Curri, a start-up that’s solving last-mile delivery and logistics issues in construction, just raised $6 million. Construction technology (contech) venture fund Brick & Mortar Ventures led the round, while Initialized Capital and Rainfall Ventures also participated.
Contech start-ups continue to gain recognition as housing demand is through the roof, while supply is low and construction material prices are at an all-time high.
The pandemic’s impact on the construction supply chain
It’s no secret that the pandemic sent shock waves through the global supply chain. The construction supply chain has been no exception.
Even though there has been tremendous demand for homebuilders, the industry’s overall sentiment was low last month, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Its chairman, Chuck Fowke, told HousingWire:
The elevated price of lumber is adding approximately $24,000 to the price of a new home…Though builders continue to see strong buyer traffic, recent increases for material costs and delivery times, particularly for softwood lumber, have depressed builder sentiment this month. Policymakers must address building material supply chain issues to help the economy sustain solid growth in 2021.
The construction last mile
Curri offers what it calls an “Uber-like” last-mile delivery model for construction. There are a few other players in the space, such as PartRunner in the Northeast, TommyRun in the South, and GoFor in Canada and the West Coast.
“Uber for construction” is a good way to conceptualize what the companies do. In Curri’s case, a fleet of drivers with trucks, flatbeds, cars, and other vehicles are made available to contractors and materials suppliers who need materials, products, and tools delivered. Just like Uber (NYSE: UBER), users schedule pickup and drop-off locations and can track delivery in progress in real time.
The service can be used to schedule future deliveries but can also be used for rush and on-demand delivery services. CEO of Curri Matthew Lafferty said in a press release, “Suppliers who don’t have the ability to make urgent, on-demand, or long distance deliveries are leaving sales on the table and risk losing customers and business to suppliers who do…Fleet augmentation is the secret weapon of suppliers who care about getting material in their customer’s hands, fast.”
Lafferty added that Curri uses what the company calls “elastic scale.” This means that instead of having a fleet of underutilized trucks, a contractor, tradesperson, or materials supplier can make this a variable cost to their business and call upon delivery vehicles exactly when they’re needed. This is right on trend with a last-mile delivery market that could reach $66 billion by 2026.
The Millionacres bottom line
Technology that delivers efficiencies to the construction industry should help reduce costs for contractors, suppliers, and other members of the value chain, which should hit the end consumer moving forward. Lower construction costs should also give investors the chance to upgrade their properties at a more reasonable cost.
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