RADAR – Our selection of innovative businesses #62

A French Bordeaux startup raises €1 million euros to launch Boby, a software suite for construction workers. AICrete, a California-based sustainable and AI concrete startup raises $4 million in seed funding. Holcim looks to 3D concrete printing with an investment in Cobod.

A French Bordeaux startup raises €1 million euros to launch Boby, a software suite for construction workers

The French Bordeaux-based startup Boby, hosted by the incubator Unitec, has just launched its software dedicated to the construction world. Based on a Saas offer marketed between 49 and 79 euros per month, it combines ERP and CRM to optimize construction site and schedule management, process invoices and quotes, and monitor customer relations. The tool is primarily aimed at tradesmen and construction sector SMEs with zero to 49 employees. According to Sud Ouest, this market represents 2 million users in France and 27 million in Europe.

The startup aspires to become the equivalent of what Doctolib has managed to do in the medical field, that is, create the go-to tool for the construction sector. The platform’s innovations include its self-service pre-quote function, whereby customers can create an estimate of their work themselves, before booking an appointment with the tradesman. The calculation is made using artificial intelligence. A factoring solution with blockchain transaction security is planned for 2023.

Boby relies on these features to attract customers, which allows construction professionals to save time, while offering an offbeat style and humorous approach in terms of its communications. Two UX/UI designers were integrated into the team very early on to optimize the user experience and make it easier for non-digital natives to use. The company has just completed its first fundraising round, receiving €1 million from business angels. Its founders anticipate a new fundraising round next year and plan to have around 30 employees in early 2023.

AICrete, a California-based sustainable and AI concrete startup raises $4 million in seed funding

For its first funding round, the startup AICrete has just raised $4 million from Clear Ventures, VoLo Earth Ventures andCortical Ventures, as well as an unnamed leading industry manufacturer. Based in Silicon Valley since 2020, this construction tech startup has set itself a mission: to reduce the cost and environmental impact of concrete mixes, by doubling the profitability of ready-mixed cement producers, while reducing their CO2 emissions.

To achieve this, AICrete is developing a recipe-as-a-service approach, in which mixture recipes are determined using artificial intelligence algorithms rather than intuition. As such, designed mixtures can be optimized in a few hours according to the objectives and properties sought. The startup’s tools test different raw materials combinations to achieve a client’s goals, while minimizing cost and CO2 emissions. According to AICrete, this method would enable concrete producers to reduce their carbon footprint by up to 35%.

The amount raised will be used to improve the startup’s algorithms and accelerate testing in partnership with concrete producers in the US.

Holcim looks to 3D concrete printing with an investment in Cobod

The cement manufacturer Holcim has just announced its investment in COBOD International, a leader in 3D construction printing. This investment follows on from a collaboration which began in 2019, resulting in various joint projects such as 3D printed wind turbine bases for GE, and the first 3D-printed school in Malawi.

Based in Denmark with regional offices in Miami, USA, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, COBOD International has around 100 employees worldwide. The startup has developed a turnkey 3D construction printing solution with a range of multifunctional robotics, a proprietary software suite, materials and associated services.

This investment should allow Holcim to expand its TectorPrint range of 3D printing inks based on cement and natural hydraulic lime. They are used as a mortar for constructing residential buildings and complex infrastructure. In addition to Holcim, COBOD International also counts Peri Group, Cemex and GE among its shareholders.

What do we do?

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.