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20 Construction Startups with Big Potential

Construction is big business, and it’s on track to becoming even bigger in the coming years. According to an Associated Builders and Contractors report using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information, construction spending is slated to increase by 1.3% in 2021 to a total of $1.45 trillion in the U.S. alone.

In the startup world, companies are emerging to make the lives of AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) professionals easier by improving job site safety, streamlining project communication, opening up job access, and more.

We’ve rounded up 20 construction startups that you need to know about, each with unique missions and impressive search growth numbers.

1. Trade Hounds

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5-year search growth: 5,000%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Funding: $4.9M (Seed)

What they do:

Trade Hounds brings tradespeople and contractors that need to hire skilled workers together through a mobile app interface. The app encompasses a community of 200,000+ tradespeople who gather to highlight their previous achievements, network with others in the industry and find jobs. The company was co-founded by David Broomhead, CEO; Jon Clark, CTO; and Peter Maglathlin, CFO, who combine their knowledge of the trade-working space, technology, and business.

2. Knowify

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5-year search growth: 378%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2012

Location: New York, New York

Funding: $3.6M (Convertible Note)

What they do:

Knowify is a construction management SaaS platform that helps contractors manage their businesses with job costing features, bid/contract creation and management, scheduling functionality, and more. In February 2021, Knowify partnered with prominent eastern electrical supplier United Electric Supply to expand options specifically for United Electric Supply customers.

3. BuildingConnected

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5-year search growth: 800%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2012

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $52.7M (Acquired - previously VC-backed)

What they do:

BuildingConnected offers technology solutions for construction industry professionals to make bidding processes and risk management more efficient. They offer several tools for different industry roles: BuildingConnected Pro to improve bid management; TradeTapp for better risk management; and Bid Board Pro, which helps subcontractors with the bid process. Autodesk acquired BuildingConnected in 2019.

4. Arqlite

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5-year search growth: 2,500%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: Santa Ana, California

Funding: $2.6M (Pre-seed)

What they do:

Arqlite uses recycled plastic materials and a groundbreaking recycling method to turn normally non-recyclable plastics into useful materials for construction and landscaping. Their Arqlite Smart Gravel provides an efficient gravel option that’s lightweight and long-lasting. Arqlite is backed by CEMEX Ventures and other investors and was recently chosen to be part of a startup accelerator from The Heritage Group and Techstars.

5. Plant Prefab

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5-year search growth: 600%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Rialto, California

Funding: $8.6M (Series A)

What they do:

Plant Prefab is a prefabricated home business that prioritizes sustainable builds. They partner with developers, homebuyers, and architects to deliver dwelling places based on a number of existing designs or custom specifications. Dwell, Apartment Therapy, Architect Magazine, and more outlets have recognized Plant Prefab for their green building practices.

6. Buildcon

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5-year search growth: 188%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Belgrade, Serbia

Funding: $125K (Seed)

What they do:

Buildcon offers a mobile app and website platform to handle construction management. Highlights of their platform include real-time data for work tracking, tailor-made accounts for particular business needs, daily project summaries, and more.

7. Airsquire

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5-year search growth: 1,300%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Singapore and Amsterdam, Netherlands

Funding: $558K (Seed)

What they do:

Airsquire aims to cut costs and raise productivity in the construction industry through innovative new technology. They offer AirGo, which gives teams 360-degree views of construction projects, and AirSync, which makes building information modeling (BIM) geometric verification easier. Airsquire, which has locations in The Netherlands and Singapore, is backed by a six-figure investment from venture capitalist firm henQ.

8. Mechasys

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5-year search growth: 5,700%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2018

Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Funding: $2M (Seed)

What they do:

Mechasys is a construction technology company that seeks to eliminate the need for onsite construction plans through a sophisticated laser projection method. The projector could help construction workers complete builds in 40% less time. Currently, in the early stages, Mechasys offers a “Pioneer Program” that will allow interested professionals to be among the first testers of the product.

9. ProperGate

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5-year search growth: 362%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2018

Location: Warsaw, Poland

Funding: $307.8K (Grant)

What they do:

ProperGate helps companies improve onsite construction logistics through a management platform that streamlines communication and notification for building material deliveries. The startup was included in a BESIX Group accelerator and received recognition in PropTech Festival, EUTop50, and more.

10. SpecifiedBy

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5-year search growth: 200%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2011

Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Funding: £585.4K (Seed)

What they do:

SpecifiedBy offers a database that helps architects, designers, and other professionals research, evaluate, and compare different building materials and products and make better decisions. The Edinburgh company saw healthy growth in 2020 with a 125% increase in signups, a 50% increase in traffic, and three new hires.

11. Ekotrope

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5-year search growth: 3,700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2010

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Funding: $4M (Series A)

What they do:

Ekotrope provides an industry-recognized Home Energy Rating System (HERS) software, in addition to providing other construction-related services. Their HERS software, RATER, is used in one of every six U.S. new-built homes and contributes to 280,000 metric tons in annual CO2 savings. Financial backers of Ekotrope include angel investors Tom Rutledge, Tibor Toth, and Eric Silverman.

12. Bosse Tools

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5-year search growth: 3,700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2012

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

Funding: $350K (Seed)

What they do:

Bosse Tools is a company that specializes in outfitting the construction, landscaping, and gardening industries with innovative, ergonomic tools. One of Bosse Tools’ main investors has been Maricopa County Manufacturing Venture Fund, who put down $200,000 in 2014.

13. Faber Technologies

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5-year search growth: 600%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2016

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and San Francisco, California

Funding: $5.2M (Unknown series)

What they do:

Faber Connect from Faber Technologies is a community that helps construction workers find local work and helps construction professionals locate the skilled hires they need for jobs in categories ranging from concrete forming to finish carpentry to painting. Investors in Faber Connect include Alchemist Accelerator, Base10 Partners, 9Mile Labs, and others.

14. Tobly

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5-year search growth: 700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: New York, New York

Funding: $497K (Convertible note)

What they do:

Tobly helps facility managers rent necessary equipment, including forklifts, boom lifts, and scissor lifts. They operate in several cities, including New York City, San Francisco, Miami, Orlando, Chicago, and others, and their customer base includes well-known companies such as Apple, REI Co-op, and more.

15. Safesite

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5-year search growth: 350%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2014

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $225K (Seed)

What they do:

Safesite offers safety management software and a mobile app that helps higher-risk companies improve the way they handle safety and compliance, from incident reporting to digital safety inspections and beyond. Safesite received a number of commendations in 2020, including Software Advice’s “Most Recommended” and Capterra’s “Best Ease of Use.”

16. KEWAZO

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5-year search growth: 3,300%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Garching Bei München, Bavaria, Germany

Funding: €3.6M (Seed)

What they do:

KEWAZO supplies the construction industry with robotic hoists, or elevators, with the main application being scaffolding assembly. Their product LIFTBOT cuts labor costs by 44%, increases safety and is easy and quick to install. In early 2020, the German company raised €2.5M in a funding round fronted by MIG AG.

17. StructionSite

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5-year search growth: 2,700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Oakland, California

Funding: $8.5M (Series A)

What they do:

StructionSite offers a platform that uses machine vision and 360-degree camera technology to help construction professionals revolutionize their production tracking and job site documentation, ultimately upping their efficiency and improving the quality of their bids. StructionSite snagged a sizable $7M investment in their most recent Series A funding round in May 2020.

18. bimspot

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5-year search growth: 4,800%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: Vienna, Austria and Mountain View, California

Funding: Undisclosed

What they do:

bimspot is a BIM management platform that allows project managers, BIM managers, and planners to have access to the same high-quality building information, enabling better communication, smarter decisions, and money and time savings. In 2019, bimspot beat out 39 other finalists and over 230 total entrants to win the Innovation World Cup award for smart building and smart construction.

19. Plannerly

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5-year search growth: 4,600%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Irvine, California

Funding: Undisclosed

What they do:

Plannerly offers software for BIM management that helps AEC industry professionals manage projects and improve communication. Features of their solution include simplified contracting with e-signature, BIM scheduling tools, an easier way to outline project scope based on industry best practices, and more.

20. Rebartek

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5-year search growth: 4,800%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: Søgne, Vest-Agder, Norway

Funding: $250K (Pre-seed)

What they do:

Rebartek delivers custom-designed, robot-made rebar reinforcement cages for construction sites. Rebartek was part of the Norwegian startup incubator Innoventus Sør in 2019 and is backed in part by the European Union’s research program, Horizon 2020. In 2020, Rebartek announced a new location and factory space.

conclusion

By and large, these 20 startups are using technology to transform the way that construction professionals work.

From BIM management platforms like bimspot and Plannerly to job marketplaces like Faber Connect and Trade Hounds to other construction management platforms, these companies aim to rework manual processes and eliminate sources of inefficiency.

With their distinctive approaches to solving common problems, the 20 startups listed here are worth keeping an eye on in 2021 and beyond.

Last Updated: 
April 1, 2021
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.

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