After sixth round of funding, Nexii joins BC's unicorn club, valued at $1.55B
Inside the construction tech company’s mission to become the “Tesla of buildings.”
Green construction tech company Nexii Building Solutions Inc. recently closed its sixth funding round led by Honeywell, a USD$45 million infusion of capital. The investment round, which also included Trane Technologies and other strategic partners, values the 31-month-old company at USD$1.23 billion (or CAD$1.55 billion). Nexii’s total equity raised is over USD$109M (CAD$125M) and the firm has more than 1,000 shareholders including clients, suppliers, employees and high net worth individuals.
Nexii designs and manufactures innovative high-performance buildings and green building products. It developed a breakthrough building material, Nexiite, that has comparable properties to concrete but contains no cement or lime, significantly reducing end-to-end carbon emissions. Its building solutions reportedly have a lower carbon footprint with 20-33% less embodied carbon, use 33% less energy overall and 55% less heating energy.
Recent Nexii projects include an energy-saving exterior building envelope for a Courtyard Marriott in Nanaimo; a first-of-its-kind sustainably built Starbucks, constructed in six days; and projects for clients including Popeyes and A&W Restaurants.
The company was one of 21 BC companies that received funding from the CleanBC Building Innovation (CBBI) Fund to accelerate the availability and affordability of low-carbon building solutions.
Welcome to unicorn county. Population: growing.
Nexii is the latest in a growing number of BC-based businesses to become a unicorn, the term applied to private companies valued at $1 billion or more. It follows firms like Blockstream, Visier, Trulioo, Clio and Dapper Labs to pass the billion-dollar mark in 2021.
Nexii’s valuation is indicative of the scale of the opportunity the company is pursuing according to former Vancouver mayor and Nexii executive vice president Gregor Robertson, who spoke to Vancouver Tech Journal over the phone.
“Nexii’s incredible valuation reflects the combination of disrupting one of the world's biggest industries with breakthrough technology that delivers both cost savings and green performance,” he said. “I think our technology is increasingly recognized as a game-changer in this enormous industry. We've attracted partnerships like Starbucks and Marriott on the building side, and on supplier and investor side, Honeywell, Trane Technologies and Siemens, and we're seeing the top companies globally joining the Nexii movement with their investments and new buildings.”
Honeywell was recently named Nexii’s exclusive buildings technologies supplier. The company is collaborating with Trane Technologies to create commercial buildings, and it’s recently joined forces with Siemens to advance the rapid delivery of its high-performance total building solution. Mainstream celebrities have also attached their name to the firm, with actor Michael Keaton partnering on a manufacturing plant in Pittsburgh and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco supporting the opening of a plant in Hazleton, PA. World-renowned architect Jason McLennan is also serving as Nexii’s Impact Architect.
Nexii's recently announced partnerships are all part of a growth strategy to achieve profitability “as soon as possible,” explained Robertson. “We've got enormous opportunities in front of us, and we have to ensure we're focused on solid business fundamentals and scaling with the market opportunity in front of us.”
Constructing the “Tesla of buildings”
In terms of areas of focus, partnerships and licensing are key, Robertson noted. “We are working with local experts to scale up production across North America in prime markets, which is a different model from many manufacturing businesses. We want to leverage that local knowledge and expertise with our growth.
“We're focused on building the first global brand for buildings,” he shared. “The Tesla of buildings is one way to put it.”
Buildings and construction are considered the largest industry globally, collectively, but there are no global brands, Robertson posited. “It's a very fragmented industry. We're trying to create great partnerships, and a platform for green and affordable buildings that are climate resilient and energy-efficient and makes sense for the development industry,” he said.
Although Nexii made a key recent acquisition of construction and design firm Omicron, Robertson said M&A will not necessarily play a huge role in terms of its primary growth strategy. “We were thrilled to merge with Omicron, given their exceptional history in Western Canada as one of the top design-build firms,” he said. However, the company is “more inclined to partner across the industry with developers, architects, engineers, general contractors, and be a part of the ecosystem that supports the many great businesses already operating.”
A deep bench in its Board of Directors
Before setting up its headquarters in Vancouver, Nexii was founded in Moose Jaw in 2019. Now the company has expanded to eight manufacturing plants in operation or development across North America. While its operational growth is noteworthy, the company has also garnered attention for its roster of high-profile executives that have joined the company as advisors or board members.
Nexii’s board of directors counts as members F. William McNabb III, former chair and CEO of Vanguard, Dr. Ronald Sugar, chair of Uber’s board, member of Apple’s board and former CEO of Northrop Grumman, as well as Michael S. Burke, chair and CEO of AECOM, among other business leaders.
“We have world leaders on our board, incredible investors, technology partners, and a team of over 300 all committed to our mission of changing the construction industry, bringing high-performance sustainable building solutions to every sector of business and every area of the world,” said Nexii CEO Stephen Sidwell.
Plus today, the company announced that it’s added to its already deep bench with the appointment of David S. Taylor, currently, chairman of the board, president and CEO of P&G. Beginning November 1, 2021, Taylor will transition to a new role as P&G’s executive chairman, and in joining the Nexii board, will share his expertise to support the company’s North American and international expansion plans.
“I have always been a strong believer in the power of innovation to create meaningful change,” said Taylor. “That’s exactly what Nexii is doing today—reinventing how the world builds so we can reduce climate impacts in a meaningful way for our planet.”
“It’s wonderful to have David Taylor join as someone who's steered P&G—it's one of the top companies globally in its class,” Robertson said. “He certainly brings incredible experience and expertise to the table.”
Reflection on this latest milestone—unicorn status, the modern pinnacle of start-up-dom, Robertson said, “It's an important signal that the world of buildings is changing and breakthrough technologies and companies like Nexii are delivering real change at pace, which is much needed to turn the tide on the climate crisis and transform an industry that has lagged far behind on innovation and clean technology.
“Our growth trajectory is a testament to the opportunity in front of us these early days, and we've got big ambitions. We’re honoured to be headquartered in Vancouver, and look forward to exporting our Canadian technology globally and really becoming one of the most successful Canadian companies in history.”