A company that hopes to streamline the custom home building process by allowing buyers to select the features of their future houses online has received its second infusion of venture capital in the past year.
BuildLinks has raised a total of $500,000 in the two funding rounds, and another $200,000 to $350,000 is expected before the company formally closes its second round at the end of February, says John Wagner, a spokesman for the company.
Knier and Associates, a Cary venture capital firm run by former technology training mogul Steve Knier, provided the latest funding. Quantum Ventures, a seed capital fund in Cary, was the initial outside investor in March 2001.
The money will help BuildLinks, formerly known as Best Builders Corp., expand its sales and marketing efforts nationwide. Its first major exposure will come at the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders Show in Atlanta next weekend. The company previously targeted the Triangle and Atlanta markets, where 23 builders at more than 1,000 home sites are using its online link.
“Building a house involves an incredible number of variables, and this platform improves the efficiency of the process,” Wagner says. “Home buyers see all of their options and make their selections. The builder can schedule his tiling, drywall and other crews as selections are made.”
The link also provides accountability, preventing disputes between the builder and buyer over such things as carpet color or style of trim after the house is completed, he says.
Unlike former Triangle high-flyer BuildNet, which tried to link the entire supply chain in the home building industry, from manufacturer to contractor, through e-commerce before going bankrupt last year, BuildLinks just works with small custom builders and buyers.
But there are ties between the two firms: BuildLinks Chief Executive Officer C. Gordon Gillooly assisted BuildNet on several acquisitions, and Wagner was BuildNet’s spokesman before forming his own public relations firm, which has BuildLinks as a client.
Founded by Scott Dixon and Jason Williamson, the company now has six employees, and Wagner says that will grow as it ramps up its national sales efforts.