Getting the required permits for construction can take an excruciatingly long time in many cities — whether it’s for a residential or commercial project.
One new proptech startup is out to make the process much less painful — and faster — for businesses, and has already landed several large customers such as Chick-fil-A, Domino’s and Chipotle. For businesses like these, time is money. So the faster they can get up and running, obviously the more revenue they can generate.
That startup — Austin-based GreenLite — is emerging from stealth today with $8 million in seed funding led by Trust Ventures with participation from LiveOak Ventures and Chicago Ventures. The company claims that its platform accelerates permit approval for city planning by 75% — so that businesses can get permits in a matter of weeks, as opposed to months, or in the worst cases, years.
CEO and co-founder James Gallagher said GreenLite has built software that allows it to “own” the permitting process from start to finish so that it can more accurately predict opening dates and directly respond to comments during plan review. Its platform and team connects developers that want to build and the city agencies that regulate and review construction permits.
“Other companies in the space only service one side – the developer or the city agency – and they have focused on building project management software for either of those sides,” he told TechCrunch via email. “Other companies in the space also have focused on enhancing the permit expediting process, which leverages a local middle-man or consulting firm to facilitate permitting. We aren’t interested in expediting as we don’t consider it scalable.”
Gallagher, a former Gopuff executive, added: “We believe that building one platform that serves all stakeholders on both sides is crucial to solve this problem. If information lives in silos and everyone involved can’t collaborate seamlessly, the permitting process breaks down.”
Besides the large food chain customers it is working with, GreenLite says it works with hundreds of businesses, including five of the top 10 largest global retailers, massive franchises and EV charging networks.
Chick-fil-A in particular had experienced construction permitting timelines that ranged from six-12 months. GreenLite claims it was able to drive construction permitting timelines to weeks.
Founded in July 2022, GreenLite has managed to gain so much traction in a short period of time, Gallagher believes, because the “pain is high and problem is real and expensive – so there’s lots of demand.” He declined to share any specifics around revenue or financials, or the company’s valuation.
He said the 27-person company is planning to use its new capital to grow its go-to-market (sales and customer success) team, expand its product and engineering team and increase its presence in new markets.
Currently, while GreenLite says it supports its customers nationwide, it has a particular focus on Florida and Texas. With the new capital, it will aim to boost its presence in New Jersey, Virginia, Tennessee and California.
Sal Churi, general partner at Trust Ventures, described permitting as a “nightmare.”
“It’s the biggest gating item to building and it’s completely outside of your control. Today permitting means confusing requirements, unexpected delays leading to cost overruns, and zero visibility into the timeline,” he wrote via email. “We invested in GreenLite because their team understands this challenge firsthand. The product gets customers permits in a third of the time, in some cases saving over a million dollars in lost revenue, and increasing transparency. It’s a game changer for architects, engineers, and entrepreneurs.”