With the pandemic affecting all aspects of life and industry, it’s no surprise that digitalization is fast approaching construction. Construction suppliers are increasingly under the same pressure as other industries to perform at a higher level. We’ve seen the rise of companies like Dozer, Reno Run, and Toolbox trying to solve this problem, but often the model is closer to vertical integration than something more open. Even with that, the fact remains that in order to order concrete or bricks, construction companies have to negotiate every time, while keeping records.
That’s Brokrete’s argument, which bills itself as the “Building Shopify”.
The startup has now raised a $ 3 million seed funding round led by Xploration Capital, which was joined by new anonymous strategic investors and existing investors. The startup graduated from the Y Combinator winter cohort last year. Other strategic investors include Ronald Richardson, Avlok Kohli (CEO of AngeLlist Ventures) and the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF). The funding will be used to expand into the North American and European markets. Brokrete has also launched an e-commerce platform for construction industry suppliers which she calls Storefront.
Jordan Latourelle, founder and CEO of the company, said, “Construction today is a largely offline $ 1.2 trillion market where traditional commerce is the norm. Brokrete’s Storefront product provides suppliers with the tools to improve their operations by order of magnitude. I founded Brokrete after seeing an industry neglected by e-commerce giants. Today, we are becoming the operating system for e-commerce in the construction industry, while remaining both simple and affordable.
Brokrete claims its platform is code-free, white-label, multi-channel, and industry-specific to sell and manage orders online. Suppliers are getting an iOS and Android e-commerce app to receive offline orders from more “traditional” customers. It then manages orders, payments, shipping, logistics and delivery in real time. There are also financial and operational ERP integrations. Brokrete claims to work with over 1000 contractors and have a network of over 250 suppliers.
Latourelle told me, “We are giving the construction industry the opportunity to use it the way Shopify does and create their own store. It’s like a brand showcase for suppliers.
Eugene Timko, Managing Partner at Xploration Capital, said: “Construction is one of the few large industries left with mostly undigitalized supply chains. Historically, the key issue has been the lack of real-time access to actual inventory, which prevented producers and distributors from going online. Now, with Brokrete’s end-to-end solution, these businesses can not only sell through the Brokrete Marketplace, but can also activate their own direct online channels. Similar to Shopify, this has enabled thousands of previously offline businesses to start taking orders online.