8 investment firms injecting cash into construction
We are following the money to see who is buying up builders and looking to grow the sector.
You know the names of construction companies and projects, but what about firms behind the secenes providing capital? This week were are taking a look at investment groups that have taken an interest in the construction space, helping seed new ventures or acquiring growing businesses. Some are generalists that have only dipped their toe into construction, while others are specialists steeped in the industrial sector.
2023 was a massive year for the Hillcore Group. They made major moves in the construction sector, acquiring Midlite Construction, Ruskin, Zanron Mechanical Services and Thompson Construction Group. They invest predominantly in the life sciences, real estate, seniors living, financial, logistics, industrial, forestry and energy sectors. Founded in 1995 in Toronto, Hillcore manages more than $5 billion in assets. Since 2005, they have completed acquisitions, directly or indirectly through their investment funds, with an aggregate asset value in excess of $9 billion.
TriWest was founded in 1998 by Ron Jackson, Lorne Jacobson, and Cody Church, following the sale of Burns Foods, a 110-year-old, private Canadian food conglomerate with revenues of $1.1 billion. Today, they are a leading Western Canadian-based private equity firm with 23 years of experience investing in 47 companies, many of them geared towards heavy industrial work. Their portfolio includes heavy construction provider Broda Group, concrete manufacturer Con-Force, Strike Group and many more. Recent activity includes selling ZyTech Building Systems to Dick’s Lumber and selling modular builder Triple M Housing to ATCO Structures.
Yellow Point Equity Partners
Co-founded by former Greenlight Power CEO Dave Chapman and investment banking expert Brian Begert, Yellow Point wants to take a more personal approach to investing and partnering with management. Their team says they assist with tough transitions and facilitate growth, succession planning, management, buyouts and more. Each member of Yellow Point has a significant portion of their personal wealth invested in our funds, which makes them committed to a company’s success. Past and current investments in the industrial sector include Remcan, CIMS, Bravo Target and Crossroads CCI Industries, the world’s largest manufacturer of Allan Block concrete retaining wall systems.
CAI Capital Partners
Vancouver-based CAI has a passion for founder-owned businesses in the lower middle market, many of them serving Canada’s construction sector. Current investments include Midwestern Electric, LineStar Utility Supply, Universal Group, GLM Industries and more. Over the past 30 years, CAI has invested $1.6 billion. The company states that the most important element of their approach is forming meaningful relationships.
Founded in 2020, Cassiar describes itself as a boutique private investment firm committed to the success of small and medium sized Canadian businesses. Their approach is people-centered and geared towards long-term investments. Current investments in the construction sector include CEL Electrical Contractors, H.H.S. Drilling & Blasting
Business Development Bank of Canada
Technically a crown corporation, BDC is heavily involved in venture capital with the construction sector, particularly green construction technology. It has investments with prefabricated housing tech company Intelligent City, sustainable construction materials provider Carbon Upcycling, AI concrete data company Giatech and green concrete company CarbiCrete.
The goal of Toronto-based StandUp Ventures is clear: To champion breakthrough companies led by women. More specifically, they invest in seed-stage, for-profit technology companies with at least one woman in a C-level leadership position within the company who has an equitable amount of ownership. They also lean heavy into tech. Their portfolio includes jobsite communication platform Bridgit and construction intelligence platform Mercator AI.
Investing has also become an activity that companies can do to help their own industry advance. GroundBreak Ventures, the investment arm of multi-faceted real estate developer Hopewell, is a venture capital firm specializing in real estate and property technology. The Toronto firm invests as early as the pre-seed stage, and provides both the capital and the domain expertise needed to support the growth. Some of their investments include construction materials marketplace TOOLBX, modular construction tech platform Modulous and CAD drawing conversion provider AirWorks.