Construction start-ups are beginning to capture massive interest from the industry and investors alike. Companies such as PlanGrid, who offer users the ability to make real-time changes to blueprints, are now capitalizing on that interest. PlanGrid succeeded in raising $58 million in investments. FieldLens, who offer field management tools in both web and mobile format, locked down $8 million in a Series A round several years ago. Meanwhile, Identified Technologies were able to expand their headquarters as a result of the renewed interest in drone technology since launching in 2013.
Why is the construction industry now so enamoured with startups? The biggest reason is technology - it’s finally at a point where it can greatly benefit the construction industry. Technology is now a huge aspect in many people’s lives off the workplace - making the case for their adoption in the workplace. With connectivity now making it so the most remote of sites are now able to get Internet service, technology now has the means to make an impact upon job sites.
"Until we had connectivity in the field for the folks that are actually getting stuff built, it would be really difficult to have that dramatic level of technology impact on the industry, but we're there now," FieldLens CEO Doug Chambers said.
In the past, your best bet with technology in the construction industry would have likely been decrepit and incredibly frustrating to use. Now, rather than get forced to learn to use cumbersome software, workers, engineers and architects would much rather bring in software and technology with functionality they're familiar with. Adopting streamlined, powerful technology into your workflow is something that's been drawing younger workers into the field - one that's been grappling with a labour shortage problem as of lately.
This excitement driving construction startups is what happens to be sparking major investor interest. In many ways, the construction industry’s late adoption to tech means there’s a wave of opportunity waiting - the value these tools and programs have to customers is visible.
"Investors are fundamentally excited about the construction industry because it's a big industry…” Chambers said. “It's pretty difficult to ignore the impact that construction has, and it's always exciting to get potentially involved with an industry that is about to undergo significant efficiencies from technology."