Construction tech is one of those sectors that has not historically been considered “sexy” in a startup world that often favors glitzier technology. But construction fuels the commercial and real estate industries, which in turn impacts all of us in one way or another.
Historically, the industry has been reluctant to embrace technology, but as there have been generational shifts in leadership, that has slowly changed.
Procore and Autodesk are two examples of ventures in the construction space that went from startup to publicly traded companies today worth $6.2 billion and $40.5 billion, respectively. But beyond those two companies, there are scores of others eager to break into the industry.
To help them along, one construction tech-focused venture capital firm is eager to fund a new generation of startups in the space. Brick & Mortar Ventures, headed by Darren Bechtel of the Bechtel family, is teaming up with BuiltWorlds, which describes itself as a network of buildings and infrastructure professionals, to launch an early-stage accelerator program called Formwork Labs.
Put simply, the group aims for the program to become the “YC of construction tech,” said Bechtel.
“Fixing a foundation after the superstructure is built is a costly, disruptive and sometimes impossible task,” Bechtel said. “Our goal with Formwork Labs is to help the best and brightest construction tech founders get started on the right foot, set up for success and in front of the right investors, partners and early customers.”
For starters, Formwork Labs will select five pre-seed companies to participate as a cohort in its immersive, 10-week startup accelerator program. During the program, industry “experts” and past founders in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) space will provide participants with “strategic guidance” on product and go-to-market strategy, “while preparing the company for success and future financing from top-tier venture capital firms,” say the organizers.