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Winners of the Housing Innovation Alliance's Pitchfest Program

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Winners of the Housing Innovation Alliance's Pitchfest Program

Here are the four startups that stood out to Pitchfest's judges

By Quinn Purcell, Managing Editor July 19, 2023
Summit Pitchfest winners on stage
The Pitchfest winners in conversation with K.P. Reddy of Shadow Ventures (left): Cliff Fetner of Soil Connect, Sameer Sood of FwdSlash, Paul Cardis of On3, and Eric Law of Urban Machine. Photo courtesy Housing Innovation Alliance

In April, the first in-person Housing Innovation Summit since the pandemic took place, co-hosted by the Housing Innovation Alliance and the University of Denver Daniels College of Business. The annual Summit brings together thought leaders, industry experts, and innovators to discuss the state of the industry.

This year introduced a new program (within the program) called Pitchfest. The idea was to invite a dozen startups and other innovators across three categories to "pitch" their ideas to a jury of industry experts to help attract potential advisors, investors, and clients (think: Shark Tank for housing). Here are the winners for each category:

Design+Build Category Winner

Soil Connect, Cliff Fetner

Launched in 2019, Soil Connect is a SaaS enabled marketplace for construction professionals to locate, transport, and acquire soil and aggregates.

As a one-stop-shop for all things dirt, founder and CEO Cliff Fetner describes Soil Connect as the "dating app for dirt." The software aims to save contractors both time and money on the jobsite, while reducing the industry's carbon footprint.

Tech+Data Category Winner

On3, Paul Cardis

On3 is a digital learning platform that engages builders, manufacturers, and trades in the creation of development videos and AI-enabled learning. It acts as “a digital platform that allows employees to self-learn, self-discover, and have greater accountability," according to Paul Cardis, co-founder, On3.

Users of the platform can record videos on-site, describing the process or technique they want their workers to learn, then send that video to the On3 team. The end result? Rather than creating written training documents that their workers might read once and never look at again, clients get their own custom libraries of shareable learning videos.

For more on On3, read the related article below:

RELATED: An App that Delivers Learning to Construction Workers’ Phones

ESG Category Winner

FwdSlash, Sameer Sood

FwdSlash is a "community co-designed" organization focused on supportive housing needs for the underrepresented. It's aim is to bridge the gap between health and social care, working with stakeholders to acquire housing and provide services for community members in need.

The organization's goal is to solve homelessness by supporting a three-sided marketplace between housing leaders, healthcare, and community-based organizations.

People's Choice

UrbanMachine, Eric Law

This startup utilizes robotics to give a second life to wood scrap—turning the waste into premium lumber products. The machine uses artificial intelligence to remove staples, nails, and surface materials from the wood.

UrbanMachine's hands-free approach to recycling boasts lower carbon emissions and thirteen times less energy to produce than the alternative.


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