This NYC Startup Raised $5M When They Were Not Even Looking to Raise Funding



That’s what happens when you build the first centralized collaboration and workflow solution that’s basically the first – and only – complete solution that enables real estate owners and developers to manage and analyze vendors, costs, and data for operations, design, and construction projects across their portfolios in real time.

That’s a game-changer. And that’s just what Honest Buildings did.

The product has already been adopted by a number of high profile clients, including WeWork, Kushner Companies, Equinox, Benchmark Real Estate Group and Madison Realty Capital, amongst others, bringing transparency, organization and efficiency to real estate owners and professionals worldwide, and basically bringing long-needed technology to an industry that was literally still working practically in the Stone Age. Ok, bricks.

“As an example, Kushner Companies uses Honest Buildings to streamline communication between project managers and across all levels within the organization. As a result, productivity has soared. Upper management has complete visibility into the status of all projects at all times, from a bird’s-eye view to bid-specific details. Regional managers can easily identify pricing trends, workflow cycles and vendor talent gaps. Property managers are able to efficiently communicate with vendors and manage relationships. The accounting team can quickly track and report on capital spending and verify that projects were competitively bid according to company policies,” said Riggs Kubiak, Honest Buildings Cofounder and CEO, who tells us more about the round and his software that’s transforming the real estate construction industry.

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?

Our investors are Milstein Companies’ Circle Ventures, Thrive Capital, Westly Group and Rockport Capital. The most recent investment was a $5-million strategic A-2 financing round. We’ve raised more than $17 million in venture capital funding to date.

Tell us about your product or service.

Honest Buildings is an automated bid management and procurement workflow platform for building owners. Our tools bring order to a process that is, by nature, complex and chaotic. We centralize all of the communication and workflow tasks that happen within the procurement process, and then provide critical data that is incredibly difficult to gather without a technology solution. Our customers use the platform’s pricing intelligence, organizational efficiency, and risk mitigation to make better decisions that lead to better real estate project outcomes.

What inspired you to start the company?

Prior to starting Honest Buildings, I worked at Tishman Speyer in acquisition, asset management and global sustainability. I wrestled with the same problems the rest of the industry has traditionally faced: tedious, time-consuming bid-leveling tasks; the inability to use or even locate historical data from past projects; difficulty identifying the best vendors. I was tired of the frustration and mediocrity that results from real estate being one of the last industries relying on outdated, paper-based processes. I saw that enterprise-grade technology could solve these problems in the same way it has in almost every other sector.

Riggs Kubiak - Honest Buildings, Inc.

Riggs Kubiak

How is it different?

There are lots of platforms that focus on leasing and marketing. Honest Buildings is the only integrated sourcing and bid management platform purpose-built for property owners and managers. We’ve also developed an automated bid leveling tool that transforms a tedious, time consuming, spreadsheet-driven process to an organized, centralized and efficient way of managing multiple bids from vendors.

What market you are targeting and how big is it?

Commercial real estate is a multi-trillion dollar industry, where every owner is challenged to manage costs, level bids, and source vendors. Last year, there was roughly $8 trillion dollars spent globally on construction. Most building owners still use the same inefficient, offline process rooted in the early 20th century, so there is enormous opportunity for our platform to have industry-changing impact on both the industry and for the cities where the global population lives today.

What’s your business model?

We charge a subscription fee for real estate portfolio owners who are using our cloud-based platform. Organizations pay according to the size of their portfolio. They can have an unlimited number of projects and users in their account.

What was the funding process like?

This latest round came about as an opportunity to partner with one of the leaders in the commercial real estate industry. We weren’t actively looking to raise a round, rather it was an opportunity to enhance and grow the business.

What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?

The Milstein’s saw the potential of our technology to transform an industry they have led for four generations. Howard Milstein said  “We know first-hand how rare it is to find effective

technology that materially improves efficiency and transparency for owners and developers, while reducing risk for lenders. With trillions of dollars spent annually on construction and building improvements nationwide, we see an untapped opportunity to realize significant savings and efficiencies by harnessing the power of data and information to enable better decision making.”

What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?

We have just launched a new bid leveling solution and will continue to develop new product features that bring automation, efficiency and innovation to the industry.

Which is your favorite NYC rooftop bar?

The Loopy Doopy.


About the author: AlleyWatch

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