SoftBank-backed Katerra co-founder leaves company’s board

Fritz Wolff is maintaining an advisory role at the firm, which has been facing increased scrutiny

Fritz Wolff (Credit: Katerra)
Fritz Wolff (Credit: Katerra)

One of Katerra’s co-founders and board members has quietly left the construction tech startup amid reports of layoffs and abandoned projects.

Fritz Wolff, who also heads his family’s eponymous private equity firm, the Wolff Company, is no longer a board member but “maintains an advisory role as a co-founder of Katerra,” a company spokesperson confirmed on Monday. Wolff disappeared from Katerra’s website sometime in the past month. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

The SoftBank-backed company, as with the conglomerate’s other investments that have not yet turned a profit, has been facing heightened scrutiny in the wake of WeWork’s botched initial public offering. The Information reported last month that Katerra — based in the San Francisco Bay Area — pulled out of at least half a dozen apartment and hotel projects in the U.S. this year and laid off more than 100 employees. And in the last four years the firm has run through three CEOs and is on its third CFO.

Last year, Wolff told the Journal of Business that his family’s firm and Katerra planned to build thousands of apartments in the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area of Washington state and Idaho over the next few years. He referred to Katerra as a “servicer” that worked on Wolff’s pipeline of investments. He also said that the Wolff Company would serve as a customer of Katerra’s newly-opened cross-laminated timber factory in Spokane. A spokesperson for Katerra said the company continues to work on projects with Wolff.

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Katerra, which has a rumored valuation of more than $4 billion, bills itself as a tech company that serves as a construction supplier, builder and designer. The company, which has received more than $1 billion from SoftBank, has seen considerable executive turnover since launching in 2015. The company has had three CEOs and is now on its third chief financial officer.

Last month, CEO and co-founder Michael Marks told The Real Deal that if the company goes public, it would do so sometime in or after 2021.