Utah-based Iris Technologies Raises $3.2 Million In Seed Funding

This Utah-based stealth company is focused on solving complex communications problems confronting project managers and engineers in the construction field

The longer I'm in my role as a chronicler and explainer of all things business-related in the state of Silicon Slopes, the more convinced I become that there is more that I do NOT know versus what I actually DO know.

For example, in my mind it never occurred to me that a technology application and/or SaaS-based platform didn't already exist to quickly and easily facilitate interactive communications between the multitude of parties involved in commercial construction projects.

However, this apparently is NOT the case, as Silicon Slopes-based Iris Technologies announced yesterday that its four-person company has just closed a $3.2 million round of Seed Funding to solve this very problem.

{NOTE: The funding was led by Resolute Ventures, with Animo Ventures, Long Journey Ventures, and Salt Lake City-based Grix Venture Capital participating.}

Normally, this is the part of a news story where I would explain in some detail what problem XYZ Company is trying to solve and how it plans to do so. And I will try my best to do so below.

But to be clear, there are 3X more words in the Iris news release (550+) than on the Iris website (175+). And its LinkedIn Profile isn't much help either.

So what? Life is tough all over, Politis. Buck up and do your job.

Here's what I've pieced together so far about Iris Technologies:

  • Its software apparently integrates with Microsoft Outlook;
  • The Iris "communication platform" is designed for project managers/engineers working at commercial general contractors;
  • The company claims its platform can cut in half the communication time per week currently required on complex construction projects (to 5 hours/week from 10 hours/week).

On the personnel side of things,

  • The Iris CEO is a PE (professional engineer) with construction industry experience;
  • The Iris head of product is a 3X founder;
  • The Iris CTO was previously CTO at a VC-backed firm; and
  • Two of the three Iris co-founders graduated from Stanford University.

And here's a photo showing the three Iris co-founders.

The three Iris Technologies co-founders, from left to right, Josh Whisenant, CEO; Elijah Zenger, head of product; and Patrick Brown, CTO. Photo copied from the Iris website 21 July 2022.

A Sneak Peek Inside the Earliest Efforts at Iris Technologies

Thankfully there are these amazing products called mobile phones, and yes, I was able to connect this morning with Iris Co-Founder and CEO, Josh Whisenant, for what ended up being a 35-minute phone call, and that was quite instructive.

In simplest terms, Whisenant's experience working in the construction world taught him how chaotic and broken the communications process is today for project managers and project engineers at commercial general contractors.

They literally interface with 50 different organizations, or more, at a time, he explained, working with partners at architecture and design firms to representatives of various subcontractors and governmental entities.

What almost all have in common, however, is that they use email as their main means of communication, and he explained, most use Microsoft Outlook. Hence, the initial focus for the Iris platform.

Beyond that, Whisenant said that the Iris platform is centered on a few primary interfaces today, including

  • Architectural design, with multimedia storage and tracking, including SMS storage and searchability;
  • Critical path software (what those outside of the construction market often call project management software, like Gantt and Pert charts); and
  • Document control software.

Whisenant said that he and his colleagues are alpha-testing their initial offering with a small cohort of prospective clients and partners.

"We're still really early in the development process," he said. "And we have a lot to learn. But we have great partners, and we're making progress."

And after today, Whisenant and his colleagues now have 3.2 million reasons to suggest that they may be onto something with Iris Technologies.

Should be interesting to watch their progress.

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