Cutler Knupp, Haskell Director of Strategy and Technology Investments, recently joined other innovation leaders from the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industry for a Corporate Venture Panel Discussion during the BuiltWorlds Summit in Chicago, Illinois.
The group addressed the evolution of the industry’s startups, the future of investment and product development and the increasing interrelation of industry players, investors, technologists, entrepreneurs.
BuiltWorlds, based in Chicago, serves as a conduit bringing building and infrastructure professionals information about the newest developments in technology.
Knupp was joined on the panel by Ben Price, Venture Manager for Saint Gobain’s NOVA External Ventures; Adi Pavlović, Entrepreneur in Residence at Moderne Ventures; and Gregg Wallace, Principal of Building Ventures.
“It was a great way to keep a finger on the pulse of adoption of technology and stay up to date with trends and to exchange ideas,” Price said.
The panel discussion reflected that both venture capitalists and strategic investors see myriad worthy investment opportunities in the marketplace. There is no shortage of new companies developing usable workplace innovations to solve labor and supply chain challenges.
While many venture capital (VC) firms generally are open to a variety of investment opportunities with firms that offer something new – a technology, application or process – and the prospect of rapid growth, Dysruptek, Haskell’s innovation and VC arm, concentrates primarily on strategic investment. As such, Knupp and the Dysruptek team focus on identifying and backing technology and intellectual capital to help Haskell create the best possible outcomes for its clients.
The summit was one of the first opportunities for face-to-face networking since COVID put a lid on such gatherings in March 2020, and Knupp said it was both fresh and fruitful.
“There were many new faces – smaller and middle-market firms that hadn’t taken a seat at the table,” he said. “We were able to learn who the vendors are and what they were talking about.”
A conference highlight was the Demo Day competition during which technology developers presented their latest ideas and concepts to a panel of judges. Clue Insights won the competition with its instant productivity tracker for construction vehicles. It expands on “game tape” interfaces by reporting as many as 10 times a minute data about refueling time, load counts, CO2 levels and other productivity matrixes.
Knupp said the greatest highlight, though, was the ability to collaborate with industry peers face-to-face again.
“Everybody is burned out from screen time,” Knupp said of the virtual meeting. “It’s hard to ask someone to listen to four to five hours of panels on a computer. You can’t get the same level of engagement. Here, we were able to step out from a meeting, grab a coffee and be introduced to someone or see an old friend. That synergy has been missing.”
Contact the team at Dysruptek with your company’s innovative idea for improving the AEC industry.
Haskell delivers more than $1 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 2,000 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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