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Can New Technology Help the Construction Industry Stay Profitable? with Maria Davidson and Dan Babcock


 In the eighth episode of Season 11 of the Propcast, host Louisa Dickins is joined by Maria Davidson, CEO & Founder of Kojo and Dan Babcock, President at James Babcock Inc


Episode Highlights:

     • What was behind the creation of Kojo and the issues they believed they could resolve
    •  What Kojo stands for
    •  Common questions clients of Kojo want to have answered
    •  The reasons why Dan’s company became customers of Kojo and the benefits they get from it
    •  How Dan found introducing a new technology solution into the business that had been running since the 50’s
    •  The impact the increase in the cost of materials is having on profitability
    •  The different product changes that have occurred for Kojo and their future plans
    •  What drives the development of different products and their roadmap
    • Other products Kojo integrates with
    • Trends Maria is seeing within the industry



    LMRE Global Recruitment and Search Consultancy
    LMRE YouTube Interviews
    • PropTech Salary Report, LMRE 2022
    • Procore
    • OpenSpace podcast


Key Takeaways:

  • When we started Kojo back in 2018, the question that we were really obsessed with was how could we make the built environment faster, more efficient and less error prone to build? – Maria
  • In the last three years, with an extremely volatile supply chain and volatile material prices, the difference between being profitable and unprofitable can really come down to one project going well or going badly.  – Maria
  • A big thing is pricing. We’ve seen huge savings. Because back in the day, my purchaser would’ve taken an order and called our favourite vendor and ordered the materials. Now we’re sending it out if it’s a smaller order, to three to four vendors and I can see on my dashboard the amount of savings between if we would’ve just gone with the one vendor. – Dan
  • So we take baby steps on anything we do, because people in construction are a little behind on, I’d say technology, but we don’t want to be, not  all of us. – Dan
  • We just had a customer who got an invoice for $12,000 that should have been $120  because the unit of measurement was off. And they said, that’s the kind of thing that we could have just paid because we’re getting thousands of invoices a month, and it’s impossible for us to know that each one is being meticulously checked. – Maria


About our guests:

Maria Davidson:

Maria is the Founder and CEO of Kojo, an industry-leading construction procurement platform that’s raised $84m to date. She was previously Joe Lonsdale’s Chief of Staff and helped him build 8VC, a venture fund they grew to over $2.7bn in AUM. Whilst building 8VC, Maria co-founded RCI, a fintech company providing financial forecasting solutions to institutional investors, which was acquired by Addepar in 2020.

Maria started her career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University. Whilst at Oxford, Maria was President of the Oxford Union. In 2020, Maria was selected for Forbes’s 30 Under 30 list for enterprise technology. 



Kojo is the leading materials procurement platform for trade and self-perform general contractors. By connecting office teams, field crews, the warehouse, and vendors on one all-inclusive procurement platform, contractors control their procurement process from takeoff to closeout, saving on material costs, reducing waste, and increasing productivity.


Dan Babcock:

Dan is President of James Babcock Inc (JBI), who has been providing quality commercial electrical services to organizations throughout the state of Indiana and beyond for more than six decades.  Dan is also a member of the Board of Trustees Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). Dan started working for James Babcock Inc in 1986 as an electrical apprentice, and after passing the Master Electrical License in 1991, he became President of JBI in 2011.


James Babcock, Inc:

James Babcock Inc. Electrical Contractors  (JBI) has been providing quality commercial electrical services to organizations throughout the state of Indiana for more than sixty years. The company was started by James and Evelyn Babcock in Indianapolis, in 1955. Still today, they are a family business, including immediate family members as well as their employee family. James Babcock Inc. Was recognized by Indiana Business Journal as a “Fast 25” company, growing their revenues 95% in 3 years.


About Our Host

Louisa Dickins

Louisa is the co-founder of LMRE, which has rapidly become the market leading global PropTech recruitment platform and search consultancy with operations across North America, United Kingdom, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

To promote the industry she is so passionate about, Louisa set up the Global podcast ‘The Propcast’where she hosts and invites guests from the built environment space to join her in conversation about innovation.

About LMRE

LMRE is globally recognised for leading the way in Real Estate Tech & Innovation talent management.

From the outset our vision was to become a global provider of the very best strategic talent to the most innovative organisations in PropTech, ConTech, Smart Buildings, ESG, Sustainability and Strategic Consulting.

At LMRE we are fully committed at all times to exceed the expectations of our candidates and clients by providing the very best advice and by unlocking exclusive opportunities across our global network in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.



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