After WeWork’s IPO debacle, SoftBank-backed Katerra finds itself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. The Construction tech startup recently laid off 200 employees and closed its first factory.
- Worth Noting: A TRD investigation found that the tech company has failed to complete at least a dozen projects and only one was delivered on time.
- Recent criticism on double dipping: Co-founder Fritz Wolff recently stepped down as a member of the board. The split was reported as acrimonious and has raised questions about the impact on the company’s portfolio.
- Dig Deeper: Wolff owns a private equity firm with a massive construction arm that was Katerra’s sole customer in its initial years. He remains a shareholder and advisor to the company.
- From the inside: “Katerra is nothing but a developer on steroids.”
- Heard on the Street: Allegaert Berger & Vogel’s Richard Morris: “With a group of people, who are also the customers, that’s where a potential conflict of interest emerges. That’s a question of how it’s disclosed and dealt with.”
- They persevere and spend through traditional means: Katerra acquired eight general contractors and architecture firms in the past two years, which proves that technology has not been the primary force behind growth.