Investors bet home-planning software is proptech’s next big thing

“In my career I turned left when I should have turned right. I always loved tech … but I landed [out of university] with the dot com crash and I got involved in construction developments,” Mr Cocaro said.

“What Rescon really did provide me, was the on the ground understanding and knowledge of the entire construction process … and the actual issues faced by builders, rather than just being a techie guy looking in.

“Can I build? It’s a simple question, but it’s not simple.”

Although the company only launched its product 12 months ago, it took five years for its founders – Mr Cocaro, Stella Cocaro, Deepankur Malhotra and Shuvajeet Nag – to build it.

Canibuild enables builders to check for hidden easements, site costs and contour lines on any property, registered or not. Its software taps into high-res aerial imagery, government data sets and codified planning rules.

It can be used by both builders and individuals conducting research when looking to buy a home.

Despite being an early stage company, Mr Cocaro said it had been inundated with investment offers from VCs globally.

“We were getting a lot of traction and there was a lot of noise in the marketplace, so we had VCs from around the world approaching us,” he said.

“It was nice to be called upon by some mega investment funds from overseas, [but] through a connection we were recommended to chat to EVP. It was always our intention to have any investment we took on come from an Australia-based VC initially.

“For our Series A we wanted a growth-oriented VC that cared about us.”

Growing player base

Canibuild joins a growing list of property tech players to announce funding in the past three months, including Aussie-founded build-to-rent property tech player HappyCo, construction quote estimating and job management platform Buildxact and offsite manufacturing start-up PT Blink.

As part of Canibuild’s raise, EVP partner Daniel Szekely will join the board.

He said the fund had been looking for investment opportunities in construction tech.

“The founders are exceptional, and they’re as deep as you can be in terms of being industry experts,” Mr Szekely said.

“Tim has used his experience to build a product that’s truly unique. It’s very different to all the other planning tools out there. It’s designed to be used both by the people doing technical drawings, but also the sales people on the frontline and consumers.

“The result is a business experiencing such significant organic growth they can barely keep up with the interest.”

Since its launch, Canibuild has massed a client base in Australia, the US and UK including Metricon, GJ Gardner, McDonald Jones and Narellan Pools.

It claims more than 3000 sales consultants use its software daily.

“We’re incredibly excited about the ability to make a tangible difference in construction. Everyone knows it’s an untapped opportunity,” Mr Cocaro said.

“The industry hasn’t been disrupted, it’s been a laggard for quite a while, but the industry as a whole has reached a tipping point.

“COVID-19 shocked the system and lit a fuse and all these fragmented players realised at the same time they needed to look at technology more seriously and that using iPads didn’t make them tech-savvy.”

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