The latest in construction technology investments has been announced, as a startup that focuses on materials management has garnered a sizeable investment.
This comes on the heels of an announcement earlier this week that Ondas bought American Robotics, a startup that builds drones for the commercial and industrial markets. It's one of many major investments this year in construction technology. Funding of construction technology in 2020 was expected to reach $5.1 billion in 2020, a 56% increase over the previous year, according to a report by CBInsights.
According to a press release:
Agora, a commercial construction procurement platform, gained $33 million in a Series B funding round led by Tiger Global, with additional key investments from 8VC, Tishman Speyer, Jerry Yang, Michael Ovitz, DST, LeFrak, and Kevin Hartz.
Commercial trade contractors use Agora to order and track materials, automate manual data entry and bring all their supply chain stakeholders together onto a single platform for seamless communication. Agora’s software solution is a crucial component in reducing the cost of construction, helping deliver critical projects that strengthen local communities faster and more efficiently and reducing materials waste.
Learn more about what Agora does:
To make our cities more affordable, the commercial construction industry must adopt new technology. Construction is a $10 trillion industry that employs more than 200 million people worldwide. Yet, according to McKinsey, labor productivity growth in the industry has been stagnant since 1947.
“Our cities are facing an affordability crisis,” says Maria Rioumine, CEO and co-founder at Agora. “Our mission at Agora is to make the built environment faster and more efficient to build. By modernizing the construction supply chain, we can dramatically reduce building costs and help make our cities more affordable and accessible to all.”
Commercial trade contractors across the U.S. still rely on manual, pen-and-paper processes too often to manage their supply chains. Office teams are overburdened with manual data entry and have to rely on outdated systems that don’t work with each other. Field teams have no easy way to select the exact materials they need and track them to delivery. These inefficient processes slow contractors down and lead to miscommunication, project delays, and a huge amount of waste.
Agora brings both field and office teams onto one digital platform that saves office teams 75% of the time they spend processing purchase orders, and field teams 38% of the time their foremen spend on materials management. In total, this amounts to $300,000 of potential annual savings for the average Agora customer.
Today, Agora is processing more than $140 million in annualized materials orders for its customers. In the last year, the company has grown revenue 760% and expanded across 30 states, all whilst tripling in team size. This strong growth attracted a number of top investors, who proactively offered term sheets and sought to scale Agora’s impact.
“Agora is defining the future of procurement in construction,” says John Curtius, partner at Tiger Global. “Agora’s platform delivers an industry-leading experience for commercial trade contractors and is a game changer in modernizing how construction works. We’re excited about Agora’s strong traction, incredible market opportunity, and proven track record of customer success.”
Meeting Pandemic Challenges
During the COVID-19 pandemic, contractors across the country faced severe supply chain disruptions and material price fluctuations. Many turned to Agora to help them manage quotes across different vendors more easily and lock in prices in advance. Using the Agora platform, customers reduced the back-and-forth ordering process that traditionally took five or more days to 24-48 hours and saved their teams hours a day by eliminating manual data entry and shortening the time it takes to process each PO.
“Agora transformed the way we manage our supply chain,” says John Mraz, owner of Ohio-based Einheit Electric Construction Co. “With Agora, my foremen and purchasing agents can use a platform with Amazon-like speed and integration to make sure the right materials arrive on-site, on time. The digital experience is a boon for recruiting young workers, making the best use of our existing employees, and positioning the entire company to beat our goals and growth metrics.”
Agora’s latest round will boost its focus on recruiting top talent for its growing engineering, sales, customer success, marketing, product and design teams. The company is also devoting significant resources to research and development, as it expands into other trade verticals.