Forging a Living Legacy
Room & Pillar’s
The name “Room & Pillar” comes from underground mining, where a room and pillar mine is a method of mining whereby “pillars” of material are left behind as the mine advances to support the weight of the earth above and prevent the mine from collapsing. Mining is our legacy. It’s in our DNA. Lyle Donan, Room & Pillar’s founder, is the third generation in his family to come from mining, only to leverage those lessons to operate, start, and invest in businesses across the ecosystems of PropTech and InsurTech.
Guided by decades of experience, we selectively invest in early-stage InsurTech and PropTech ventures. We prioritize inspiring-values based leadership, palpable enthusiasm, and a clear, customer-acknowledged value proposition. We see potential in market expansion, innovation, and strategic evolution.
Our focus isn't just on past successes or lack of failures; it's about discerning strategic sacrifices and the promise of great potential. At Room & Pillar, we commit not just capital, but also our extensive expertise and network, to accelerate growth and amplify value across the board.
J. Lyle Donan Profile
With a dynamic entrepreneurial spirit spanning beyond two decades, Lyle Donan has been instrumental in the conception and growth of multiple ventures within Forensic Engineering, InsurTech, and PropTech landscapes. Lyle serves on the Board of of Alpine Intel, the powerhouse behind Donan Solutions (previously known as Donan Engineering Co., Inc.), where he provided visionary leadership and transformational growth as the CEO & President for fifteen years. Lyle has demonstrated laser-focus on bringing to market and delivering state-of-the-art services and technologies for property condition evaluations and damage assessments throughout North America.
In 2018, Lyle's passion and commitment to innovation in the property space took form as Room & Pillar. Today, he continues to wear multiple hats—as an entrepreneur, an investor, and a trusted adviser. Lyle's expertise is highly sought after by numerous InsurTech and PropTech enterprises, which thrive at the crossroads of property and casualty, real estate, and interconnected sectors.
into the Trenches
With a dirt under our fingernails mining and forensic engineering lineage dating back to 1947, our hard-won knowledge and experience deliver the best opportunities for startups.
Our name is an important metaphor to our investment thesis. In room and pillar mining, the mine can’t exist without the pillars, which are made of the exact same material as the mine exists to extract. That critical sacrifice – leaving behind the pillars – is a strategic balance. Leave too much material and the mine is wasteful. Take too much and you jeopardize the mine, the miners, and the land above.
At Room & Pillar, we ask entrepreneurs and leadership teams to describe the pillars in their businesses. What competing sacrifices are essential to success, and how do we balance them against needs vs. wants?
Innovation is key to our work. Even in heavily commoditized and competitive landscapes, companies either stand out and grow through differentiated innovation or get lumped in with the rest.
Successful innovators have a combination of courage and discipline. We help entrepreneurs navigate this dynamic, expanding your room without damaging your pillar.
To achieve success early-stage businesses must overcome inherent risks, both known and unknown. The route between where you are and where you’re going is full of perils. We leverage experience from the top of the mountain and in the deepest canyons to help teams navigate opportunities and headwinds with a focus on long term success.
Our investments are deliberate and intentional, aligning with businesses that not only exhibit clear value but are led by individuals who are inspiring and adhere to impeccable moral standards.
InsurTech and PropTech overlap frequently. But knowing when, where, how, and why is key. We delve deep into both industries, identifying the underexplored intersections and leveraging them to maximize customer relationships and business success.
We don’t avoid dirty work. On the contrary, we go out in search of it. It’s here that we identify how customers perceive value, give us candid feedback, and grant us insights that no amount of market research or boardroom conversations will unveil.
Success and failure are nothing new – and we bring both. In fact, we look for both in the people we work with and invest in.
The experience we bring comes from the field – where roofs fail, foundations break, and plumbing leaks. InsurTech and PropTech share the same goals – to deliver more value, and happier investors and occupiers of real estate to those we serve.
As we continue our journey, we invite more businesses, visionaries, and innovators to join us, exploring the depths and potentials that lie within the InsurTech and PropTech realms.
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