There has been a rush of venture capital money into the construction technology sector in recent years, and some players already in the space are building out their positions as well.
San Francisco-based Brick & Mortar Ventures has been expanding its funding for several construction technology startups in recent years, boosting software and hardware companies such as ManufactOn, Fieldwire, Serious Labs and Illumagear. Several established construction tech startups, including PlanGrid and Rhumbix, also got an early boost several years ago from Brick & Mortar Ventures managing director and co-founder Darren Bechtel’s early funding. Now, the firm is broadening its reach with a new investment initiative.
The venture capital firm announced on Aug. 13 that it has closed a $97.2-million institutional venture funding round, its first institutional capital investment and its largest fund to date. The fund will target emerging technologies in construction, with a focus on hardware and software that improves the building process.
Backers of the fund include major industry players such as Autodesk, Hilti, Obayashi, CEMEX Ventures, Sidewalk Labs and United Rentals. Brick & Mortar Ventures' “preferred industry partners” also include construction firm Bechtel. While Brick & Mortar Ventures co-founder Darren Bechtel no longer works for his family's business, Bechtel will serve as a partner and advisor to Brick & Mortar Ventures.
“Brick & Mortar Ventures is certainly one of the leading investors in construction tech and a key driver in developing the ecosystem in this space,” said Vivin Hegde, Hilti’s Director of Technology in a press statement. “We very much appreciate and benefit from our close partnership."
“Whether by good intuition, pure luck, or something in between, my first four construction tech investments were into the seed rounds of PlanGrid, BuildZoom, BuildingConnected, and Rhumbix,” Darren Bechtel said in a press statement. “The rapid growth, impact, and early success of these companies strengthened my conviction there was ‘gold in them hills,’ and now was the time to invest and double down on our built world tech investment thesis.”
Brick & Mortar Ventures will continue to target seed and Series A funding for technology companies, with a focus on companies based in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia. Initial investments will be between $1 million and $4 million, with reserved capital for follow-up investment, according to the firm.