Construction and property-focused startups increasingly find themselves at the center of two important trends: Building a more sustainable future and creating a more remote-friendly environment.
Not only are people seeking homes that fit remote work standards, the team at North Carolina-based Higharc told Hypepotamus that the need for virtual home tours, more transparency in the buying process, and a focus on increasing density is reshaping the property development industry.
Fresh off a Spark Capital-led $21 million Series A round, we heard from Higharc’s CEO Marc Minor about the changing space of ConstructionTech and how the startup is building a platform specifically to streamline the building process. Below is a lightly edited version of our email interview.
For readers who might not be familiar, can you give a little background on Higharc?
Higharc is on a mission to radically simplify the way we design, build and shop for homes.
Higharc’s all-in-one software solution seamlessly creates and integrates everything needed to design a home, sell it (in 3-D) and begin building. Most importantly, Higharc’s platform automates every step of the home building process to eliminate material waste and costly errors — improving the buyer experience and ultimately delivering better built homes.
How did the idea get off the ground and who are your target customers?
I started Higharc in 2018 after a frustrating experience building a home. I had previously been a part of two 3D printing companies (Carbon3D and Desktop Metal) and realized that we could apply many of the advances in software from that industry (digital manufacturing) to homebuilding. I was joined by three other co-founders with deep backgrounds in CAD (computer-aided design), design automation, and 3D graphics. We work with builders both small and large — on communities and individual lots. Higharc customers today build over 11,000 new homes every year.
How has the pandemic impacted those in homebuilding?
Supply disruptions have persisted across nearly every component of the home. Lumber has been particularly challenging. One of our builders noted that a framing package that cost them $16k pre-pandemic now costs nearly $40k. Set these challenges against the background of the pre-existing labor shortage and increased buyer demand and you get a picture of why tools that automate and improve the process have such an impact for builder and buyer.
What are the biggest pain points in the construction process and how does Higharc help?
Homebuilding is a $400 billion dollar industry in America. We build upwards of almost one million new homes every year in America, yet we waste around $20,000 per home on inefficiencies and errors. That’s $18 billion dollars of waste in unnecessary processes and errors alone. We’ve revolutionized and digitally transformed practically every industry aside from construction. How are we not deploying the same level of innovation into an industry as foundational to our daily lives as building our homes and communities? Higharc’s platform automates the homebuilding processes to eliminate waste and improve customer experience to ultimately deliver better built homes. We completely remove the need for manual drawings, digitally translating ideas into blueprints in a fraction of the time and cost, allowing a homebuilder to quickly define a model of a home and instantly generate everything needed to build and sell it.
Why was now the right time for a Series A funding round?
We’ve seen significant additional demand from homebuilders across the US since the pandemic began — construction activity has only increased and homebuilding has become more complex due to buyer demand and supply disruptions. The industry needs better, more integrated tools as soon as possible. We’re growing our team to meet that demand and to better serve our existing customers as they leverage Higharc.