BuildingConnected landed in our inbox late in 2013 out of the blue. We’d never met the founders. There was no ‘warm intro’. They hadn’t worked for name brand Valley companies. Any ‘pattern matching’ algorithm would have put them into our archive. But we make it a habit to respond to every email that looks at least personalized to us (“Dear *[FNAME]*” errors are always amusing). And with this one, we liked what we saw.
It started out explaining how the construction industry wasn’t yet benefitting from the technologies transforming other markets. How spreadsheets, emails and faxes resulted in lots of lost productivity and errors. How terrible, old-school enterprise tools prevented collaboration and resulted in siloed data. And how the CEO of this startup knew this because he had experienced the pain firsthand for the last several years while working for a top commercial general contractor. Now he, along with a CTO cofounder he had known since college, were building a company to solve these problems. And they had some pilot tests coming up.
Pilot tests? We were intrigued but our reply was clear - come back with data from the pilots. And they did. A few months later Dustin Devan and Jesse Pedersen sent over what they’d learned from the early pilots. And they also shared the resume of the first engineer they were going to hire. Progress on customer development and team. Nice. The more we learned about the company and the market, the more excited we got. They were solving a large, urgent and valuable problem with their first product: managing the subcontractor bidding process on commercial construction projects, which often put into play tens to hundreds of millions of dollars of work. And they had a vision for what could be done atop this network SaaS product, very much in line with how we think about vertical SaaS. Finally, they were disrupting with love, not contempt. Having worked in industry and stepped away from a promising career path, Dustin wanted to build something that would improve and elevate the work, not just automate it. He respected his customers, didn’t just dismiss them as “old industries.” We find this belief and value system, especially in founders who haven’t yet become jaded by “too much” experience in industry, to be very compelling. And so along with our friends at Freestyle Capital, we co-led BuildingConnected’s seed round in early 2014.
It’s been a true pleasure to work with Dustin, Jesse and team as they’ve quietly built a company that is redefining how commercial construction works. And we’re happy to finally share that fueling the company is not just our initial seed funding, but also a Series A financing led by Crosslink Capital. BuildingConnected is already powering over $10 billion of project bidding each month. And they’re just getting started.