The LinkedIn for Commercial Construction: BuildingConnected

The LinkedIn for Commercial Construction: BuildingConnected

Over the last couple of years I’ve given a lot of thought to one question: Why is there no web-based platform that maps relationships between companies, analogous to how LinkedIn maps our professional relationships?

As I have dug into this line of questioning, I’ve come to believe that the “LinkedIn for companies” will be created in the form of vertical-specific procurement marketplaces. More specifically, my thesis is that over the next decade, we will see almost every business interaction initiated and completed online, and this transaction layer will be built on top of a vertical-specific company graph.

I first met Dustin DeVan, co-founder and CEO of BuildingConnected, and his co-founder, Jesse Pedersen, in late 2015 after sending a cold email. In our first meeting, I introduced my thoughts around “‘LinkedIn for companies,”’ and they shared their vision for reinventing the commercial construction industry. Dustin and I immediately connected around this shared vision, and today we’re excited to announce that Lightspeed Venture Partners is leading a $22M Series B investment in BuildingConnected.

Dustin worked in construction for several years, and found an industry still reliant on legacy technology and networking models that required intense and time consuming rebuilds for each new project. Essentially, each new project meant starting from scratch. In the age of Facebook and LinkedIn, this didn’t make sense to any of us.

But marketplaces like BuildingConnected are not easy to build in the B2B world. Companies transact differently with each other than individuals interacting with services. Impulsive decisions are rare, with much of the decision making taking place over multiple conversations involving much greater depth of information sharing happening between parties. So, for companies to transact online, the ideal platform must enable discovery, as well as the ability to engage in and negotiate complex transactions over time. Enter BuildingConnected.

BuildingConnected is building the go-to bid management platform for commercial construction. Unlike other B2B procurement solutions, BuildingConnected has taken a network-based approach to building its business. Here’s how:

  • The guts of the platform is a free-to-use open network that any general contractor (GC) or subcontractor (sub) can join. Once on the platform, these GCs and subs can easily connect with other participants in the construction ecosystem.
  • BuildingConnected then features premium SaaS offerings to manage the bidding process.
  • Think “LinkedIn for commercial construction with a paid SaaS offering for bid management.

Taking a network approach to bid management has many advantages:

  • Today, GCs and subs maintain business and contact information in siloed databases that are often out of date. BuildingConnected offers an open network approach, which means it maintains the most up-to-date information on each participant.
  • BuildingConnected is the first unified database in the construction world. Pre-existing relationships are no longer the primary prerequisite to sniffing out bids and winning jobs.
  • For GCs entering a new geography, it’s easy to identify pre-qualified subs to invite to bid on projects, filter lists of subs based on specific criteria, and so on.
  • For subs looking to expand their business, there now exists a way to market on a platform used by the entire industry, making it easy and efficient to discover new opportunities by region or project type.

BuildingConnected has created massive efficiencies, and the platform is just getting started.

I’ve known Dustin and Jesse for two years, and they’ve not only hit every milestone, they’ve exceeded all of our growth and product expectations. These two have a massive vision for a space that’s been crying out for innovation. We were thrilled to jump on the opportunity to partner with BuildingConnected, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to support the vertical market network for the commercial construction world.

 SaaS CEO Interview Series: Tony Zingale on Scaling Culture

SaaS CEO Interview Series: Tony Zingale on Scaling Culture

Thoughts that inform my investment decision making these days…