Local Construction Tech Startup zlien Raises $5M To Make Mechanics Lien Rights Easy

NEW ORLEANS – Company reps with zlien, the cloud-based platform that makes it easy to manage mechanics lien rights, announced that the company has raised $5 million in growth equity in a round led by Altos Ventures.

         zlien is reshaping the construction industry’s messy payment process by delivering a 21st-century solution to managing mechanics lien rights, which are integral to every project and payment processed in the industry, company reps said. zlien’s cloud-based web application brings together all project stakeholders, from contractors and suppliers to developers and lenders, to exchange lien waivers, construction notices, and information.

         “We’re building a fair construction payment ecosystem that everybody can trust,” says zlien founder and CEO Scott Wolfe, Jr. “Everybody on a project wants to trust one another, but the risks of failure and delay are expensive, and stakeholders are handcuffed to a mountain of protection positions. We’re shifting the paradigm in the industry from protection first to collaboration first.” zlien enables parties to collaborate and easily manage lien security by facilitating preliminary notice and lien waiver exchanges.”

         Company reps said over the past few years, zlien has become the industry's leading lien rights solution, with its platform touching over 300,000 projects annually worth billions of dollars in construction contract value.

         The investment by Altos will allow zlien to expand its sales and marketing teams to increase adoption across the industry, they said, and to continue building its software and innovating around the complex construction payment process.

         Altos Ventures’ Managing Director, Ho Nam, joins the zlien board of directors with this round of funding.

         “We see that industry participants are hungry for technology that will fuel growth and productivity,” said Nam. “zlien is innovating in an area – lien and bond claim security – that is saddled with manual processes and antiquated service providers. We were impressed with zlien’s vision to unify the entire chain of construction participants, and to build a more trusting environment that facilitates successful projects and payments.”

         Recent activity confirms that the construction technology space is heating up. CB Insights, the business analysis platform, in June reported that construction tech funding grew 5x in 2015 and listed zlien as one of 31 leading tech startups in the industry. Leading venture funding in this space is Darren Bechtel and his Brick & Mortar Ventures, which is investing in zlien for a second time with the company’s most recent round.

         “The construction payment process is too messy,” said Bechtel. “zlien is doing more than helping companies manage lien rights. They’re making it easier for companies to communicate and to trust one another, so that they can talk with each other about getting projects completed, and not have to worry about complex document exchanges.”

         The fundraising round also includes participation from investors Knollwood Investment Advisory, Operating Venture Capital, and Cajun Kiwi Investments.

         "This investment validates the Greater New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem and our great local companies like zlien," said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “Altos’ investment in zlien continues the trend of East and West Coast capital finding new opportunities in Greater New Orleans, and will surely lead to additional investment and growth in our region."

         Since 2008, zlien has been an active participant in New Orleans, generating financial and operational support from organizations such as The Idea Village, New Orleans Startup Fund, and Greater New Orleans, Inc.

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