Report on construction tech startup pitches

Leonard, the VINCI Group’s innovation platform, is contributing to building the cities and infrastructure of the future through its entrepreneurship paths. Its Seed and Catalyst programmes have been helping early-stage startups get off the ground and the most advanced innovative companies expand since 2019. To wrap up the “Revolution in Construction? Builders 4.0, get ready!” round table during the third Building Beyond festival, five startups on these programmes spoke about how they are building the future of construction tech.

Converge – Raphael Scheps (CEO)

Converge is aiming to build a more efficient and more sustainable future by digitalising construction. This startup interlinks artificial intelligence with sensors collecting and merging environmental, business, BIM and other data about the worksite and the materials used at it. Merging this miscellaneous data generates actionable information that the people on the project can use to optimise productivity.

Converge focuses principally on concrete, the staple at most construction sites nowadays. Its first product, Concrete DNA, monitors concrete curing using sensors on the steel frames. These sensors send information about the temperature conditions, moisture conditions and compressive strength over a wireless network. It has designed a specific sensor, Converge Signal, which is embedded in the concrete and connects to a mobile app to send information about the concrete’s behaviour.

Converge is the first company to develop AI to predict concrete strength.

Modulous – Chris Mortensen (CEO)

Modulous is a startup aiming to alleviate the chronic worldwide shortage of housing by using digital technologies to redefine the way homes are made.

Its goal is to facilitate swift delivery of high-quality, long-lasting and affordable homes, using a fast-tracking platform. This automated platform digitises the home design process by integrating all the standardised components, while factoring in local construction codification and contractors’ briefs. That way, it can generate thousands of possible projects and then probe each one’s ROI and feasibility. The technical data can be integrated before it is exported to the BIM system to finalise the project.

In a housing crisis and in a situation where productivity is imperative, Modulous sees its solution as an opportunity for the sector to shorten construction timeframes by 6 to 18 months. This startup is working on 5 pilot projects in the United Kingdom, where the goal is to hand over 40,000 homes over 5 years, and is looking into an opportunity in Berlin, involving 100,000 homes over 10 years.

Voyage Control – James Swanston (CEO) 

Voyage Control was originally designed for events but branched into the construction industry in 2015. This digital solution initially supported last-kilometre logistics around worksites but later grew to encompass resource allocation and inventory control.

The software provides a full view of deliveries approaching the worksite in order to minimise inefficiency in the scheduling process, ease congestion and manage resources efficiently. Next year, Voyage Control is planning to stretch beyond delivery management and inventory control to cover the entire supply chain.

SafeAI – Brenton Welford (VP)

This American startup based in Silicon Valley specialises in automating mining and construction vehicles. Autonomous driving technology and advanced artificial intelligence enable machine owners to transform their existing assets into autonomous ones. This tool is designed to improve productivity and simplify machine use. The startup’s cutting-edge technology supports autonomy in mixed-fleet sites where machines from different manufacturers, human-driven vehicles and autonomous ones work side by side.

Research into autonomous machinery dates back 15 years, but only 3% of the mobile machines in the mining industry are autonomous today. This is due to the high costs and low investment. Using less expensive sensors, SafeAI has managed to break into a fiercely competitive market and speed up the transition in the mining and construction sectors. – Ohad Snir (VP) a was founded to address several recurring problems in the construction sector including lack of visibility, budget overruns, unstructured processes and, more than anything else, lack of data.

It is possible to connect to a worksite remotely, explore a 360° view of it and spot mistakes. This platform uses virtual engineers that monitor the construction process. The system examines every nook and cranny in the worksite and flags potential problems before they cause trouble. Ultimately, the platform promised to enable contractors to reliably deliver high-quality projects on time and on budget.

If you haven’t read it yet, our report on the “A construction revolution? Builders 4.0, get ready!” round table is on Construction21 France!

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The VINCI Group created Leonard to tackle the challenges posed by the transformation of regions and lifestyles. Our goal is to unite a community of key stakeholders in order to build the city of the future together.