- Boston-based contractor Suffolk closed the inaugural fund of its venture capital arm, Suffolk Technologies, with $110 million in commitments, the company announced on July 11. The fund has been active since 2019.
- Suffolk’s strategy is to provide funding in the range of $500,000 to $5 million at the seed and Series A level, Daniel Antonellis, senior vice president of communications, told Construction Dive in an email. It will invest in both construction technology and property technology startups in those brackets, according to the release.
- Company leaders are focused on technologies that address the fragmented nature of construction, artificial intelligence and automation, and sustainability, Antonellis said. Artificial intelligence in particular has commanded headlines across industries because of products like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and contractors are wondering how to leverage the technology.
In addition to the VC firm’s key areas of focus, it will also invest in businesses designed to address challenges of the built world, including affordable housing, construction inefficiencies and sustainability.
“The construction and real estate category is a $6.4 trillion industry that makes up 5% of U.S. GDP. Despite the importance of our industry to the American economy, construction and real estate continue to lag behind other industries when it comes to innovation and the use of technology and data,” said John Fish, Suffolk’s CEO, in the release.
In addition to the funding, Suffolk is also preparing to launch the 2023 iteration of its Boost accelerator, which selects startups for jobsite testing and networking.
Suffolk Technologies has made 30 investments to date in companies such as:
- OpenSpace: The firm’s technology uses smart cameras mounted on a hardhat to capture a jobsite’s status in progress and employs AI-powered analytics to help improve efficiency and multi-stakeholder collaboration.
- Kojo: This procurement platform for the trades shows contractors current availability, pricing, specificaton and photos for specific building materials, right from a user’s phone. The firm aims to create a healthier supply chain and reduce waste.
- Wint: The company’s smart water sensors can be installed during construction to to monitor a building’s water use during operations to help water damage loss prevention. The tech sends an alert when it finds a leak and automatically shuts it off.
- Moxion: The startup’s battery-powered generators electrify jobsites without the use of diesel, resulting in reduced carbon emissions during the construction process.
- Canvas: The firm’s robots help to address the labor shortage by accelerating drywall work while operating alongside skilled trades to improve production speed, safety, and quality.
- Airworks: This company offers a solution that applies artificial intelligence to geospatial data. The tech produces quick and accurate linework for a given piece of dirt to help with development and construction.