Software may indeed be eating the world, as big time VC and Netscape creator Marc Andreessen is fond of saying, but most of us still need a physical place to call home (for now, at least — with the Vision Pro and other mixed reality devices, who knows…)
Yet even there, when it comes to building new homes, software can surely help the process along. That’s the thinking behind Digs, a two-year-old Washington state-based startup that offers an online, secure, easy-to-use platform for homebuilders to collaborate with clients — the homeowners — on the designs for their abode throughout the conception and building phases.
It also appears to be the thinking of its investors at Oregon Venture Fund (OVF) and Legacy Capital Ventures, as well as Fuse, Flying Fish, Betaworks, PSF, and Deepwater Asset Management, all of which have contributed to a new $7 million seed funding round for Digs announced today, bringing the total with pre-seed funding raised by the young startup to an even $14 million.
Moreover, Digs announced the hiring of Jef Holove as Chief Operating Officer. Holove was most recently the former CEO of bespoke e-commerce marketplace Drop. At Digs, he will oversee operating business functions and its marketplace.
Born out of firsthand homebuilding experience
The company, co-founded by CEO Ryan Fink, was born out of his own frustration with a homebuilding project.
“It’s a time where all of the home information flows freely, but then after the build, the majority of that valuable information that existed on the home is lost into the ether,” he explained to VentureBeat via email.
During that process, Fink, formerly the CEO and co-founder of augmented reality service knowledge startup Streem (acquired by Frontdoor in 2019), had what he calls his “a-ha” moment for Digs: “We could apply our background in AI to help solve challenges during the build process, like collaboration between parties, capturing all the decisions, organizing all the PDFs like blueprints and change orders … to then generate a true semantic understanding of the home – without requiring anyone to scan it or physically capture data points. All while enhancing the existing workflow for builders, not change it.”
In addition, Fink told VentureBeat that the idea for the company happened to be “a perfect fit for my co-founder and chief product officer, Ty Frackiewicz. He received his degree in construction engineering and is a former builder who built high end homes in Montana before jumping into technology with me in 2012…He has personally felt the many challenges builders face. He also was passionate about figuring out a way to build the API of the home — Once you have the semantic understanding of the home, making it accessible and shareable to products and services around the home.”
Since then, Digs has grown into a lean, highly performant team of 25 employees.
What Digs offers its users
Described as simply as possible, Digs is essentially a “Google Docs” combined with Figma, the collaborative design platform, for homebuilding plans and information.
Users — be they builders, subcontractors, suppliers, or homeowners — can upload architectural blueprints, drawings, floorplans and other related building documents and all see them in the same centralized, shared, yet secured account for that particular address. The user controls who has access to the Digs account.,
Users can also leave comments on specific aspects of the drawings — denoted with color-coded pins for each user — and upload attachments for specific specifications of furnishings or other components.
Furthermore, as with Google Docs and similar cloud-based document editing platforms, users can assign others to specific comments or issues in the web-based software app. They can also draw and circle freehand on the architectural drawings, leaving marks that other users can all see for continuity, ensuring no changes are made that are invisible to other users.
Ultimately, Digs seeks to keep everyone involved in the homebuilding process — from the owners to builders themselves — updated throughout the entire process, ensuring no critical information is siloed.
Though the target audience is builders, ultimately the homeowner will inherit the Digs account once the home construction is completed, so that they can find critical information instantly when needed, whether it’s for maintenance, repairs, or even renovating the home years later down the line.
The cost for Digs is $59 per user a month for builders, but their collaborators — from the homeowner, to contractors, sub-contractors, vendors, etc — can access the shared account for free.
“Some contractors, subs, and vendors are beginning to become customers and create Digs accounts for their teams as well because they see value in using digs internally or with their customers as well e.g. flooring vendor uses digs for takeoffs and to collaborate with the homeowner through the selection process,” wrote Fink via email.
Building upon early success
The Digs platform, now serving all 50 states and Canada, already hosts a myriad of projects worth an estimated $3 billion in value, ranging from boutique builders to national developers.
The platform also moved from beta to full availability in less than a year, underscoring the huge demand for a tool like this.
“Digs is taking how we build and own a home to the next level,” said Gene Munster, Managing Partner at Deepwater, one of its investors, in a statement. “We’re excited to partner again with Fink and team who are using AI to solve real pain points that millions feel every day, whether you’re a builder or a homeowner.”
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