It was a classic “build the plane in the air” scenario for the team at Dana Lynch Design.
The accomplished Atlanta-based firm landed an opportunity to design the interiors for several large new-urbanism communities. That work came with its own unique challenges.
“We had to figure out a better way to spec a house than the industry standard – a word doc, spreadsheet, text messages, emails, etc.,” said Abby Pratt, Dana Lynch Design’s Marketing & Technical Operations Manager at the time. “There are thousands of details that go into each build project, and with no standard framework, things get missed. This ultimately costs both builder and designer time AND money.”
The team wanted to eliminate communication problems, help designers stay within budget, and give them more time back to focus on executing their vision. That required building a more streamlined software platform while in the midst of working on these larger jobs (the classic “build the plane in the air” scenario for startup founders eager to grow their business).
The software developed under Dana Lynch Design (DLD) was used in the design of over 800 homes in five years and gained a significantt following from various design groups and at conferences. That has ultimately been spun out as Dovetail, an Atlanta-based pre-seed startup targeting interior designers, independent contractors, and mid-large size building teams.
Pratt now serves as the co-founder and COO of the startup, with Dana Lynch serving as CEO.
Dovetail borrows its name from a construction term to describe a joint formed by tapered projects, Pratt said. “Typically you’ll see a dovetail join used in cabinetry, log cabins, etc. What our software does is joins, or dovetails, together design and construction.”
The team has spent the last year re-designing its UI/UX and the software’s backend in preparation for a full launch. Dovetail has opened up its waitlist and recently closed a $700,000 pre-seed round.
The round was led by Lake County Technologies, Inc (LCT).
“Fundraising hasn’t been a typical experience for us — DLD developed the initial versions of the software for itself. So it was a business expense — not debt,” Pratt added. “When we decided to spin it off as its own company, we had angels that took an immediate interest. So we’ve been extremely lucky so far. I think that the best part is getting the opportunity to connect with so many brilliant minds and taking something away from each of them. Dana and I are both new to the venture capital scene, so we’re building our expertise as we go with some of the best in the game.”
Building Up The Local ConstructionTech Scene
Dovetail is headquartered in Trilith, a multi-family residential community development near Fayetteville, Georgia. That is particularly exciting for the Dovetail team since Trilith is one of the residential communities that helped launch the startup.
Dovetail is part of Georgia’s growing community of construction-related startups, which includes ventures like Yardz, Covetool, Green Badger, and Flashtract. All of these have raised funding in the last year and a half.
The wider Southeast construction-related startup scene has continued to grow as well.
New Orleans-based Levelset, a payment platform for contractors, was officially acquired by construction giant Procure late last year, and New Orleans-based Prokeep, a messaging platform for distributors, raised a $9 million seed round earlier this summer.
Other major funding deals include North Carolina’s Prescient ($190 million round), North Carolina-based Higharc’s ($21 million Series A), and Chattanooga’s Branch Technologies ($11 million funding round).