RADAR – Our selection of innovative businesses #85

Texas-based startup GreenLite raises $8 million to speed up the planning permission process. Canadian startup Promise Robotics raises $8 million CAD to automate construction. Airbnb co-founder raises $41 million for pre-fabricated housing concept.

Texas-based startup GreenLite raises $8 million to speed up the planning permission process

What the Texan-based startup GreenLite is promising is very simple on paper: make getting a construction permit fast – whether it’s for commercial or residential project. To do this, its 27-strong team has developed a platform that facilitates communication and exchange between developers and local authorities, with the aim of obtaining the necessary permits up to 75% faster.

Unlike other companies, who focus on providing project management services to either one side or the other, GreenLite is aimed at both links in the chain – developers and local authorities – at the same time. The main challenge lies in breaking down information silos and ensuring that all stakeholders can collaborate transparently during the construction permit process.

The company first launched in Austin in July 2022 and already works with huge franchises, electric vehicle charging station providers and global retailers, mainly in Florida and Texas. For example, the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A estimates that the time taken to obtain construction permits was reduced to a few weeks, compared to the usual average of six to twelve months.

These promising initial results convinced Trust Ventures, LiveOak Ventures and Chicago Ventures to take part in an $8 million seed funding round, as reported by TechCrunch. These funds will enable the startup to increase its presence in new states, as well as recruit new employees for its various teams (product and engineering, sales and customer management).

Canadian startup Promise Robotics raises $8 million CAD to automate construction

The Toronto-based proptech startup Promise Robotics has just completed $20.8 million CAD Series A funding round (the equivalent of $15 million USD). Investors include Horizons Ventures, Radical Ventures, Relay Ventures and Alate Partners, as well as the Public Sector Pension Investment Board and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

Founded in 2021 by Ramtin Attar, former Autodesk R&D director, Promise Robotics has developed a software platform that transforms off-the-shelf industrial robots into ready-to-deploy production systems for the home building industry. The platform’s goal is to help homebuilders use automation on a large scale to address labour shortages and reduce costs, while building housing more sustainably and faster.

Promise Robotics explains that it uses artificial intelligence to analyse a building design to generate a list of instructions for its machines. On the construction site, the robots then work autonomously to produce the building’s components.

Since its creation, the startup has raised $34 million CAD ($25 million USD), as reported by Betakit. It is currently setting up a “micro-factory” in Alberta and plans to establish partnerships with several homebuilders in the near future, with whom it intends to begin marketing its tools.

Airbnb co-founder raises $41 million for pre-fabricated housing concept

Back in 2022, a new startup spun out of Airbnb, led by the company’s co-founder, Joe Gebbia: Samara offers customers the opportunity to install pre-fabricated houses in their backyards – before potentially renting them out on the platform. The startup manages the project from A to Z, from permit application to installation.

Samara’s standardised buildings are entirely factory-produced. This construction method has several advantages, according to the website Fortune: being built in a controlled environment that’s not subject to unpredictable weather, the startup can limit risk, while benefiting from standardised materials and production costs. The company’s first product, called Backyard, costs between $269,000 and $369,000, from studios to two-bedroom apartments, with different customisation options.

For each project, Samara foresees four months to carry out a feasibility study and obtain the necessary planning permits, followed by 30 days to prepare the foundations and utility connections. However, once the pre-fabricated building has been craned into place on its foundation, it only takes an hour and a half to secure it to the ground.

The company has just raised $41 million from Thrive Capital, 8VC, General Catalyst, New Legacy and SV Angel, which will be used to accelerate the design and marketing of these tiny houses. Airbnb, Michael Dell and Airbnb co-founders Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk also participated in the funding round.

There’s more…

French startup A2D raises €500,000 for its exterior infrastructure inspection solution – Read more on Placeco 

Canadian startup Brickeye raises $5 million CAD for its construction site risk management solution – Read more on Betakit

French startup Upcity raises €7 million to deploy its sensors in cities – Read more on Frenchweb

Ensol raises €3 million to develop solar power self-consumption in France – Read more on ADN 

Indian SaaS platform LivSYT raises $2.5 million to digitize on-site construction processes – Read more on Inc42

French startup HelloWatt raises €12 million to combat “thermal sieves” – Read more on Maddyness


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