Earlier this summer Architizer, the online website focused on architecture and design, announced that it had received another round of investors for its new Architizer Source marketplace. This news followed a story we wrote back in May where we interviewed Marc Kushner, co-founder of Architizer, about Source and the company’s plans with it.
As Kushner said in our interview, as an architect, “you shouldn’t have to get on the phone to start shopping around for windows, right? And then get these phone calls for the rest of your life.”
Kushner, who spoke about the state of architecture today in an engaging TED talk, believes firmly that social media is changing how people consume architecture and that the architecture industry needs to adapt to survive and stay relevant.
Like-Minded Spirits Sign On
Working off a base of Series S investors from SHoP Architects, Gary Hanel, and August Capital, Architizer announced in June a new round of investors signed on including Bjarke Ingels (of Bjarke Ingels Group), J. Mayer H., Wendy Evans Joseph, and WORKac, as well as innovative developers Ironstate and Katerra.
Like the first investors, this second group is betting on Architizer Source to revolutionalize the way architects choose the products they need for their buildings. Source brings consumer marketplace dynamics to the $100 billion-a-year architecture-product market by introducing pricing transparency, more accurate ways to search for products, and a superior way to communicate between architects and manufacturers. These core innovations help architects do their jobs smarter and at a greater pace.
Since launching in January of 2016, over $3 billion worth of projects have used the platform executing over $200 million worth of product searches. Some of the leading architects in the US are using the new online system, including WEISS/MANFREDI, Studio Gang, and others.
Manufacturers in the system Source marketplace include companies like ASSA ABLOY, Hunter Douglas, Herman Miller and others.
To learn more about Source go here.
- Architizer’s Source marketplace concept has a very good chance of exceeding its wildest expectations for several reasons, chief among them is it addresses its core audience’s clear pain-points. Searching the web is a poor way to find products for buildings. Some of the most qualified manufacturers in the world don’t even show up on the first results page of a solid web search. Here’s a perfect example. If I search for the best custom wood windows in a search like, “best custom wood windows” or “premium custom wood windows” or “superior custom wood windows” essentially none of the absolutely premier custom wood window manufacturers show up. Where is Duratherm? Where is Tischler? Where is Zeluck or Tradewood? As an architect in practice who specifies some of these companies, I can attest that a Google search is quote often a very poor way to find what you are really looking for.
- Pain-points aside, another reason why Architizer Source may also succeed is it fundamentally upends the whole material spec process. And it does so in a way that can stimulate innovation in products—a very good thing for the industry.
- But there are negatives too. Like Apple’s iTunes Music Store, a closed-off and fully controlled ecosystem, if Architizer Source becomes incredibly popular to the point where it has cornered the market, product manufacturers who succeed inside it may be the ones who have the best financial relationship with Source itself, while smaller upstarts may find themselves fighting against impossible headwinds and entrenched leaders. Keeping Source democratized, merit-based, and vendor friendly as the platform grows in its influence will be a challenge and it may run up against the charges some have slung at Apple’s dominant music market place. This likely will not happen however if other players, like Dodge’s Sweets Online, emulate a similar model and compete with Architizer on its own terms.