Amsterdam-based startup VonWood has raised €2.7m (£2.4m) to grow its digital trading platform for wood.
People have been building with wood for millennia, and it remains one of the most versatile construction materials available today. While timber has been largely replaced by concrete and steel over the past hundred years or so, this versatile, low-carbon material is making a come back.
Timber is easy to work with, quick to assemble, and benefits from the lowest embodied C02 of any building material.
VonWood was founded in 2022 with the aim of modernising timber trade and making it more accessible – breathing new life into one the oldest trades on Earth.
Founders David de Jong and Minck Hermans have designed an online trading platform that links wood buyers and sellers, eliminating the need for intermediaries.
By cutting out the middleman, VonWood claims to give better prices to buyers, higher returns for sellers, and more security of supply.
David de Jong, founder and CEO of VonWood, explains: “The timber industry is fragmented with little understanding of origin, quality and working conditions.
“Businesses that buy timber on a large scale have limited control over the supply and therefore run the risk of ceasing their production.
“Sawmills, on the other hand, have little insight into demand, so they produce on the basis of an estimate, often resulting in a surplus or shortage of stock. By directly connecting supply and demand, we want to remove those risks.”
With this latest investment, the startup looks to accelerate the growth of the platform and shake up the traditional supply chain.
The funding round was led by investors Peak, Dutch Founders Fund, Keen and a number of other strategic partners.
Peak co-founder, Johan van Mil, commented: “You need guts to digitise an old market, but it also requires platform-thinking to organise processes more efficiently. VonWood has what it takes to modernise the timber trade using data-driven technology.”
Investor Dutch Founders Fund and co-founder of Just Eat, Laurens Groenendijk, added: “Wood is crucial in construction, but most buyers do not have direct access to the source: the sawmill. VonWood is now changing that. We believe in the team, the product and of course the sustainable impact they make.”
VonWood says it also provides insight into the origin, the quality and sustainability of the wood. In addition to the conventional replanting of FSC-approved wood, they additionally compensate for every transaction on the platform by planting new trees.
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