With the pandemic affecting every aspect of life and industry, it is no surprise that digitization is rapidly coming into manufacturing. Similar to other sectors, construction suppliers are increasingly under pressure to perform at a higher level. We’ve seen the rise of companies like Dodger, Reno Run and Toolbox attempt to address this, but often the model is closer to a vertical integration rather than something more open. Even with this, it is still the case that in order to order concrete or bricks, construction companies have to negotiate as well as keep records every time.
This is the argument of Brocrat, which bills itself as a “manufacture shop”.
The startup has now raised a $3 million seed financing round led by Exploration Capital, which was joined by undisclosed new strategic investors and existing investors. The startup graduated from Y Combinator’s winter cohort last year. Other strategic investors include Ronald Richardson, Avalok Kohli (CEO of AngelList Ventures) and MARS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF). The funds will be used to expand into North American and European markets. Brocrete also launched Storefront, an e-commerce platform for suppliers in the construction industry.
Company founder and CEO Jordan Latourelle said: “Manufacturing today is a largely offline, $1.2 trillion market where legacy commerce is the norm. Brokrete’s storefront product equips suppliers with the tools they need to scale their operations by orders of magnitude. I founded Brocrete after seeing the industry left behind by the e-commerce giants. We are now becoming the operating system for e-commerce in the construction industry, while being easy and affordable at the same time.”
Brocrete says its platform is code-free, white-label, multi-channel and industry-specific for selling and managing orders online. Suppliers get an iOS and Android app for e-commerce to receive orders offline from more “traditional” customers. It then provides order management, payment, dispatch, logistics and real-time delivery. There are also financial and operational ERP integrations. Brokrete claims to work with 1,000+ contractors and has a 250+ supplier network.
Latourelle told me: “We are giving the construction industry an opportunity to use this the Shopify way and build their own store. It’s like a branded storefront for suppliers.”
Eugene Timko, managing partner at Exploration Capital, said: “Construction is one of the few remaining large industries with mostly non-digital supply chains. Historically the major problem was the lack of real-time access to real stock that gave producers and distributors access to Now with Brokrete’s end-to-end solution, these businesses can not only sell through Brokrete’s marketplace but also enable their own direct online channels. Similar to Shopify, it has enabled many Thousands of previously offline businesses have been allowed to start accepting orders online.”