June 21, 2021

Big Pitch Seeks Bright Ideas that Solve Essential Workplace Problems

Focused on developing construction-related technology for its own use, Haskell brings an end-user perspective to venture capital opportunities.


Dysruptek has launched Big Pitch 2021, the second annual Shark Tank-type competition in which all Haskell team members are eligible and encouraged to turn their original ideas from “What if …?” to “What’s Next?”

The event is a significant business development effort for Dysruptek, Haskell’s venture arm dedicated to scouting, piloting and investing in emerging technologies, as it strives to stay at the forefront of innovation in the Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC) industry.

“The goal for Big Pitch 2021,” said Hamzah Shanbari, Haskell’s Manager of Construction Technology Innovation, “is to improve workflow and create a workplace culture that encourages innovation.”

Last year’s winners, Ramon Ramirez and Orvin Lozada, pitched a concept for improving process design data entry. Their innovation is now in development and is expected to be available to Haskell team members by the end of the year.

This year’s contest finale will be in late September in-person in Jacksonville, Florida, after which a panel of judges will select first-, second- and third-place proposals, with the winner receiving a $10,000 cash award and support in implementing the idea.

Submissions will be accepted until the end of July and needn’t be technical or complex. In fact, part of the Big Pitch process is that Dysruptek team members help entrants refine their ideas and prepare them for presentation to the selection committee.

“It’s important to emphasize that the Big Pitch Challenge invites all sorts of innovative ideas, regardless of how far along in development they are,” Shanbari said. “Last year’s runner-up, Senior Quality Subject Matter Expert Gary Weiler, originally developed his Big Pitch idea with a napkin sketch. He wanted to find a way to improve field safety during pneumatic testing, and the Big Pitch Challenge gave him the perfect platform to do so. Gary and the Dysruptek team worked together to develop a plan to turn his napkin sketch into a patented future functioning device.”

The Big Pitch is one of many ways that Dysruptek searches for emerging technologies and construction-related investment opportunities. Its investment strategy is a three-step process:

  • Consider whether Haskell can use the technology or solution internally
  • Assign a project team to test the product or strategy.
  • Decide whether to invest in the respective startup.

“All of Dysruptek’s investments focus on improving AEC efficiency,” Shanbari said. “Haskell brings an end-user perspective to venture capital opportunities, because Haskell is not looking to invest in startups solely for returns on investment. Haskell only invests in technology that it plans on implementing into its day-to-day operations. This incentivizes and energizes startups to work with Haskell, because the company has a vested interest in developing and funding construction-related technology for its own use.”

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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