10 contech startups to watch this year

by Sion Geschwindt
10 Contech startups to watch this year

Construction technology or ‘contech’ is changing the way we plan, design, and build structures.

All of today’s biggest players in the industry (Think the likes of Trimble, Autodesk, Bentley Systems, and Procore) started out in much the same way: As startups.

From progress tracking apps and digital twins to autonomous robots and augmented reality, the contech startup ecosystem is booming, with investment at an all time high.

Here are 10 contech startups that we think should be on everyone’s radar this year.

 

Buildots

Buildots uses cameras mounted on hardhats to gather data (credit: Buildots)
Buildots uses cameras mounted on hardhats to gather data (credit: Buildots)

Buildots is an Israel- and UK-based contech startup that streamlines construction progress tracking using artificial intelligence (AI).

Buildots’ software uses cameras mounted on hardhats to gather data, then uses AI to unlock insights from this data – such as errors or parts of the site that don’t correspond with the BIM model.

Earlier this month, the startup raised $60m (£48.3m) in a Series C round led by Viola Growth and O.G. Tech, bringing its total equity funding to over $100m (£80.5m).

Dusty Robotics

Dusty Robotics bags $45m to automate construction plans
Dusty Robotics’ FieldPrinter (credit: Dusty Robotics)

Dusty Robotics’ FieldPrinter solution automates the process of taking digital floor plans onto construction sites by printing them full-size on the floor through a combination of hardware, software, and services.

The company says this helps to eliminate errors, expedite conflict resolution, and significantly reduce the cost and duration of construction.

And investors seem to agree. The California-based startup closed a $45m (£36.7m) Series B round this May, bringing the total amount raised to $67.8m (£55.4m).

Akselos

Digital twin of wind turbines (credit: Akselos)
Digital twin of wind turbines (credit: Akselos)

Akselos is an engineering simulation software company that builds predictive and accurate digital twins of energy assets such as offshore wind turbines and their foundations.

Using patented algorithms developed over 15 years of research at MIT, the startup claims its solution is 1,000x faster and 10x more accurate than the industry standard when modelling large scale assets.

Akselos closed a $16.5m (c.£13.4m) funding round earlier this month, which will allow it to continue its global growth and invest more in its digital twin solutions.

Built Robotics

Fully autonomous machinery (Credit: Built Robotics)
Fully autonomous machinery (Credit: Built Robotics)

Founded in 2016, San Francisco-based contech startup Built Robotics has developed a solution that transforms heavy lifting equipment into autonomous machines.

Built Robotics sells a box that contains a high-powered computer, motion and angle sensors, and a laser scanner called a lidar – commonly used in self-driving cars.

The startup recently dug up $64m (£50,8m) in a Series C round led by Tiger Global, bringing its total funding to $112m (£89m).

Built Robotics’ rental fleet is fully booked into 2023, and orders keep coming in, the company says.

Converge

London-based contech startup Converge bags £15m to decarbonise concrete sector
Founders Raphael Scheps (left) and Gideon Farrell (Credit: converge)

London-based contech startup Converge uses AI-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to help digitise, optimise, and decarbonise construction materials and processes.

The startup’s ConstructionDNA concrete module speeds up build times by up to 30%, driving the transition to carbon efficient concrete.

Just last week Converge raised over £15m in a Series A funding round led by decarbonisation fund OGCI Climate Investments (OGCI CI).

LEKO Labs

Sustainable materials startup LEKO Labs raises $21m and appoints new CEO
LEKO Labs’ robotic construction platform (credit: LEKO Labs)

Luxembourg-based LEKO Labs combines robotics and software to pioneer a ‘carbon negative’ approach to timber-based construction.

The startup recently raised $21m (c.£15.4m) in a Series A funding round and welcomed former Lilium CCO Dr Remo Gerber as its news CEO.

Exodigo

Exodigo's technology can map subterranean assets (credit: Exodigo)
Exodigo’s technology can map subterranean assets (credit: Exodigo)

Israeli startup contech Exodigo has developed a multi-sensor system carried by drones that performs 3D subsurface imaging, then uses AI to map what lies beneath the ground.

The company claims it’s solution is so accurate that it eliminates the need for exploratory excavation, de-risking the discovery process for multiple industries.

Earlier this year, Exodigo raised $29m (£21.2m) in a seed funding round and plans to go commercial this year.

Cosuno

Christoph Berner (left), Fritz Cramer, and Maximilian Seifert (Credit: Cosuno)
Christoph Berner (left), Fritz Cramer, and Maximilian Seifert (Credit: Cosuno)

Founded in 2019 by German entrepreneurs Christoph Berner, Fritz Cramer, and Maximilian Seifert (pictured), Cosuno has developed a SaaS platform that streamlines the often arduous process of procuring and tendering for subcontractors.

The startup claims that by using the platform’s cloud solution instead of email, phone, and Excel spreadsheets, the time saved amounts to about 60% and the profit margin is 18% higher on average. 

This value-add has not gone unnoticed. Cosuno secured $30m (£22m) in a Series B funding round earlier this year, bringing its valuation to $150m (£110m). 

AI Clearing

AI Clearing's drones upgraded to track solar site progress

AI Clearing is a US-based contech startup that delivers autonomous construction progress tracking, generating reports and online dashboards that cover 100% of a site. Their software is powered by a powerful mix of design, schedule, geospatial and drone data.

Backed by VINCI Construction, AI Clearing was selected as one of CEMEX Venture’s most promising contech startups in 2021.

Conxai

German startup Conxai raises €2.7m to expand no-code AI platform

Munich-based contech startup Conxai has developed the first of its kind no-code AI platform for the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry.

Conxai hopes that its solution will help save time, money, and improve the efficiency of the construction process.

In January, the startup raised €2.7m (c.£2.2m) in pre-seed funding to appoint new talents, scale adoption, and broaden the platform’s capabilities.

Main image: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock


Read next: Five ways augmented reality is changing the fabric of construction

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