The construction sector faces significant challenges today with rising costs and low productivity. In many ways intertwined, startups are responding by creating innovative solutions to tackle some of the oldest working practices. From using sustainable and new materials in construction to additive manufacturing of buildings of all sizes, there exist numerous opportunities for companies. Moreover, advanced analytics, along with drones and the Internet of Things (IoT), tackle the problems prevailing worker safety, productivity, and equipment monitoring.
Top 5 Global Startup Hubs: Construction
Using our StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 1.370.000 startups & scaleups globally, we analyzed the geographic distribution of global activity in the construction sector. We identified 53 regional hubs* that observe high activity in developing technology-driven solutions across the industry like drone-based surveying and imaging, robotics and automation, and advanced analytics, to name a few.
Within the hubs, we analyzed a sample of 1.027 startups and emerging companies employing technology-driven solutions to innovate in the industry. Silicon Valley, London, New York City, Los Angeles, and the Mumbai-Pune region are home to 193 startups* and account for 19% of global construction startup activity. Let us have a look at some of the innovative solutions from these 5 top hubs.
Based on our sample of 1.027 startups, we observe that North America and Europe together are home to more than three-fourths of global activity. Driven by high-tech innovations, the two regions are home to big hubs in Paris, Berlin, and Amsterdam, aside of our top 5 hubs.
Asia observes almost a fifth of global construction startup activity with major hubs in New Delhi, Dubai, and Singapore. China is also a major player in the construction industry along with Australia and New Zealand.
1. Silicon Valley: 52 Startups
Apart from big technology players, startups in Silicon Valley are leading the way for research and development (R&D) into a diverse range of industries. The growth of such incubation results in the cross-industry implementation of different technologies for the construction sector. Construction and real estate technology-driven innovations in this hub include on-site and off-site robotics and 3D printing, building information modeling (BIM), smart sensors, as well as, emerging space-as-a-service (SPaaS) models.
INDUS.AI is a San Francisco-based startup providing construction intelligence by employing artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision. INDUS.AI captures, interprets, and analyzes video streams and time-lapse images and turns them into actionable insights. This system is capable of detecting progress, as well as anomalies. From equipment tracking to labor productivity and safety, the software provides construction companies with the tools to efficiently monitor and operate sites.
1. London: 52 Startups
The city of London faces tough obstacles to growth in the construction sector. A diminishing pool of skilled labor, high construction costs, along with general uncertainty about the impact of Brexit on the sector drives innovation in the region. The Greater London Area is forecast to add thousands of executive and project management jobs in construction over the next few years. The main areas of focus are offsite construction and improving project management.
London-based startup Botmore Technology is working on Conbot, an AI-powered digital assistant for the construction sector. The startup combines data from Conbot, smart sensors at the site, and BIM data to provide construction companies with a single platform to coordinate projects. Moreover, this information is available for companies to review processes and make data-driven decisions on the construction site analytics portal.
3. New York City: 40 Startups
The construction sector in New York City is in good shape, with investments and employment forecast to increase in the medium term. The city is looking towards digital and robotics solutions, for example, drones and augmented reality (AR) for inspection and maintenance of sites or buildings. This hub is also experimenting with offsite construction and 3D printing.
New York City startup DULY creates a cloud-based application for construction sites to improve their day-to-day material management. The Duly app integrates communications related to material requests in a single platform, removing ambiguity and standardizing construction site requests. The app provides real-time notifications of material movement and also provides executives with real-time key performance indicators (KPI) reports relating to material costs. This ensures cost transparency and further helps construction companies to understand ways to improve productivity.
4. Los Angeles: 29 Startups
There is a wide range of innovations from emerging construction companies in Los Angeles. While the local government looks set to improve building energy efficiency and promote the use of BIM tools, startups experiment with various technology-driven solutions. These include offsite construction, smart materials, and additive manufacturing. Another challenge presenting opportunities for technology companies is improving worker safety and productivity.
Operating from Lancaster near Los Angeles, Redworks 3D develops ISAC, short for In-Situ Additive Construction, a 3D printing process. It makes building materials that match the performance of existing masonry, with less energy than making concrete or fired clay brick. The startup is also working on its tabletop T-Series ISAC printers to serve the needs of architects, designers, engineers, and artists, as well as for learning.
5. Pune-Mumbai: 20 Startups
The construction sector in the Pune-Mumbai regional hub is one of the largest in India. Several emerging companies develop software for construction project management and for improving accountability. Despite employing a significant number of people, investments in R&D by big companies remain at the lower end of the scale. Startups offer 3D modeling and people management software to help the industry increase productivity as well as safety.
SuperWise is a Mumbai-based startup that offers project management and reporting software for construction companies. Their range of solutions includes real-time digitization of materials management, labor management, expense management, and enforcing quality and safety standards. The startup also provides productivity tracking and smart construction scheduling that links BIM to other software.
With the growing demand for construction across the world, both in the form of new buildings and redevelopment of infrastructure, companies will try to reduce costs and improve worker productivity and safety with the help of technology. Startups develop innovative solutions ranging from BIM, artificial intelligence, as well as smart materials to construct green and sustainable buildings.
*We define a hub as the regional geographic center of activity for this topic. It covers the center point with a radius of 100km. We define startups as those founded after 2015.