Amrit Gill talks about recent changes in construction lending and how technology is transforming that space.
Amrit Gill, Global Head of Partnerships, Built Technologies
Amrit has over 15 years of experience in asset management and partnerships and was most recently the VP, Head of Partnerships at Trepp, the leading CRE, CMBS and CLO analytics provider. She also spent 11 years at BlackRock in a variety of roles from institutional sales to risk management. At Built Technologies, she is responsible for expanding the collaboration with new and existing clients, across verticals and products, to help bring Built’s innovative construction finance technology platform to the market. With expertise in both strategic sales and relationship management in both the technology and financial services sectors, Amrit has a keen sense of how national commercial lenders are and are not embracing CRETech and what it will take to make CRETech table stakes in the market. Amrit is also a member of the Association for Financial Technology (AFT) and worked in securities lending and cash management at Barclays Global Investors.
1. Can you give us a brief of your career before Built Technologies?
Prior to joining Built, I served as the Vice President, Head of Partnerships at Trepp, where I helped to expand the company’s extensive partner network. Prior to that, I spent 11 years at BlackRock, where I led business development efforts for a number of institutional financial products.
2. Could you tell us more about your role at Built Technologies?
In my role at Built as the Global Head of Partnerships, I’m constantly looking to grow Built’s network to position the company for growth in the industry through strategic partner collaborations. To develop these partnerships and connections, I leverage my own network in addition to our company’s network to connect with partners working towards the same goal: to digitize the construction and real estate industries. Through our partnerships, Built has been able to improve our product offerings, enhance workflow processes, gather industry insights and better serve our markets.
3. What makes Built unique? How does it stand out from its competitors?
Construction has widely been one of the least digitized industries, notorious for reliance on manual tracking and paper documentation. Construction finance is equally arcane, often managed via siloed legacy point systems and Excel spreadsheets along with manual processing of compliance documents and approvals. Payment cycles can extend more than three months, burdening everyone involved.
Built is the first platform developed specifically to digitize and transform lending and payments for the entire construction finance ecosystem, by providing services that speed draws, contractor payments, and project timelines, all while reducing risk and enhancing portfolio visibility for lenders. Our platform combines workflow automation and collaboration with compliance checks and common payment methods to digitize critical functions in two of the largest economic sectors—construction and financial services. Built has made moves to extend its platform to serve lenders and borrowers in the commercial real estate deal and asset management space, tackling yet another part of the building lifecycle.
On the competitive landscape, no other company offers the tools to fix lending and spending for the entirety of the construction ecosystem the way Built does. We simultaneously provide services that enable all stakeholders in a construction project to get the job done faster and more efficiently than ever before.
4. Can you break out your solutions for our audience?
For banks and lenders, Built for Construction provides a centralized platform for lenders, borrowers, contractors, and inspectors to efficiently manage construction loans, mitigate risks, and manage their entire portfolios, across both construction and other CRE asset management. In addition to lenders, we offer borrowers, contractors, and inspectors a centralized platform combining payments, management, logistics, lien waivers, compliance and more. The platform’s primary goal is to alleviate the stress of construction draws and payments, while simplifying traditionally complex construction management processes.
We also offer services that reduce risk typically associated with funding construction projects by transforming the construction loan origination and administration processes. Built Marketplace has taken operating controls in construction from a series of unpredictable, reactive tasks into a standardized set of processes and risk monitoring that can be acquired directly through the platform. This includes title and inspection searches, project and cost estimates and monitoring of liens and contractors for compliance.
On the payments side, Built Pay eliminates common pain points associated with making and receiving construction payments with a digital payment solution. Our solution simplifies the payment process by providing payors and payees flexibility in their chosen payment methods.
Our solutions include a lien waiver management offering that cuts the lien waiver process in half by digitizing each part, enabling our customers to electronically create, send, track, receive and file lien waivers right from the Built dashboard. Also, our compliance tracking allows stakeholders to manage all important steps in compliance management in one place, helping to guarantee partner compliance. Platform users can send, receive and track lien waivers, gather certificates of insurance, store W-9s, and find any file they need in seconds.
5. What changes have you seen recently in construction lending and what are lenders doing to respond?
The construction industry is notoriously one of the least digitized industries, leveraging siloed management processes that are inefficient and lead to project delays. However, construction lenders are now seeing the value in, and increasingly adopting, construction financing and project management technologies.
These technologies can organize funding, compliance documentation, resource allocation, project timelines, waivers and more into one, centralized online platform. With access to these dashboards, construction lenders receive a clearer, real time view of project status.
6. How do you think technology improves construction lending end-to-end?
Construction requires elaborate documentation, complex workflows, intense loan and waiver application processes, and dozens of other moving parts. In addition, slow payment times with the current lending processes lead to project delays. Manual documentation, payment and management draws focus away from the project itself.
Technology can help to integrate project processes, expedite payments, and streamline workflows to bring the focus back to the project at hand.
Technology can also be hugely helpful in mitigating risk incurred by delays in waivers or errors in compliance documentation. In digitizing critical functions, technology can transform the traditional construction project management process.
7. Built Technologies was named a winner in two categories of the 20th Annual American Business Awards. Can you brief us more about it?
Built was recognized in the Most Innovative Tech Company of the Year for companies with up to 2,500 employees in the overall category and FinTech category.
The two American Business Awards are proof of Built’s innovative offerings and these awards reaffirm what we are working towards – revolutionizing the construction financing space. These awards are also a testament to the hard work and dedication that our employees come to work with every single day.
Built has grown massively since its founding in 2014, and awards like these represent important proof points in Built’s growth journey.
8. Tell us a bit about your culture. What makes Built’s culture unique?
Built makes it a priority to provide top tier service to customers, while ensuring employees are empowered. In fact, Built was recently named to The Tennessean’s Top Workplaces of 2022 list. Our people and our partners are core to our company’s success; revolutionizing an industry takes talent, and we never take our team for granted. Built was founded on key guiding principles that encourage our teams to Think Big, Obsess Over Customers and Build Great Teams, among other pillars. We take pride in the open, honest, and constructive environment that we have built. And, there is a lot of energy and excitement here.
Recruiting has been a key area of focus in 2022, a part of our dedication to make great talent decisions. In 2022, we’re projected to double our 2021 headcount. We take the hiring process very seriously, with the intention of ensuring there is a great fit for our new employees at Built.
Built offers its employees unique benefits, including:
● Uncapped paid time off in addition to 6 company holidays and 6 ‘lite’ holidays
● Flexible working hours
● Hybrid work options
9. What are Built’s plans for expansion and growth? Top priorities for 2022?
I’ve come to join the Built team at a very exciting time in the company’s history, prior to our $1.5 billion valuation after our Series D round last September. As Built continues to grow, so do our partnerships and relationships. Built partners with 190 banks including 30+ of the top 50 US banking institutions, and we expect to grow this list significantly throughout the year.
Similarly, Built is expanding its relationships with construction companies and vendors to streamline their payment, compliance, and project management processes.
With such rapid company growth, we are also building up our teams. In the month of June, we have onboarded at least 1 employee for every day. Our goal is to double our 2021 headcount by the end of 2022. Doing this successfully is a top priority for the company.
10. In your opinion, what are the most exciting topics in FinTech right now? How do you keep up with the constantly changing landscape?
The FinTech landscape is ever evolving. Right now, there is a lot of activity in the need to automate and streamline processes that were once manual and inefficient. The solutions entering the marketplace solve for all types of industries – insurance, wealth management, construction, real estate, marketing and retail. It is vitally important to network, join associations, attend conferences but one of the most important elements is collaboration. Being in partnerships, I am always thinking about how to make the end-users experience better, what new companies are out there that will allow for my clients to benefit from an integration or collaboration. We have seen volatility in the market but one constant is innovation.
Quite frankly, the construction industry is difficult and slow to change. It is the second least digitized industry in the world, next to agriculture. Old, inefficient lending and management processes delay projects and increase cost. Difficult, complex paperwork leads to errors in compliance and expired waivers and insurance.
However, other industries that have adopted and invested in technology are reaping the benefits, operating faster and at higher capacity than ever before. That’s exactly why we’re here. Built is looking to transform the construction financing industry and usher it into the future.
11. Where do your passions lie? What do you think defines you as a person?
Always an interesting question, but I love to learn and I love to travel. At Built, I am able to weave those two passions together – I am always learning about new elements of the market, new pain points, new platforms, and those solutions are all over the world in all size cities. There are always new forums in which to learn and it is always helpful if they are in a beautiful location.
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