The technological advances we’ve made over the past few thousand years are astounding, but the construction industry still relies on age-old technology.
Configuring a robot to mix cement is easy, but delivering a CementTron 3000 to a construction site, training workers to use and maintain it are not the kind of disruption builders look for, especially when margins are low. are so thin and experienced workers hard to find.
Still, investors support startups that bring robotics, data management, automation and augmented reality into the construction process.
Many large construction companies have their own R&D departments, but that hasn’t fundamentally changed attitudes toward adopting new technology: In one survey, more than a third of respondents working in the industry said they were ambivalent about using of new tools. Despite their reluctance, more and more construction tech startups are helping builders with bidding, scheduling, modeling software and, very often, drones.
To learn more about the market forces shaping construction technology in 2022, we spoke with five investors:
- Nikitas Koutoupes, General Manager, Insight Partners
- Heinrich Gröller, partner, Speedinvest
- Momei Qu, Director, PSP Growth
- Suzanne Fletcher, Venture Partner, Prime Movers Lab
- Sungjoon Cho, General Partner, D20 Capital
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On Tuesday, May 24 at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. ET, I’ll host a Twitter space with Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn, who writes the “Dear Sophie” advice column for businesstraverse.com+ every Wednesday. If you have any questions about legally working and living in the United States, join the conversation.
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Thank you very much for reading: I wish you a relaxing weekend.
Senior Editor, businesstraverse.com+
For better or for worse: Managing Founder and CEO Tension within a Startup
Tech founders often recruit a CEO who can fill gaps in their business experience, but if they can’t build a strong partnership, everyone suffers.
Metaphorically, imagine two people in a lifeboat arguing about which direction leads to land.
Managing potential points of tension is critical, but founders need to be pragmatic: Choose only someone you respect and be willing to invest time and energy in cultivating a close relationship, advises Max Schireson, an executive-in-residence at Battery Ventures. Previously, the co-founders of MongoDB hired him as their CEO.
“At best, a strong partnership can pioneer new models and build a sustainable and impactful business,” says Schireson.
Dear Sophie: Is there anything I can do to speed up the EAD renewal process?
I have an L-2 visa as a dependent spouse of my husband’s L-1A.
My EAD (work permit) expires in May – we applied for the extension of both my visa and EAD a few months ago. How long does the current process take?
Is there anything I can do so that my employment is not affected?
— Career Oriented
The One-Chart Argument That Tech Valuations Have Fallen Too Far
As you may have heard, tech companies have a bit of a whoopsie†
But is it possible that stock sellers have gone overboard when it comes to devaluing these startups so deeply and so quickly?
Alex Wilhelm says they did, in large part because “selected tech companies are now worth less than they were before the pandemic, despite a few years of growth at the bank.”
To make his case, he tracked the stock price for Okta and found that the identity platform’s stock price has flipped back to where it was in early 2019.
“It’s also about three times the size,” writes Alex. “But it’s worth less now than it was then. Chew that.”
3 things to remember when diversifying your startup’s cap table
Just like a sales team builds and refines its funnel, in fundraising mode, aspiring founders can create an investor funnel that will help sustain their business for years to come.
Oriana Papin-Zoghbi, CEO and co-founder of AOA Dx, the women’s health startup, shared her investor breakdown with TC+:
- 35% private investors.
- 34% women (female investors or funds with a female head).
- 26% venture capitalists.
- 23% family and friends.
- 18% international investors.
- 15% angel groups.
“When building an investor funnel, it’s critical to spell out what you want to find the right investors,” Papin-Zoghbi says.
“Finding the right investors is like finding the right team members – you have to be candid about your expectations and address what you want them to bring forward.”
Pitch Deck Teardown: BoxedUp’s $2.3 Million Seed Round Pitch Deck
When BoxedUp, a video production equipment rental company, was launched, it initially focused on serving corporate clients hosting events and conferences.
And then it turned: Earlier this year, BoxedUp raised a $2.3 million seed round to scale up its rental market, where individuals can rent high-quality equipment directly to makers.
“We found a $10 billion opportunity where owner-operators rent things through Instagram and rental stores are still using really old websites,” said CEO and founder Donald Boone.
“Instead of spending $30,000 to buy a camera to rent out one at a time, we could instead create the platform to connect people to that $30,000 camera,” he told businesstraverse.com in March.
To help other founders replicate his success with BoxedUp’s seed round, he shared the unreacted 22-slide pitch deck with businesstraverse.com+.