In a move that the two firms say reflects a natural overlap in their businesses, construction-finance software maker Built Technologies announced it is acquiring lien-waiver software maker lienwaivers.io.
Primarily serving general contractors looking to manage lien waivers for their specialty contractors, lienwaivers.io will become part of a new Built division called Built for Contractors.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“A critical component of how money flows into this industry is [captured] in the compliance documentation around lien waivers and statements,” says Chase Gilbert, CEO and cofounder of Built.
The firm works primarily with banks and other lending institutions that finance construction, but is looking to secure more data on the movement of money through construction, including information managed by lienwaivers.io’s software.
“We’ve worked to integrate with them in the past, had a few false starts. But it feels like we compliment each other in a unique way—they pick up where we leave off,” he says.
“Our customers are general contractors and subcontractors on commercial and residential side,” says Geoff Arnold, CEO and co-founder of lienwaivers.io. “But we have had lenders come to us, asking about how they wanted to have lien waivers and other compliance documents flow automatically up to our lending partners.”
According to Arnold, lienwaivers.io began in 2015 when he and a co-founder saw just how many hours were spent managing lien waivers and sorting out payments for the numerous specialty contractors on major construction projects.
“People at first were asking for more accounting features [in the software] and we said no. We are focused on the dispersement side of the equation, but we touch everyone from lender to vendor in construction,” Arnold explains. The company's software automates many tedious tasks in collecting and managing lien waivers, and aims to get payments out to specialty contractors and vendors faster than older methods.
For Built, the case for targeting banks’ construction-financing business came from a lack of technology holding up funds.
“For us, dating back to the inception of Built in 2013, we saw a fundamental problem in the way money flowed into and out of construction industry,” says CEO Gilbert. The company’s software is designed to speed up construction financing at large and small lending institutions, automating many of the processes that banks go through in processing construction loans.
“We were looking at the flow of capital into construction, from the lender to the owner down to a general contractor, then a subcontractor, then the suppliers,” recalls Gilbert. “We decided to start at the top of that chain.”
Dealing with a fragmented lending industry that did not consider construction loans to be a major part of their businesses, Gilbert says there was an untapped demand for automating some processes: “Technology is really making its way in to being a digital delivery for lending products.”
But while banks found technology offerings for managing loans for mortgages and other major types of lending, Gilbert found the construction side of lending was technologically unsophisticated. “For us that was a gift, because no one was really thinking about construction lending technology, doing it all online.”
Neither company plans to change its SaaS building model after the acquisition.
Existing integrations for lienwaivers.io with software platforms such as DocuSign and Procore will continue. Both CEOs say they expect to continue to pursue further integrations with major construction software platforms.
But Arnold notes that the addition of lienwaivers.io into Built’s offerings will not change the company’s basic goal. “Every person in the construction ecosystem cares about getting their money,” he says.