Vancouver’s Nexii Building Solutions becomes fastest-ever Canadian unicorn

The company is worth more than $1 billion after two-and-a-half years.

Credit: Nexii

Nexii is Vancouver’s latest unicorn company

The company is worth more than $1 billion after two-and-a-half years

Gregor Robertson sums up the journey that Nexii Building Solutions has taken in five simple words. “It’s been quite the ride,” he says with a chuckle and a pause, before adding two more. “So far.”

It has indeed. Michael and Ben Dombowsky started tinkering with ideas for the green construction outfit and its pioneering technology in Saskatchewan more than a decade ago.

But Nexii didn’t officially launch until 2019, and when Robertson—the former mayor of Vancouver and now executive vice-president—joined the business that year, it only had a handful of employees.

Today, the company—now based in Vancouver—announced a new funding round led by multinationals Honeywell International and Trane Technologies that brings its total equity raised to $125 million and gives it a valuation of $1.55 billion across some 1,000 shareholders. Vancouver’s latest (and, according to Nexii, the country’s fastest-ever) tech unicorn also has a lot more staff—in the 350 range.

“The growth is exponential these days,” says Robertson, noting that things really started to speed up with Nexii’s acquisition of Vancouver-based Omicron in July.

Nexii now has plants opening throughout North America at a rapid pace, according to Robertson. The latest capital infusion will play a role in that growth, with eight facilities operating or in development, including one in Pennsylvania slated to break ground this fall. That’s also when the company begins construction on Nanaimo’s Marriott Courtyard hotel.

Credit: Nexii

Nexii helped construct this Starbucks in Abbotsford, which is expected to reduce the store’s usual carbon emissions by 30 percent

“It’s our people at the core that are driving this success, coupled with our breakthrough innovation on manufacturing green buildings at speed,” Robertson says.

“That combo of great people and breakthrough tech is what’s enabling a Vancouver startup to disrupt one of the biggest industries globally,” he adds. “Our big goal is to be the first global brand for buildings—it’s one of the world’s largest industries but doesn’t have major global brands—and the most successful Canadian export company.”