An $865 million investment has gone to Katerra Inc, a little-known construction tech startup that wants to disrupt the building industry. This was led by SoftBank Group Corp.
Katerra is now valued at more than $3 billion, according to Michael Marks, the company’s chairman, and co-founder. He said the company now has $1.3 billion worth of bookings for new construction projects. Katerra’s mission is to assist in the faster construction of building projects at lower costs by controlling all elements of the process from design to construction.
This is the sixth biggest investment for a U.S. venture-backed company in the course of the past year, according to data from research firm CB Insights. Also, in addition to SoftBank’s Vision Fund, new investors include a fund overseen by Soros Fund Management, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Tavistock Group, and real-estate investment funds Navitas Capital and Divco West. Managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers Jeffrey Housenbold will join Katerra’s board.
The Vision Fund, which has a $100 billion target, has taken a stake in dozens of companies including Uber Technologies Inc., Slack Technologies Inc., WeWork Cos. and Didi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-hailing company. The fund placed $450 million to the real-estate tech firm Compass in December. Prequin research has it that the fund made 100 investments last year, which totaled $36 billion.
That’s more than Sequoia Capital and Silver Lake, both hard hitters in Silicon Valley, combined.
Prior to founding Katerra, Marks was head of technology maker Flextronics International for 13 years. He brought the company, which had less than a million in sales, to the world’s largest manufacturer of electronics, producing everything from Ebox game consoles to HP printers. This took the revenue up to $16 billion. He left Flextronics in 2006, then was a partner at KKR & Co. and a technology investor. Marks created Katerra in Menlo Park, California along with Jim Davidson, founder of the private-equity firm Silver Lake, and Fritz Wolff, who is the chairman of a real-estate investment company.