Boston has been Crane City for the last five years or more: construction everywhere you look, and detour signs, too.
Much less noticeable has been a boom in startups focused on buildings. Entrepreneurs are looking at a massive industry and seeing opportunity: Construction spending on private projects in the United States hit a record high of $1.25 trillion in December, according to the Commerce Department. And while that enormous number includes everything from architectural design to laying bricks, it doesn’t include the cost of renting out the space or managing it once the work is complete. That equals even more opportunity for entrepreneurs.
The venture capital firm Borealis Ventures says it is tracking more than 70 companies in the Boston area that are focused on construction, real estate technology, and “smart cities,” a term for applying software and sensors to gather data from the urban environment.