Javelin VP
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Javelin VP

HighArc — A Sea Change in Home Building (aka CAD is the walking dead)

CAD is over. It might still take a little while to become obsolete, but a sea change is coming to home building via HighArc’s next generation technology. Its software is elegant in its simplicity, lightning fast, more cost effective, and to put it mildly, dazzling. It is intensely mathematical in how it works, but incredibly visual in how it shows. It brings freedom to the whole process, allowing real time adaptations to home designs within all relevant constraints, but without delay or errors. And everyone from designers to home buyers to builders will wonder how they ever did things the old way.

I say those things with lots of context, experience and battle scars, having spent most of my entrepreneurial career prior to becoming an investor in the intersection between technology and real estate. In 1994, I co-founded Rent Net, the first online apartment guide and the first prop-tech company of any kind to publish digital photos, floor plans, data searches and 360˚ virtual walk-throughs. Then in 1999, I co-founded Move.com, which added home listings, mortgages and relocation services (Move.com later merged with Realtor.com). And as an investor now for 16 years, I’ve seen a few new technologies that could truly make a big impact in this sector, but many, many more that were just incremental improvements. I can say with confidence that HighArc is a game changer.

HighArc’s platform allows users to import or create a home plan, and with no coding experience whatsoever, manipulate that plan into millions of possible configurations. Adjustments are shown in both 2D and 3D in real-time, but only if they satisfy various constraints such as construction standards, pre-established design specs, or even regulatory limitations. Once the design is completed, the output is a set of permit and build-ready blueprints. No months of delay for new architectural drawings. No mistakes on changes that weren’t actually allowed or possible. Instead, users get a real-time rendering that guarantees all parties have exactly the same vision of what’s being built. And that’s before flooring, fixtures and color treatments are layered on, all of which can be rendered in a fully customized fashion.

Before I continue gushing — watch this 44 second animation of the technology so you can see what I mean…

Builders using HighArc can now easily manage their home plans, standards and options all in one place. Changes are made 100 times faster than with CAD. Material lists are instantly and accurately generated. Budget estimating errors are eliminated. And because permit ready construction docs are generated automatically, users can go from concept to construction in days, not months. It’s a time and money saving tool, it greatly reduces risk, and it’s a heck of lot more fun — and much less stressful — for consumers! Builders can now design and market customizable homes on their websites and in their offices with a beautiful visualization tool that practically makes the sale for them.

Another thing I love about HighArc’s platform is that it’s basically foolproof for consumers. If consumers want a bigger bathroom or higher ceilings in the kitchen, great. Move the garage to the other side of the house, no problem. How about adding a porch? Just point and click. The software will automatically adjust the framing, electrical, adjacent rooms, etc, all in exactly the right proportions. Want to keep the floorplan but change the style of house? That’s one click. Want to see what various colors look like on the house, or how sunlight hits it during different parts of the day? HighArc can render those things on the fly, and everything is lot specific!

As you can imagine, this is not technology that can be hacked together quickly. It requires a very talented team of engineers and product developers with backgrounds in industrial design, 3D rendering, UI/UX and of course home building. The engine under the hood is complex, sophisticated and extremely challenging to build. And equally important, the UI on top was constructed with such an eye for design, that anyone could use it with only a few minutes of tutorials. I’m in awe of the HighArc team that built this. And they continue to make it even better every day.

Marc Minor, CEO of HighArc

As I said above, I’ve always been pretty skeptical about the pace at which new technologies can impact the real estate sector. Builders in particular have been doing things a certain way for a really long time. But this is a bet I was super excited to make at the seed stage and was eager to double down in the Series A. HighArc’s Founder & CEO, Marc Minor, has deeply relevant experience from his years at Desktop Metal, Carbon3D and Apple, and he leads a team of A+ entrepreneurs, innovators and all-around great humans. It’s also been a joy to be on the board with amazing advisors Russ Wilcox and Ric Fulop. A huge welcome to new investors Alex Finkelstein of Spark Capital who will be joining the board, along with Metaprop, Montage, Tectonic Capital, Plangrid founder Ralph Gootee, Built Technologies founder Chase Gilbert, and Carta CTO Jerry Talton.

HighArc is ushering in a massive change to how the residential construction industry works for all participants, with big plans ahead. Watch this space. And then start dreaming of your future home!

-Jed Katz

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