Data-driven construction reporting company Buildots this week announced it raised $16 million, a combination of a $3 million seed round and a $13 million series A. Cofounder Roy Danon says it’ll be used to scale and improve the company’s products as Buildots expands to new regions around the world.
Large construction projects — which some countries have allowed to continue during the pandemic — still rely on tedious manual record-taking by project managers. These managers are often responsible for keeping tabs on countless tasks in addition to the progress of dozens (or more) contractors. Some analysts say the intractable logistical challenges lead 98% of megaprojects to suffer cost overruns of more than 30%; making matters worse, 77% are at least 40% late, it’s estimated.
McKinsey claims improving “basic” project-management skills offers the most potential for improving site performance, and that’s what Buildots purports to do — with a technological twist. The U.K.- and Israel-based company, which was founded in 2018 by Danon, Aviv Leibovici, and Yakir Sundry, all graduates of the Israeli Defense Forces’ Talpiot unit, aims to provide a solution that turns construction sites into fully digitized environments.
Buildots customers volunteer access to schedules and designs, after which an AWS-hosted engine maps all files to generate a construction program. The company delivers 360-degree cameras designed to be mounted to construction hard hats, which capture video that Buildots’ algorithms automatically analyze, aggregate, and compare to determine the status of construction activity.
Buildots’ AI detects camera wearers’ locations at any given physical point — in the event they miss an area, the system flags it so they’re able to cover it on their next inspection. According to Danon, the algorithms have learned to recognize construction sites by training on an enormous amount of data, and they’re also augmented with manual analysis during the initial weeks of a project.
Through online dashboards, emails, and SMS, construction teams receive reports and insights regarding aspects of processes. A project view shows a completion percentage next to tracked jobs and identifies the most urgent issues, including partially-finished activities and potential errors (for example, an electricity socket installed a few inches from where it should be). Buildots’ analysts optionally run additional queries and reports for insights into each site and company.
To protect privacy, Buildots says it automatically blurs out people, device screens, and documents. For European clients, the company stores and processes data on servers within the EU to fully adhere to personal data and security regulations.
Buildots competes with companies like HoloBuilder and OpenSpace, which similarly offer camera-based, AI-powered construction site reporting solutions. But Buildots says it counts among its clients two of the ten largest construction companies in Europe, as well as the largest Israeli construction firm. It plans to make its product available in the U.S. this coming year.
TLV Partners led the financing rounds in Buildots with participation from Innogy Ventures, Tidhar Construction Group, and individual investors Ziv Aviram, Zvika Limon, Benny Schnaider, Avigdor Willenz, and Gil Geva. The company has 35 employees across its offices.