There’s another big financing round led by Softbank’s mammoth vision fund today, with the firm this time pouring $865 million into a construction startup called Katerra that’s a one-stop shop for getting a building up off the ground.
Katerra is creating a full-stack provider for, well, buildings. The company runs the process of getting a building up and people inside it from the architectural design components all the way through labor management and renovation. So it’s a one-stop shop for companies that are looking to construct new buildings without having to piece together a full process from disparate architectural firms, construction companies, and so on. Companies don’t have to use all of Katerra’s services, but the whole life cycle is there.
The company says it’s picked up more than $1.3 billion in bookings so far for new construction ranging from residential to hospitality and student housing. It’s a huge number in terms of startup speak — especially for a company started in 2015 — but total constructing spend in November alone was more than $1 trillion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The construction industry is one that has spawned a huge new wave of startups looking to streamline a process that hasn’t quite hit that massive level of augmentation by technology than some other sectors. Whether that’s applying image recognition with drones to actual monitoring of the sites, these startups have found themselves flush with funding and looking to chip off bits of the process that are ripe for obvious improvement.
Katerra, however, seems to want to own the entire stack from top to bottom, which could give it an opportunity to rejigger the process into the one it thinks is best. By handling every piece of the process, Katerra can figure out how to optimize every part — from supply chain to management — and make changes as it sees fit.