Modular construction specialist Assembly OSM raises $38 million
The resounding failure of the startup Katerra has not deterred entrepreneurs and investors from betting on modular construction. The American startup Assembly OSM is the latest example to date, which has just raised $38 million to develop its construction concept based on prefabricated elements. Assembly OSM claims that its buildings can generate 30-40% fewer carbon emissions during construction than traditional buildings and that its construction sites cut emissions by 60-70%.
The company describes its production method as “post-modular”, as it’s inspired more by the automotive and aeronautical construction industries than by traditional modular construction. It relies on an extensive network of subcontractors and suppliers, and doesn’t try to integrate everything so as to offer more flexibility and customization options.
Since it was founded in 2019, the startup has raised more than $60 million. Investors include Fifth Wall and Bessemer Venture Partners, as well as Jefferies Group, Manta Ray Ventures, FJ Labs, RSE Ventures, Signia, Gaingels, New Vista Capital, Tectonic, Atento and Moving Capital.
These funds will allow the startup to develop its online platform and initiate its first real estate projects, starting with residential projects in New York. In the long term, Assembly OSM believes that its solution can also be applied to constructing hotels, health centres, industrial buildings and offices.
Nexii raises $35M with its eco-friendly modular construction solution
Another promising modular construction startup, Canada’s Nexii, has just raised $35 million at a valuation of $1.6 billion from Horizon Technology Finance and Trinity Capital. The company, which was founded the end of 2018, became a unicorn after raising $45 million in September 2021, 31 months after its creation – a Canadian record! A total of $155 million was raised through seven successive rounds.
Nexii’s patented construction system involves the mass production of pre-fabricated panels for walls, floors and roofs in an offsite factory, followed by rapid on-site assembly. In addition to its own software, the company relies on augmented reality to review the assembly of the various elements prior to construction on site. The precast panels are made of an in-house concrete called Nexiite, which is said to reduce carbon emissions by 20 to 36% compared to traditional Portland cement.
Nexii already has 400 employees and two factories in Canada, as well as a production site in the US. To accelerate its growth, the company plans to franchise its building panel solution to local manufacturers, who will produce and market Nexii building products regionally. Local manufacturers will pay licensing fees to the company and a percentage of revenue from product sales.
Michelin acquires a start-up specialising in the analysis of road imagery
RoadBotics, a Pittsburgh-based startup specialising in the digitization of road infrastructure, has just announced its acquisition by Michelin. The startup uses AI and machine learning to transform visual data into maps, from images and videos captured by smartphones attached to vehicle windscreens.
Its customers are local governments, which use this information to improve their road infrastructure and ensure maintenance. Two hundred and fifty local authorities in 14 countries are already using the company’s solution, which has 35 employees.
Created in 2016 at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, RoadBotics had raised $11.4 million in funding. The acquisition amount remains undisclosed. Following the acquisition, the startup’s technology will be integrated into its services platform called Michelin DDi (Driving Data to Intelligence), which is dedicated to analysing data relating to human driving behaviour. The integration will initially be rolled out in the US, before a second phase across Europe.