team member at one of these upcoming events:
DisruptCRE San Francisco
September 12, 2019 | San Francisco, CA
Primary VC Summit (By Invitation)
September 17-18, 2019 | New York, NY
AEC Advisors Chief Executive Summit (By Invitation)
September 17-18, 2019 | New York, NY
2019 ULI Fall Meeting
September 18-21, 2019 | Washington D.C.
San Diego Venture Summit
September 26, 2019 | San Diego, CA
Building Ventures Innovators Network Fall Meeting: The Autonomous Built Environment (By Invitation) | October 18, 2019 | Dock 72 Brooklyn, NY