ENGINEERING TECH

Watchmaker Genomics Raises $40M Series A Financing to Accelerate Growth and Expand Clinical Sequencing Product Offerings

Watchmaker Genomics | June 06, 2022

engineering technology
Watchmaker Genomics, a life sciences company specializing in the development of high-stringency applications focused on the reading, writing, and editing of DNA and RNA, announced it had secured $40 million in an oversubscribed Series A, bringing total funding to date to $53.5 million. The round was led by Decheng Capital, with co-investment from Eclipse Ventures.

Founded in 2019, Watchmaker established an enzyme engineering technology platform that leverages recent advances in computational design and directed evolution. The founding team has deep domain expertise in next-generation sequencing (NGS) and clinical oncology assay development and a track record of building successful life science companies, notably Kapa Biosystems, Enzymatics, and ArcherDx. The company launched its first product in 2020 and has since achieved profitability with 175% year-over-year revenue growth. With this Series A round of financing, Watchmaker plans to accelerate investment in its protein engineering platform to deliver a suite of new products that address the demands of clinical sequencing and support emerging applications in single-cell analysis, epigenetics, and cell-free DNA. In addition, the company will expand commercial channels and manufacturing capacity, making these product solutions more broadly accessible to the life science and genomics communities.

"We are thrilled to partner with Watchmaker Genomics as the company enters its next phase of product innovation and commercialization. The experienced team at Watchmaker has already built a strong foundation, and we look forward to supporting their continued growth," said Decheng Capital Partner Victor E. Tong, Jr., who is joining the Watchmaker Board of Directors.

"Watchmaker is developing tools and techniques that will unlock the future of genomics, both in the lab and the clinic. We are excited to partner with this world-class team as they pioneer the new frontier of genomics and ultimately, significantly improve how we treat diseases," said Eclipse Ventures Partner Justin Butler, who will join Watchmaker as a Board Observer.

The additional financing will enable Watchmaker to more quickly scale our organization to meet the explosive demands of the genomics industry and help to further realize our vision of more personalized medicine and improved human health. Decheng Capital is a leading investor in life science and sequencing, and we are excited to have the firm lead our Series A. Watchmaker, Decheng, and Eclipse share a passion for building market-leading, impactful companies, and we welcome Victor and Justin to join us."

Trey Foskett, CEO and Co-Founder of Watchmaker Genomics

This news builds on the company's previously announced collaborations with Twist Biosciences, Element Biosciences, Singular Genomics, and Molecular Loop. Watchmaker will be showcasing its DNA and RNA NGS solutions for clinically relevant sample types and applications at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology (AGBT) conference from June 6th - 9th in Orlando, FL.

About Watchmaker Genomics
Watchmaker Genomics applies advanced enzymology to enable breakthrough applications for the reading, writing, and editing of DNA and RNA. The company combines domain expertise in protein engineering with large-scale enzyme manufacturing to address the demanding quality, performance, and scale requirements of high-growth clinical genomics applications.

Watchmaker's product portfolio includes enzymes and kits for next-generation sequencing library preparation, synthetic biology, and molecular diagnostics. Based in Boulder, Colorado, the Watchmaker team brings decades of collective experience building successful life science companies, commercializing novel technologies, and advancing clinical genomics applications. Watchmaker partners directly with innovative life science companies, commercial sequencing providers, and pioneering research labs. 

About DeCheng Capital
Decheng Capital, founded in 2012, is a leading investment firm providing capital and strategic support to early stage life science companies with revolutionary technologies and growth stage healthcare companies with a strong market presence. We are a group of dedicated professionals with complementary expertise who have outstanding track records of building highly successful companies globally. With over $2 billion in capital under management and support from some of the most prestigious LPs in the world, Decheng is poised to deliver superior returns for our investors and create value for our entrepreneur partners.

About Eclipse Ventures
With over $2 billion in assets under management, 70 portfolio companies, and a team of investors with deep expertise in technology, manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, healthcare and consumer products, Eclipse is one of the US' leading venture capital organizations. Its leadership team has the experience and deep expertise necessary to create and scale complex operations – with partners coming from industry giants, such as Flextronics, Tesla, Apple, Samsara, Intel and GE. Eclipse partners with entrepreneurs boldly transforming the essential industries that define and propel economies.

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ENGINEERING TECH

Fernando A. Vazquez Joins Greeley and Hansen as Managing Director

Greeley and Hansen | June 10, 2022

Greeley and Hansen, a multidisciplinary global engineering firm solely dedicated to serving the needs of the water sector, has named Fernando A. Vazquez, P.E., as the new Managing Director, Southeast Operating Group and Latin American Operations. Vazquez has over 30 years of professional experience in the planning, design, and delivery of large water sector projects for major utilities at a local, national, and international level. Most recently, as Vice-President and Senior Business Development Director, for AECOM's Water Group, across the southeast region of the United States, as well as the Caribbean and Latin America, Vazquez has developed successful strategic approaches to expand business growth and established new water practice opportunities. He has also been instrumental in delivering efficient and effective program management while extending and expanding water related services. His public and private sector background has been critical to building consensus among internal agencies, elected officials, and community stakeholders for a broad range of water and sewer projects. He has successfully operated, and managed public utilities at the Cities of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale, and throughout his career he has worked on major water projects for utilities in Latin America, including in Argentina, Belize, Colombia, Panama, and Venezuela. In the role of Managing Director, Southeast Operating Group and Latin American Operations, Vazquez will oversee Greeley and Hansen's operations across Florida, including office locations in Tampa, Sarasota, and Ft. Myers along with the firm's Latin America operations in Bogota, Colombia and Guayaquil, Ecuador. As demand for the public supply of water in Florida increases, we're very pleased to have Fernando on our team in this important leadership role. Fernando's public and private sector leadership, client-focus and technical expertise will be extremely valuable to our organization in delivering results for customers that meet the growing, sustainable water needs across the region. His background working with a broad array of critical stakeholders is especially important as we accelerate efforts to further expand our operations and achieve continued strategic growth in the southeastern U.S. region and throughout Latin America." John C. Robak, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Vazquez, a registered Professional Engineer, holds a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology. In addition, he is an active member of the Florida Engineering Society, American Public Works Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Water Works Association, and the National Society of Civil Engineers. About Greeley and Hansen Greeley and Hansen is a leading global engineering, architecture, and consulting management firm solely dedicated to providing sustainable engineering solutions for a broad range of water and wastewater challenges. The firm has built upon over 108 years of proven civil and environmental engineering experience in all phases of project development and implementation to become a premier global provider of comprehensive services in the water sector. Greeley and Hansen is dedicated to designing better urban environments worldwide.

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CONSTRUCTION

Extracker raises $7 million Series A to expand Change Order platform for construction

Extracker | June 09, 2022

Extracker, the construction industry's only change order communication platform, which digitizes manual workflows and creates financial transparency between construction stakeholders, has raised $7 million in an oversubscribed Series A. Leading the round is Cloud Apps Capital Partners, joined by the construction tech veterans at Building Ventures, and follow-on investment from Jackson Square Ventures who led the Seed round in June 2021. Joining the board are Andy Stinnes, general partner at Cloud Apps Capital Partners, and Jesse Devitte, co-founder and general partner at Building Ventures. Stinnes, who led the investment round, has seen this network model first hand. Even in the challenging investment environment, he sees an exceptional opportunity in the construction technology SaaS platform. "Extracker can emerge as an industry utility in global construction, connecting all the players as the backbone for modern, mobile collaboration to unlock over $20 billion in shared value. We have personally seen this very model play out in both the supply chain and B2B payments markets and know how incredibly valuable and irreplaceable such Industry Utility SaaS companies will become." Allen Preger, Building Ventures Partner and construction technology veteran, understands the issue and opportunity after years solving construction workflows as co-founder at Newforma. "Change orders can make or break a project and put at risk the trust between contractors, owners, designers and subs. Extracker promotes a collaborative versus combative approach to change management; and has demonstrated it can sell and deliver tangible value to each stakeholder in the process. We're excited to back Cameron and the Extracker team, and we can't wait to see where they take it from here." Technology trends such as 3D design are reshaping the future of construction. With a shift towards faster, more iterative project delivery, the industry is at its breaking point with the current tools available including paper, spreadsheets, email and siloed financial software suites. The industry is still tracking 99% of over $150 billion in project Change Orders on paper, email and static spreadsheets, and Extracker is already addressing a massive pain point in commercial construction. Since its inception, they have helped contractors efficiently process and eliminate surprise costs on over $2.2 billion in Change Orders and T&M Tickets. Regardless of what financial software a Specialty Contractor, General Contractor or Owner is using internally, Extracker keeps everyone on the same page in real-time. Using their cloud-based COR Log, Subcontractors can send CORs and have them instantly appear in their General Contractor's account. Contractors now have a shared source of truth to ensure their internal forecasts align with their project partners. Extracker customers are experiencing the benefits of a centralized platform for tracking Change Orders between all project stakeholders and as a result see upwards of 95% faster time to process and close out extra work. Over the past year, they have doubled their paying customers and are proud to have built a platform that supports construction companies of all sizes and across every single trade vertical, including industry leaders like: BrandSafway (scaffolding), Conco (concrete), Performance Contracting Group (drywall), Permasteelisa (glass and glazing), NOVO (general contracting), and BuildGroup (general contracting). At Extracker, we are finding innovative ways to better equip our customers with the tools they need. With this new round of funding, we are expanding our integrations to the industry's most popular project management and accounting systems like Procore, CMiC and Sage, which seamlessly sync CORs and T&M Tags into all stakeholders' systems-of-record. Given the speed and accuracy of Change Order information being collected in our platform, we are excited about the powerful reporting and analytics engine that will harness never-before-captured data our industry leading customers are collecting about their projects." Cameron Page, founder and CEO of Extracker About Extracker Extracker's mission is to create financial transparency between commercial construction companies by reducing exposed risk and time spent tracking extra work. This is done through the industry's only Change Order Communication Platform, which supercharges extremely manual workflows and connects companies outside of their internal financial software to resolve Change Orders in real-time. Along with a collaborative cloud-based log, Extracker includes digital Time and Material Tags, standardized Change Order Templates, trackable Change Notifications, and more, to organize and streamline the process. Extracker is backed by leading enterprise application and construction technology investors Cloud Apps Capital Partners, Building Ventures, and Jackson Square Ventures.

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ENGINEERING TECH

GameAbove Funds a New Park and Outdoor Event Space at Eastern Michigan University

GameAbove | June 16, 2022

The Eastern Michigan University alumni group, GameAbove, donates $610,000 to the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology for a new upscale 38,000 sq. ft. park on the University's campus. Land construction began in the spring 2021 and is scheduled for completion for the fall semester and start of the 2022 academic year. The new park is on the site of the former president's house between Goddard Residence Hall and Sill Hall, which more recently housed a sorority. The redevelopment plans cover the area south of Legacy-Sponberg Theatres to West Forest Avenue. The newly landscaped space around the south side of Sill Hall toward Lowell Street will offer outdoor studying and a gathering area for students and faculty. EMU selected Michigan-based civil engineering company PEA Group to lead the redevelopment. "We are excited to bring this amazing space to the campus," said Karen LeVert, GameAbove advisory board member. "The renovated Sill Hall offers an incredible academic experience for students pursuing their degrees in STEM-related fields. We want to help extend the innovative design to the outside areas surrounding the building, and that is our goal here with the new park." Along with LeVert, other GameAbove members who contributed to planning the project are Jeff Bourdon, Jack Brusewitz, Chris Kaufman, and Craig Petersmark. Features of the new park include: More than 45 new trees and shrubs, including seasonal flowering trees Amphitheater Nine seating walls Paved circular drive Planters Up to six new sculptures Beautification efforts such as the new park enhance the visual appearance on campus and help with recruiting new students and retaining existing students. Students want their learning environments to be inviting and stimulating, and we will accomplish that with this amazing new outdoor space with the help from GameAbove. We are incredibly grateful for their continuous support of the college and entire University." Mohamad Qatu, dean of GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology The donation expands on GameAbove's commitment and partnership with EMU and its College of Engineering and Technology. Since its launch in 2019, GameAbove has committed more than $30 million to EMU, supporting or creating programs that spark innovation and academic advancement. Some of those programs include enhancing faculty enrichment, supplying financial aid to students, and building and improving new facilities that advance student-athlete achievements at EMU. GameAbove also supports programs to encourage STEM learning in school-aged children and partners with nationally recognized organizations that enable youth to explore an education and career path in STEM. About GameAbove GameAbove at EMU's primary focus is to help shape, inspire and support the current and future students at Eastern Michigan University by reaching new heights in learning through transformation and inspiration in the educational experience. GameAbove aspires to help improve the higher education experience by exploring and supporting innovative financial models to sustain universities, enhancing the campus environment, elevating athletics, promoting pioneering academic programs, and creative giving within the community. About the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology The GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology provides world-class experiences in engineering, technology, cybersecurity, autonomous vehicles, drone technology, gaming, aviation, and other areas of study in high-demand career fields. It is within the college's mission to cultivate individuals' intellectual and personal growth through research-informed education and diverse programs that emphasize the practical application of scientific knowledge. About Eastern Michigan University Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education.

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ENGINEERING TECH

UL Partners with InSite to Help Advance Building Intelligence, Technology Integration and Performance

UL | May 13, 2022

UL, a global safety science leader, announced a new partnership with InSite, a provider of building intelligence solutions that enable organizations to optimize performance of real estate assets, achieve sustainability goals and fulfill environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting requirements. With this partnership, InSite will provide building owners and property managers with actionable building intelligence data to complement UL's ESG advisory, sustainability and energy advisory, indoor environmental quality and field services. UL's advisory services include services such as energy and water audits, commissioning advisory services, sustainability certifications, including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), Fitwel and the WELL Building Standard. Per the 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction by GlobalABC, buildings generate nearly 40% of annual global CO2 emissions including 28% from building operations. As part of the UL and InSite combined offering, InSite's building intelligence platform will support robust reporting and disclosure of ESG and sustainability data to key stakeholders such as GRESB. UL will leverage InSite's extensive data integration capabilities and operational insights to provide relevant advisory expertise, such as carbon accounting and net zero carbon emissions. ESG reporting for a building encompasses a variety of environmental metrics. According to the 2020 United Nations Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, the operations of buildings contribute to 28% of total global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, other environmental factors should be considered for ESG reporting, including energy use, water consumption, solid waste and biodiversity. "The commercial real estate industry has prioritized formulating building performance and ESG data as well as related reporting standards as part of overall property management operations, UL's new partnership with InSite will allow us to serve customers with an end-to-end technology and advisory solution to help inform these critical business decisions, including asset allocation, property management company selection and overall investment strategies." Sean McCrady, global director of UL's Asset and Sustainability Performance group "We are extremely excited about our new partnership with UL and the positive impact it will have on our customers. This partnership allows us to continue monitoring and reporting building performance, sustainability and ESG data while enriching and elevating our clients' sustainability journeys with UL's industry-leading advisory," said Francis Gangemi, InSite's president. About InSite InSite is a premier business intelligence solution for real estate owners and operators. InSite's software as a service (SaaS) platform and managed services provide innovative, data-driven insights enabling clients to achieve ESG and sustainability goals and improve building performance while reducing operating costs. InSite's cloud-based platform seamlessly integrates data from a multitude of sources and systems. Leveraging a combination of machine learning and human analytics, InSite delivers actionable intelligence for optimization of real estate operations in support of strategic objectives and regulatory compliance. Visit InSiteIntelligence.com for additional information. About UL UL is a global safety science leader. We deliver testing, inspection and certification (TIC), training and advisory services, risk management solutions and essential business insights to help our customers, based in more than 100 countries, achieve their safety, security and sustainability goals. We believe our deep knowledge of products and intelligence across supply chains make us the partner of choice for customers with complex challenges.

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Since 2008, Walker has completed over $150MM of Water Treatment and Waste Water Treatment Plants across Texas, including the San Jacinto Regional Water Authority GRP Surface Water Facility which has a project site over 1 mile in length.

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