Material Bank, a logistics platform for the architectural and design industry, has revealed the close of a$28 million Series B funding today, led by Bain Capital Ventures. Bain’s Merritt Hummer led the round on behalf of the firm and will sign up with the board of directors at Material Bank, together with Jeff Sine, cofounder and partner at The Raine Group.
Existing investors Raine Ventures and Starwood Capital Group cofounder, Chairman and CEO Barry Sternlicht also participated in the round.
Product Bank released in January 2019, founded by Adam I. Sandow. Its platform is meant to serve designers, designers and others who source and buy the extremely building blocks of our physical world: materials.
A lot of architectural companies and designers have their own physical library of products in their office, like carpet examples, wall covering samples, tiles, and woods for flooring. These libraries are nearly difficult to maintain to date– not only do designs change in time (similar to clothing or anything else) but designers pull this or that binder of wall coverings or carpets and there’s no telling if or when that binder returns to the library, or if the binder will still be complete when it does return.
The other huge barrier for designers and architects is that there’s no real aggregation throughout the lots of, numerous producers of these products.
Sandow compares it to searching for a flight in the old days.
“We all used to book airline travel through a representative, and after that the airlines used sites,” stated Sandow. “We thought ‘this is terrific! I can simply go to AA.com or Delta.com to reserve my flights.’ Up until we wanted to cost shop. Then you needed to search four or 5 various websites and jot down all the rates and by the time you discovered the price you wanted, it might be gone.”
Came Expedia and Hotwire.
That’s how Sandow thinks of Product Bank for the architectural market.
Product Bank aggregates products across numerous suppliers, providing users the capability to filter around multiple specifications to discover a selection of products in minutes instead of hours.
However aggregation and powerful search are only half the fight. Designers and designers are likewise burdened by the time it requires to get their samples. One plan might get here tomorrow, with two others in the next 3 days, and still more coming in one week.
This results in a confusing experience of getting all these samples together to show a customer, and is a substantial environmental waste with lots of boxes reaching the exact same precise place over several days.
To fight this waste, Product Bank developed a center in Memphis directly next door to FedEx’s arranging. This center is the really last stop that FedEx makes each night prior to sending and sorting off its overnight plans by airplane.
That means that Product Bank users can put an order by midnight EST and get their samples, from any supplier on Product Bank, by 10am ET the next morning. These samples come in a single box with a tray that can be repurposed into a return package to send back unnecessary samples.
Undoubtedly, Material Bank’s center would need hundreds of workers to reverse orders that come in late to be picked up by FedEx if it weren’t for advancements in robotics. Material Bank partners with Locus Robotics in its facility, and is therefore able to pay $17.50 an hour to its human employees in the building.
Sandow says that coronavirus has actually not hindered business at all, with the business seeing record earnings in March and with expectations to beat that record in April. That is partly due to the truth that those physical sample libraries in architectural and design companies are no longer available to workers who have actually had to shift to working from house.
Material Bank doesn’t charge designers or designers for the service, however does have a hybrid SaaS design in place for producers and vendors on the platform. Producers pay a regular monthly charge to access and utilize the platform, noting their SKUs, as well as a transactional cost to get access to the designers and architects positioning orders for samples of their products. Essentially, the producers pay for the lead generation and hand-off to prospective clients.
Sandow invested the last 20 years growing a media network of design-focused and architectural magazines and understood early on that a reliance on advertising wouldn’t cut it as media moved online, with strategies to build services and tools rather.
Product Bank was substantiated of that effort, and drew out of Sandow group fairly early on in its life.
The business has raised a total of $55 million considering that creation.
Article curated by RJ Shara from Source. RJ Shara is a Bay Area Radio Host (Radio Jockey) who talks about the startup ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investments, policies and more on her show The Silicon Dreams. The show streams on Radio Zindagi 1170AM on Mondays from 3.30 PM to 4 PM.