Agora, a San Francisco construction technology startup, just raised $33 million in a Series B funding round led by Tiger Global Management. This comes after a $7 million Series A round in October 2020, led by 8VC (where Agora co-founders Maria Rioumine and Ryan Gibson once worked).
Other investors in this Series B round include 8VC, Tishman Speyer, Jerry Yang of Yahoo fame, Michael Ovitz, DST Global, LeFrak, and Kevin Hartz of Eventbrite.
Agora, with its materials management platform, makes ordering commercial construction materials faster and easier through the use of technology that modernizes and streamlines the supply-chain process. What typically takes foremen up to 30 minutes, namely finding, ordering, tracking, and checking in materials, can happen in less than a minute using the Agora app, according to Rioumine.
Construction tech is hot with investors
Any construction technology startup that offers a faster and better way to accomplish various construction tasks is hot right now with investors, according to Construction Dive.
And that's where Agora fits in. By making the supply chain for construction materials more efficient, companies can realize a positive effect on their bottom line. But the industry has been slow to adopt new construction technologies -- a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed by Rioumine and Gibson, along with venture capital firms that are investing in all aspects of construction technology.
What the Agora system does
Streamlining processes and improving the way things are done usually cuts business costs overall. It's the goal of Agora to help make cities more affordable, and they're doing this in one specific way: by creating a better system for contractors. Agora targets specific verticals. It started with electrical and is expanding to mechanical. Customers of Agora, so far, are contractors who build power stations, hospitals, stadiums, university campuses, and churches.
Using the Agora app, commercial trade contractors can order and track their materials, customize templates, and create a materials list for easy reordering, all designed to do away with manual data entry. Plus, everyone involved in the process can see what's happening and can communicate with each other through the Agora app.
By using one digital platform for construction teams, Agora says it saves office staff 75% of the time normally spent processing orders and saves field staff 38% of the time typically spent on materials management. By cutting down on time spent in pre-construction, Agora calculates it can save its average customer $300,000 annually.
How Agora will use the latest funding
Agora plans to use the funding from this latest round to hire more employees, to expand operations -- it currently operates in 30 states -- and to get into more trade verticals.
The Millionacres bottom line
The time is ripe for investing in the construction technology space. Rioumine says the construction industry spends the least percentage of revenue, at 1.5%, on new technology, compared with the median across industries, which is 3.3%. This figure means there could be good opportunities for real estate investors in this space.