Construction remains one of the world’s largest industries, as well as one of the most expensive and archaic, but startup company 1build is developing solutions to address both of these issues, TechCrunch reports. The firm isn’t just looking to help businesses with construction cost estimating, but also everything necessary to get a building under construction.
“We are going to occupy the whitespace niche of pre-construction — your planning, your estimating, up until you break ground on your building,” CEO and founder Dmitry Alexin told TechCrunch.
Origins of 1build
Alexin had been searching for a real estate startup company idea since 2018. He worked at an industry startup where he “helped to select real estate with data science” before he realized there was a problem in regard to modeling the property development. Alexin saw that it was difficult to determine what could be built or how much it would cost.
“I just assumed you can just use an API to figure out the cost to build,” Alexin told TechCrunch.
Alexin dug deeper into the issue and realized that the construction industry was behind the times a bit. Despite being three times as big as e-commerce, construction still operated mainly offline. Alexin’s goal was to automate more construction processes, but it was not easy.
“When I was forming 1build, it was creating a data standard for the construction industry,” he said.
1build finds its calling
Alexin eventually put 1build’s focus on construction cost estimating. At first it looked like the company’s timing was incredibly unfortunate—the COVID-19 pandemic hit just as 1build was getting started. The startup suffered a 50% reduction in usage in its first month. Things changed however when the construction industry forged ahead as people moved to new houses and offices as the remote work trend grew.
Initially, 1build raised $5.5 million in a seed round from Initialized Capital, TechCrunch reports. The company worked on a single platform that keyed in on estimating costs and handling the construction’s planning phase.
“(It’s) almost an experience that feels like interacting a spreadsheet, but we pull in the latest materials rate, the latest labor rates,” Alexin said. “(From there), you can develop your estimate yourself, line item by line item.”
The goal is to integrate all construction planning in one location in order to save significant amounts of time and money, which is incredibly valuable for smaller contractors and construction firms who don’t have big planning teams like some of their larger scale competitors. The company’s subscription revenues have increased seven times during the past 10 months and 10 times since April, Alexin said. The rapid growth led to a $14.5 million Series A, which Brent Baltimore at Greycroft led.
“We felt that (Greycroft) was the one firm that understood what we are doing,” Alexin said.
Currently, the 1build team is spread throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. The company strives to become the construction industry’s “one-stop shop” and hopes the industry begins to work within one set of data formats, TechCrunch reports.
“The more and more builders that adapt that, the more we can build into the product,” Alexin said.
Joe Dyton can be reached at email@example.com.