Equipment marketplace startup EquipmentShare snags $5.5M investment
- Equipment marketplace platform EquipmentShare — which some have called the "Airbnb for construction" — raised $5.5 million in its latest venture funding round, TechCrunch reported.
- Co-founders and brothers William and Jabbok Schlacks based the concept for EquipmentShare on how the socialist Missouri commune they grew up in maintained and organized its equipment and tools.
- In addition to its peer-to-peer equipment rental model, the company offers ES Tracker, which, via sensors or a telematics system, tracks location and usage information on the customer's owned or rented equipment and vehicles.
Before this round of funding, led by Romulus Capital, EquipmentShare raised $2.1 million in initial investments and participated in Y Combinator's seed accelerator program. Romulus officials told TechCrunch that EquipmentShare gave them the chance to get involved in industries "that haven't been transformed by tech, and construction is one of them."
While the company is making its product accessible to the oft-ignored small and medium-sized construction business, the company still has competitors, including Yard Club, which is backed by equipment giant Caterpillar. Uptake, which Forbes ranked as "hottest" among all 2015 startups and utilizes a similar sensor-based system to gauge equipment performance, is also supported in part by Caterpillar.
More startups, such as PlanGrid and Procore, are making headway in the construction industry in order to bring the kind of technological innovation that has improved the productivity of other industries. However, according to a recent World Economic Forum report, the industry won't be able to reap the benefits of even the most advanced technology because of its "fractured' operations and collective mindset.
However, new construction tech startups keep popping up and drawing interest from investors. Early last month, drone startup Airware raked in a $30 million investment to support its commercial drone operating system. Katerra, a provider of product design and procurement services for the construction industry, managed to raise an even higher first round of funding with $75 million.
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