Silicon Valley tech start-up acquires New Jersey construction company

Katerra, the California tech company, has merged with Fields Construction Company

Katerra, a Silicon Valley-based construction startup known for its innovative use of building technology, announced on Wednesday the acquisition of Fields Construction Company, one of the leading construction management entities in the Northeast.

Under the acquisition, New Jersey-based Fields will begin deploying many of Katerra’s technologies, including a vertically integrated model of design, manufacturing, logistics and assembly, under Katerra’s name. Since its launch in 2015, Katerra has made public a goal of using automation and various forms of new technology to speed up the current building and construction process.

“We were looking for a partner who could help us expand our rapidly growing footprint,” said Trevor Schick, who leads Katerra’s construction operations. “Fields’ well-established presence on the East Coast and their commitment to innovation in the construction industry made partnering with them an easy choice so that, together, we can speed up construction times and enter into new markets more easily.”

Katerra, which was founded in 2015 and is based in California’s Menlo Park, has more than 550 employees around the globe and raised $220 million from investors, including the SoftBank Vision Fund and Khosla Ventures. According to Katerra, the company is now valued at $1 billion. The company declined to discuss the financial details involving the acquisition of Fields.

By the end of 2017, nationwide construction of new homes slowed, even as yearly construction of single-family homes grew 2.4 percent compared to 2016. Katerra’s announcement marks a larger shift within the industry as more real estate, investment and construction companies begin to invest in technological developments.

“The last craft industry, construction, has yet to enter the industrial or technology age,” said Schick, who hopes to integrate technology into the entire construction process. “People are building homes today essentially the same way they did in the mid-1800s. Economies of scale just don’t exist: most projects are designed, planned, quoted, bought out and built as one-off projects.”

Email Veronika Bondarenko