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Briq, the next building block in tech’s reconstruction of the construction business, raises $3 million – TechCrunch

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Bassem Hamdy has been in the construction business for a long time.

He spent the last few years at the construction software business Procore, now a $3 billion company developing technology for the construction industry, and now Hamdy is ready to unveil his next act as chief executive and co-founder of Briq, a new software service for the industry.

Hamdy started Briq with his own cash, amassed through secondary sales as Procore climbed the ranks of startups to reach its status as a construction industry unicorn. And the company has just raised $3 million in financing to fund its expansion.

“With enough secondaries you can afford to make your own decisions,” Hamdy says. 

His experience in construction dates back to his earliest days. Hailing from a family of construction engineers, Hamdy describes himself as a black sheep who went into the financial services industry — but construction kept pulling him back.

Beginning in the late nineties with CMIC, which was construction enterprise resource planning, and continuing through to Procore, Hamdy has had success after success in the business, but Briq is the culmination of all of that experience, he says. 

“As much as data entry helps people it’s data intelligence software that changes things,” says Hamdy. 

Briq chief executive Bassem Hamdy

The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company is part of a growing number of Southern California technology startups building businesses to service large swaths of specific industries — specifically real estate and construction.

Already, Procore is a $3 billion behemoth, and ServiceTitan has become a billion-dollar company as well, with its software and services for air conditioning and appliance repairmen.

Now Hamdy’s Briq, with backing from Eniac Ventures and MetaProp NYC, is hoping to join their ranks.

“Bassem built and helped run the most successful construction software businesses in the world. It is rare and humbling to have an opportunity to help build a company from the ground up with an industry legend,” says Tim Young, founding general partner at Eniac Ventures . “The technology Bassem and his team are building will do something the industry has never seen before: break down data silos to leverage information in real time. Bassem has built and run the most successful construction software businesses in the world, and his knowledge of the construction space and the data space is second to none.”

The company, formerly called Brickschain, uses a combination of a blockchain-based immutable ledger and machine learning tools to provide strategic insights into buildings and project developments.

Briq’s software can predict things like the success of individual projects, where demand for new projects is likely to occur and how to connect data around construction processes.

Briq has two main offerings, according to Hamdy. ProjectIQ, which monitors and manages individual projects and workflows — providing data around different vendors involved in a construction project; and MarketIQ, which provides market intelligence around where potential projects are likely to occur and which projects will be met with the most demand and success.

Joining Hamdy in the creation of Briq is Ron Goldschmidt, an experienced developer of quantitative-based trading strategies for several businesses. Hamdy, a former Wall Streeter himself, has long realized the power of data in the construction business. And with the new tools at his disposal — including the blockchain-based ledger system that forms the backbone of Briq’s project management software, Hamdy thinks he has developed the next big evolution in technology for the industry.

Briq already counts Webcore, a major contractor and developer, as one of its clients, along with Kobayashi, Probuild, Hunter Roberts OEG and Gartner Builders. In all, the company has contracts with nearly 12 developers and contractors.

All of the insights that Briq can provide through its immutable ledger can add up to big savings for developers. Hamdy estimates that there’s roughly $1 trillion in waste in the construction industry.

Briq relies on IBM’s Hyperledger for its blockchain backbone and through that, the company has a window into all of the decisions made on a project. That ledger forms the scaffolding on which Briq can build out its projections and models of how much a building will cost, and how could conceivably be made on a project.

“Construction and infrastructure are integral to society, but the decision-making process behind how, when, where, and why we build is no longer working,” said Hamdy, in a statement. “We aren’t just solving a construction problem, we are solving a societal problem. If we are to meet the infrastructure needs of both the developed and developing world, we must improve our decision-making and analysis around the data we have. We are thrilled to have the support of Eniac Ventures as we enter the next phase of our journey.”

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Sotheby’s first NFT auction revealed

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An art auction is set to take place in June of 2021 called “Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale.” This sale will be hosted by Sotheby’s, and it’ll take place entirely online. Sotheby’s started their description of this sale with the following: “NFTs will be considered one of the groundbreaking artistic breakthroughs of the century.”

This NFT auction at Sotheby’s will be co-curated by Sotheby’s and Robert Alice. The show will be “An artist-led survey of the many strands that comprise this emerging cultural ecosystem.”

SEE TOO: What is NFT? A simple explanation for the crypto newb

This showing will include NFT creations across time and space, from “some of the earliest” NFTs built raw, before Ethereum chains took hold of the platform. It’ll also include “newer, complex NFTs that showcase the cutting edge technical innovation.” Artists in the show include creators from four different continents.

Categories for NFT include:
• Early NFTs
• Digital Pop/Futurists
• Generative
• Conceptual
• Emerging NFT Artists
• Community-elected

The show will take place between June 3, 2021, and June 10, 2021, all online at Sothebys.com. The show will be revealed in parts, starting with the three works you see (in preview) above.

The first three NFT shown are The Shell Record by Anna Ridler, CryptoPunk #7523 by Larva Labs, and Quantum by Kevin McCoy. More works will be revealed for this show in the coming weeks. UPDATE: More works will be posted to the Natively Digital digital catalogue as we reach the date where bidding will begin.

It’s likely Sotheby’s will allow (and perhaps require) works to be purchased with cryptocurrency. The first ever Sotheby’s physical artwork with the potential to be purchased with cryptocurrency was also just sold. As you might have already guessed, it was a Banksy. Sotheby’s allowed the transaction to take place with bitcoin or ethereum cryptocurrency should the winner of the auction choose to purchase the work as such.

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Beats design at Apple now lead by Android hardware legend

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Apple appears to have pinpointed one of the most influential Android hardware designers of the last decade in Scott Croyle. This guy was the head of HTC’s design team when they created the HTC One M7 – he was also a founder of the company Nextbit, creators of the Nextbit Robin. A report this week details the timing and details surrounding the designer’s joining Apple.

Below you’ll see the Nextbit Robin and an HTC One M7 (originally just called HTC One). These devices remain memorable pieces of hardware design even here, nearly a decade later. Now Croyle, one of the main keys behind this hardware design, is working with Apple.

FUN FACT: The HTC One (whose design team was led by Croyle), came with Beats Audio branding. This phone was released in early 2013, when HTC still owned stock in Beats. HTC sold their last shares of Beats by September of 2013. In the year 2014, Apple acquired Beats.

According to 9to5Mac, Scott Croyle “joined Apple last year specifically to oversee Beats product design.” It’s reported that Apple will continue to have the design firm Ammunition “create the look of Beats hardware products and company identity” while Croyle acts as “point person” between Beats and the design company.

It’s very likely that details like this appearing mean that we’ll see new Beats products in the very near future. The fact that Croyle is working with Apple specifically on Beats is a talking point that’s perfect for starting a fire in the minds of the public. We’re now reminded that Apple owns Beats, and Beats hasn’t released a brand new product for quite some time.

It’s likely there’ll be a new pair of Beats headphones in the near future, and it would not be shocking to find a new wireless speaker appearing soon, too. The Beats brand remains solid. The public still knows the logo, and it’s quite likely Apple will capitalize on the hype that will inevitably come with the release of a new Beats product before the end of the year 2021.

What sort of Beats brand hardware do you expect Apple will release next? Will it just be another pair of headphones with a slightly different shape from what’s come before, updated with Apple’s latest wireless chip tech? Or will it be something truly new?

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Razor releasing new electric RipStik and their “SUV” of scooters

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There’s a new electric movement machine in the mix this week from the folks at Razor. It has a long name: “The New RipStik Rush, the electric RipStik 2.0,” and it’s the second RipStik produced by Razor. There are other official RipStik products out with Razor, but only one other original electric RipStik. It’s “official” because Razor is the only one who holds the patent for Caster Boards as such.

This machine works with “enhanced RipStik technology” that’ll allow the back end of the board to move back and forth to “fishtail, carve, and drift like a snowboard.” This newest version works with an electric hub motor that allows the rider to roll at up to 10mph (16 km/h). The rider of this particular electric RipStik will be able to push forth with a remote control, as shown in the imagery above and below.

The New RipStik Rush, the electric RipStik 2.0, will be released for a suggested retail price of $249 USD. This device is recommended for “anyone age 9+” and will be available for sale “soon.”

Razor also announced that they’ll be making the Razor C25 electric scooter available this summer. Per Razor, the C25 is like the “SUV” of the Razor line-up. They’ve suggested that this scooter delivers “a comfortable, rugged ride that can easily navigate any surface.”

The Razor C25 has the ability to go 15.5 miles per battery charge and can move at a speed of up to 18 miles per hour. There’s a 250W rear brushless hub motor in this vehicle and a 36V lithium icon battery inside. The whole machine weighs in at 32.5 lbs. The Razor C25 will be released for sale in July of 2021.

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