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WICHITA — A Wichita-based startup developing technology to eliminate job site chaos just announced it closed a $2 million investment round — with funds being used to build out its engineering, sales and customer success teams.
“This next round of funding really allows us to build the company around our product,” said Chris Callen, founder and CEO of PLOT. “We’re going to be building on the actual commercial mechanisms around the product to expand our customer base — and while we will still be working on our product to enhance it — the major theme of this fund is the ability to add that commercialization around the product.”
Click here to check out PLOT.
Founded in 2021, PLOT is a digital workspace to manage a job site. Through its communication platform, all parties working on a job site can converse effectively and keep track of conversations. It is construction, communicated, Callen noted.
The $2 million round was led by GroundBreak Ventures, a Toronto-based early-stage proptech fund with considerable construction technology and logistics expertise.
“We see PLOT emerging as the go-to operating system for site logistics and coordination,” said Scott Kaplanis, partner at GroundBreak Ventures. “By debottlenecking scheduling, delivery and material management, PLOT vastly improves site efficiency and can help unlock considerable working capital for all stakeholders. Imagine finally realizing the benefits of Just-In-Time (JIT) best practices at every construction site.”
GroundBreak Ventures’ prior investments in other construction technology firms ensured Callen that the fund would be an organic partner to PLOT, he said.
“They’ve invested in a number of companies that really fit into this category where the software is modeled after the consumer or social network software — that is very much this new generation of software that PLOT fits inside of,” Callen noted. “The vast majority of [venture capital firms] still will not touch the construction industry because of the uniqueness that the industry presents. So it’s great to not only get an investor that is very bullish on the space but has also been there before.”
Other major players in PLOT’s latest investment include: KCRise Fund, GROWK Fund, IronPrairie Ventures and Suffolk Technologies. The fundraising round also included a follow-on investment from Koch Industries, which initially funded the company in late 2021. This brings the total amount PLOT has raised to just over $3 million.
Callen expects that PLOT will add four-to-six new team members over the next year, he said.
“While we are a fully distributed team, we are really putting a lot of effort in keeping our talent within arm’s reach,” he said. “We are looking for talent in Wichita, as well as very substantially looking in the Kansas City area.”
The Kansas City-investors in PLOT’s latest funding round deepen the startup’s connection to the metro, continued Callen, who also was an early Techstars Kansas City alum.
“Even though he was not Kansas City-based, we’ve felt extremely welcomed and privileged to have these new partners moving forward with us,” Callen said. “We are excited to become more of a part of the Kansas City community. We have joined the AGC, Associated General Contractors Association, there in Kansas City and are looking forward to working with more general contractors in that area.
Click here to read more about PLOT.
Along with the funding round, PLOT announced that it is set to launch a new Lead Time module targeting construction material ordering and shipment.
“Delivery to the jobsite is only a small part of the coordination puzzle,” Callen said. “PLOT’s new Lead Time tool gives jobsite teams [the] tools to track materials through approval, ordering, shipping, and it fits hand-in-glove with PLOT’s delivery management module. … We’re really just moving the coordination up one step to the approval and the ordering timeframe, so we can start engaging our supplier users a bit more.”
Since PLOT’s inception, its platform has been used by more than 400 general contractors, trade contractors and owners across the country. Callen has a grand vision to expand the platform’s reach and impact.
Being born into a construction family, some of Callen’s earliest memories are at job sites, he shared. Callen later studied business information systems at the University of Kansas and used his education on software development to bring technology to the family business.
“My mother and father co-ran a construction company; the dining room table was the boardroom table, so I was involuntarily involved at a young age,” he recalled. “… I returned to the family company and ran it for four years. I look at all of our problems and how technology could serve as the solution. This is an industry I’ve dedicated my career to. I find myself even in my off hours focusing on digital solutions and digital workflows in heavier or dirty industries — not just construction. But construction is what I know, and where I’ll continue my pursuit for the foreseeable future.”
The construction industry is currently facing historical labor shortages and lead times, Callen said, but software can be utilized to fill in the gaps.
“It comes down to the fact that we need to be able to do more with less,” Callen said. “Software, PLOT included, allows these distracting workflows to be automated so that the individuals in the field can get back to the work that really deserves their attention.”
This story is made possible by Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures.
Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV) is a business unit of NetWork Kansas supporting innovative, high-growth entrepreneurs in the State of Kansas. NetWork Kansas promotes an entrepreneurial environment by connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with the expertise, education and economic resources they need to succeed.