December 30, 2020 | Earlier today CEO Paal Kibsgaard sent this email to all Katerra employees.
Earlier today, Katerra’s shareholders approved a recapitalization of our business that will strengthen our financial foundation and advance our mission to transform the construction industry.
This was an important initiative that Katerra’s Board of Directors and I supported. I would like to share some context and background on how we came to this decision, why I believe it was necessary, and how it will position Katerra for long-term success.
Since its founding in 2015, Katerra has had a clear mission to improve productivity within the construction industry. Our vision has been to combine technologies and expertise from other industries with design, engineering, and construction excellence, in order to deliver high-quality buildings more quickly and at lower cost. In doing so, we also had the opportunity to develop scalable solutions to positively impact housing affordability and reduce construction’s carbon footprint.
Through the hard work of the team, Katerra has made significant strides in its first five years.
- We built and renovated tens of thousands of units of high-quality housing, growing into a Top 5 multifamily builder by volume in less than 5 years;
- We established an extensive portfolio of proprietary technology IP and patents;
- We developed product designs and manufacturing techniques poised to bring factory-built housing and sustainable mass timber to the construction mainstream; and
- We built best-in-class design and construction capabilities across many geographies.
You should all feel proud of these remarkable achievements. We are poised to exit 2020 with nearly $2 billion in revenue despite the pandemic and a highly differentiated offering to help drive further growth.
However, along Katerra’s journey we have also experienced challenges and missteps. As with many startups and disruptors, Katerra pursued a path of lightning-speed growth, expanding rapidly into new geographies and business lines with a cost-intensive program that included high capital investments and R&D spend.
As a result, and despite the positive intentions, Katerra at times became overcommitted and spread itself too thin. Accordingly, the company spent substantial amounts of investor capital while establishing and growing numerous businesses in parallel — ultimately more than we could fully develop and maintain all at once within this very capital-intensive industry.
Since taking over as CEO in July 2020, the new leadership team and I have worked to implement a plan to help address these issues. Our priority has been to refocus on our core set of high-potential business lines, reduce overhead spending, strengthen our operational and financial systems, and build a world-class leadership team.
We have made significant progress on this plan over the last several months, placing Katerra on a much stronger path towards sustainable and profitable growth. But it also became clear that we would require additional funding to fully execute on our plan, especially as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in added project costs and delays.
After reviewing all potential options, Katerra’s Board determined that our best path toward resetting and refocusing the company was to recapitalize the business, thereby strengthening Katerra’s balance sheet by eliminating substantial debt and providing new capital funding. This recapitalization is supported by SoftBank, demonstrating their vote of confidence in Katerra and our future prospects. As with any recapitalization, all Katerra shareholders experienced dilution to their prior investments as part of the transaction.
Looking ahead, we are confident that Katerra will be well-positioned for success in this next chapter and will continue working to drive transformation within the construction industry. You can expect to see a refined, focused, deliberate approach from Katerra moving forward, demonstrated by:
- Focusing on our core business lines, particularly our multifamily building platforms, mass timber, national GC and renovations network, and factory-driven construction in India and Saudi Arabia.
- Articulating our unique approach to industrialized building production, built upon a foundation of standardized design, automated preconstruction technologies and insourced operations.
- Focusing our expansion efforts by first perfecting our approach and only then scaling the business, with feedback mechanisms in place to support continuous improvement.
- Growing our leadership and talent, which now includes capabilities in complex industrial orchestration, alongside our existing design and construction expertise.
While there is still hard work and tough decisions ahead of us to reach our goals, we are fortunate to move forward with the renewed financial strength we announced today.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to Katerra’s shareholders, customers, partners, and suppliers for their ongoing support, and especially to our employees for your commitment in the midst of an extraordinarily challenging year.
I am beyond excited about what’s ahead for Katerra. With the right strategy, team, and foundation in place, we have never been in a stronger position to succeed.
I look forward to speaking further at our town hall and partnering with you on this journey.