AI Investments Take Center Stage In Built World VC Market

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a seemingly pervasive technology in a matter of months, with the launch of ChatGPT catalyzing a FOMO-fueled investor rush into AI-supported applications.

ChatGPT, which managed to accumulate 1 million users in its first 5 days of operations and has now reached 1.9 billion, has instantiated this technology into the future of modern civilization.

Even the paper-trailing AEC space has been forced to put artificial intelligence into its innovation initiatives shifting the primary focus among the built world’s leading venture investors from “ease-of-implementation/use” to AI (specifically generative AI).

Over the past 3.5 years, venture investors in the built environment have funded over $3B in AI-enabled startups. The nascency of this investment niche can’t be overstated, however, the increasingly evident exponential nature of this tech has pushed AI to the forefront of corporate and investor strategies.

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What This Could Mean For The Built Environment

We remain in the early innings of AEC-tech adoption, but the increasingly ubiquitous recognition (from the jobsite to the boardroom) of the competitive need to leverage operationally augmenting solutions has materially accelerated corporate startup funding (corporate venture capital or CVC), with 1/3rd of 2023 venture deals in the built ecosystem being led by a CVC (compared to <10% over the same period in 2022).

Data will be the key to AI’s success in the built world, with over 95% of construction data going unused according to FMI, causing this industry to lose roughly $2B annually.

AI will be leveraged to structure and organize the decades of unstructured project data, and ultimately improve the building planning process — optimizing estimations, budgeting, risk mitigation, bid management, change management processes, etc.

The more comprehensive and relevant a company's digital datasets are the more effective the corresponding AI-enabled solutions will be, and the planning phase of construction will be where the real magic happens. This will save AEC organizations countless hours on the site by avoiding time-consuming reworks, ensuring equipment/materials/ are in the right place at the right times, and making the impossible possible - keeping a project on schedule and under budget (something that ~90% of projects fail to achieve).

Augmenta AI

$11.75 | Seed + | 6/21/2023

Investors: Led by Eclipse with participation from Hazelview Ventures, BDC Capital’s Deep Tech Venture Fund, and Suffolk Technologies

The company intends to use the funds to double its team over the next nine months across engineering, sales, and support, and implement commercial pilots with several electrical engineering firms that are currently participating in its formalized feedback program.

Led by Francesco Iorio, CEO, Augmenta is a software company that works for the construction industry by automating building design. Its flagship Augmenta Construction Platform (ACP) accelerates the time it takes to detail and estimate designs, eliminates costly redesign and rework, and reduces overall risk. It also ensures buildings are designed to be energy efficient, use sustainable materials, are safer to build, and contribute less waste to landfill during construction.

Once available commercially, this innovative new cloud-based platform – which uses artificial intelligence, including machine learning and mathematical optimization – will enable contractors and engineers to create error-free, constructible, code-compliant designs of buildings and systems in hours instead of weeks.

The company is on track to commercialize the Electrical System Design (ESD) module of its Augmenta Construction Platform (ACP) in Q1 2024. The ESD module generates fully constructible, code-compliant designs of electrical raceway routing for electrical engineers and contractors. The company is also planning to expand into adjacent markets with the development of plumbing and mechanical modules.