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Why the end of Katerra doesn’t mean the end of construction tech investing

August 24, 2021, 2:49 PM UTC

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The high profile death of Katerra, a construction tech startup that aimed to slice and dice the cost of building, has not deterred investors from funding the space, it seems.

On Tuesday, ICON Technology, an Austin-based startup using 3D printing in construction, raised $207 million in Series B funding led by Norwest Ventures. Others in the round included 8VC, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, BOND, Citi, Crosstimbers, Ensemble, Fifth Wall, LENx, Moderne Ventures, and Oakhouse Partners.

The round comes a few months after another 3D-printed home startup, Mighty Buildings, raised $40 million in Series B funding, and a handful of companies building housing in backyards like Abodu have also attracted millions.

Katerra went sideways for very good reasons — the construction industry is complex, building is costly and cash-burn intensive, making it difficult to match with a move-fast hyperscaling model, etc. — but investors still appear to be sinking their teeth into tech for the space.

Certainly there are a number of factors why: Construction is a trillion-dollar-plus industry, making it a huge potential opportunity for new entrants (home construction company Lennar for example is worth $32 billion). Incumbents also remain largely behind when it comes to tech. 

Granted this was all true years ago. But recent shifts in the economy have also brought the need for tech to the fore: Stay-at-home orders and supply chain disruptions have increased the need for technology around coordination. Meanwhile, soaring home prices have created a market for startups in the rent-to-own and mortgage spaces as well as in lowering the cost of building itself. I also can’t help but wonder to what extent Marc Andreessen’s all too famous early pandemic essay, “It’s time to build,” left a thought in the minds of the investors who read it.

There’s also perhaps a less savory factor too in the mix: It’s a frothy environment where unicorns are being minted daily. Capital is everywhere and investors seem willing to take risks.

Still, regardless of this odd time in funding, it remains true that construction is a massive industry. Meaning it’ll be worth watching the players in the space.

WARNING SIGNS? Yesterday, I wrote of how Fanatics managed to unpend Topps’ 70-year partnership to produce MLB trading cards effectively by offering equity to the sports leagues. A reader, who asked to remain anonymous, wrote back with an interesting point regarding this trade off: “This became quite prevalent in 1999 and of course ended when crashed. It actually can impact recognition of that revenue if the auditors come to the conclusion that the customer got something in addition to the product or license for the money they are giving the provider, in this case equity. It makes sense that this rule exists as indeed value is provided to the customer outside of the product purchased or licensed.

I hate to say it’s 1999 all over again but this is an easy one to point to.”

Lucinda Shen

Jessica Mathews compiled the IPO and SPAC sections of this newsletter.


- Ramp, a New York City-based corporate card startup, raised $300 million in Series C funding valuing it at $3.9 billion. Founders Fund led the round and was joined by investors including Redpoint Ventures, Thrive Capital, D1 Capital Partners, Spark Capital, Coatue Management, Iconiq, Altimeter, Stripe, Lux Capital, A* Partners, Definition Capital, Vista Public Strategies, Honeycomb, and Kinetic. It also acquired Buyer, a negotiation platform.

- Plentific, a London-based platform for smart property management, raised $100 million in Series C funding. Highland Europe and Brookfield Technology Partners led the round and were joined by investors including Mubadala Investment Company, RXR Digital Ventures, A/O PropTech, and Target Global.

- Khatabook, an Indian fintech startup, raised $100 million in Series C funding. Tribe Capital and Moore Strategic Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including Alkeon Capital, B Capital Group, Sequoia Capital, Tencent, RTP Ventures, Unilever Ventures, and Better Capital.

- Urbint, a New York City-based A.I. platform for predicting and stopping threats to critical infrastructure, raised $60 million in Series C funding. Energize Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including American Electric Power, OGCI Climate Investments, Energy Impact Partners, National Grid Partners, Blue Bear Capital, and Salesforce Ventures

- Bridge to Life, a Northbrook, Ill.-based provider of organ preservation solutions, raised $56 million. Perceptive Advisors led the round.

- AllStripes, a San Francisco-based rare diseases company, raised $50 million in Series B funding. Lux Capital led the round and was joined by investors including JAZZ Venture Partners, Spark Capital, Medidata Solutions, McKesson Ventures, and Maveron.

- Xalud Therapeutics, a New York City-based clinical-stage biotech, raised $30 million in Series C funding. PBM Capital led the round.

- Covera Health, a New York City-based healthcare analytics company, raised $25 million in Series C funding. Insight Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Equity Group Investment.

- Equum Medical, a New York City-based provider of acute care telehealth, raised $20 million. The Heritage Group led the round.

- Biome Makers, West Sacramento, Calif.-based soil biology analysis company, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Prosus Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Seaya Ventures, Viking Global Investors, JME Ventures, and Pymwymic.

- Veego Software, a New York City-based customer experience company, raised $13 million in Series A funding. Magenta Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including State of Mind Ventures, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, North First Ventures, and Amdocs Ventures.

- Armored Things, a Boston-based provider of crowd analysis for sports and entertainment venues, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Nimble Ventures led and was joined by investors including Gutbrain Ventures, PBJ Capital, and Micromanagement Ventures. 

- Tango, a Los Angeles-based screenshotting and training tutorial company, raised $5.7 million in seed funding. Wing Venture Capital led the round and was joined by investors including General Catalyst, GSV Ventures, Outsiders Fund, and Red Sea Ventures. 

- Soda Health, a Bentonville, Ark.-based health technology company, raised $6 million in seed funding. Lightspeed Venture Partners and Define Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Qiming Venture Partners USA.

- CapShift, a Newton Mass.-based impact investing platform, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Investors included Brazen Impact, Gratitude Railroad, Jesse Fink, Heron Foundation, Spring Point Partners, and Grantham Foundation.

- CYBAVO, a Singapore-based blockchain security firm, raised $4 million in pre-Series A funding. 500 Startups, H&D Asset Management Company, and New Economy Ventures led the round.

- Givz, a New York City-based maker of an API converting discounts into donations, raised $3 million in seed funding. Eniac and Accomplice led the round and were joined by investors including Supernode Ventures, Claude Wasserstein of Fine Day, Phoenix Club, and Dylan Whitman.

- Shimmy, a Boston-based hand sanitizer brand, raised $3 million in seed funding. Wayfund invested.

- Infinite Canvas, a Los Angeles-based business focused on creators on Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft, raised $2.8 million in pre-seed funding. Lightshed Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including BITKRAFT Ventures, Day One Ventures, Crossbeam, and Emerson Collective. 

- Rutter,a San Francisco-based maker of an e-commerce API, raised $1.5 million in funding. Investors included Haystack, Liquid 2, and Basis Set Venture.


- Clearview Capital Fund recapitalized LTC Consulting Services, a Lakewood, N.J.-based revenue cycle management company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Gauge Capital invested in Centegix, an Atlanta-based provider of emergency communications. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Kongsberg Precision Cutting Systems, backed by OpenGate Capital, acquired MultiCam, a Texas-based maker of cutting machines. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Mainsail Partners invested in Centerbase, a Dallas-based legal practice management software company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Magna Legal Services, a portfolio company of CIVC Partners, acquired O’Brien & Levine Court Reporting Solutions, a Boston-based court video solution. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Managed Market Insights & Technology, a portfolio company of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, agreed to merge with Evaluate, a London-based provider of commercial intelligence and predictive analytics to the pharmaceutical industry backed by Hg Capital. The deal values the combined company at $1.6 billion.

- SK Capital acquired the monomers, polymers and European businesses of Deltech, a Baton Rouge, La.-based monomers maker. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Paradox, a portfolio company of Brighton Park Capital, acquired Traitify, a Baltimore-based hiring and talent assessment platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- TA Associates invested in, a Salt Lake City, Ut.-based IT asset management software company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Tamarix Equity Partners and Pacific General invested in Playa Bowls, a smoothies and fruits chain. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Worldwide Produce, a portfolio company of Sole Source Capital, acquired Vision Produce, an importer and distributor of fresh produce. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- CVC Capital Partners acquired RiverStone Europe, a non-life reinsurer, from Fairfax Financial and OMERS. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- U.K. antitrust regulators are looking into S&P Global's (NYSE: SPGI) $44 billion deal to acquire IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO), a London-based provider of market data. 

- Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) plans to acquire Trillium Therapeutics (NASDAQ: TRIL), a Canadian clinical stage cancer treatment company, for about $2.3 billion.

- Pushpay (ASX:PPH) agreed to acquire Resi Media, a Plano, Tx.-based video streaming platform, for about $150 million.


- a.k.a. Brands Holding Corp., a San Francisco-based fashion brand company, filed for an initial public offering. The company reported $215.9 million in net sales in 2020 and net income of $14.8 million. Summit Partners backs the firm.

- ForgeRock, Inc., a San Francisco-based digital identity verification company, filed for an initial public offering. The company posted $127.6 million in revenue in 2020, and reported a net loss of $41.8 million. Accel, Riverwood Capital, and Meritech Capital back the firm.

- Cilo Cybin Pharmaceutical Ltd., a South African cannabis health company, is weighing a local IPO, according to Bloomberg.

- Shenzhen IVPS Technology Co., a Chinese e-cigarette company, is considering an IPO in Hong Kong, per Bloomberg.


- The Jordan Company, a New York City-based private equity investor, raised $1.3 billion for its Resolute II Continuation Fund.

- Fontinalis Partners, a venture firm with offices in Detroit and Boston, raised $104 million for its third fund.


- Riverside Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, named Michael Bernard as a principal.

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