Grab your glass, put some holiday music in the background, and join us in this trip down memory lane as we remember the highlights of this year!
Tis´ the season for celebration! As we do every December when it´s almost time to do the countdown and welcome the new year, we like to take a look at our last 12 months and cheer for all the good things that happened during this time.
2021 was a record-breaking year for the Contech ecosystem. What seemed almost impossible to imagine 10 years ago, today is a reality. Investment in construction technology surpassed the $4.5 billion USD invested worldwide, with over 200 funding rounds in the ranks, and the most acquisitions ever reported for the sector. For context, this is way more than the previous record, which was $1.8 billion USD in 2018.
As for us, we set some records of our own as well, with 2021 representing the year where we announced the most investments in startups, propelled collaboration with many partners in the environment, and continued positioning ourselves as a go-to CVC in the ecosystem.
Let´s dive in on memory lane and take a look at what 2021 brought for CEMEX Ventures!
Investments, partnerships & more!
- Modulous: the gold medalists of Construction Startup Competition 2020 have had an incredible year, and we are proud to be part of it. After their incredible journey in the competition, we announced our participation in two investment rounds of the English startup who offers a disruptive offsite construction system, enabled by a digital platform, that allows for the high-speed delivery of quality, sustainable and affordable homes. Modulous, a direct response to the housing needs in the big cities, also celebrated their expansion into the United States.
- Carbon Clean: the startup developed a carbon capture and separation technology that has positioned them as global leaders in the industry. Their scalable modular technology can provide carbon capture at a 10 times smaller installation footprint and 6 times shorter build time, adding up to 50% savings in capital expenditures associated with carbon capture. After signing a collaboration agreement with them, and jointly receiving a grant from the Department of Energy of the United States, Carbon Clean joined our investment portfolio to help us achieve CEMEX´s net-zero ambition by 2050.
- Soil Connect: the US digital marketplace focused on the soil and aggregates industry helps solve the high costs and inefficiencies associated with the transport and management of these and other materials. Besides announcing our investment in the startup, who helps foster digitization and sustainability through better waste management, we are also did a pilot project with them to better develop the solution and help in its market expansion.
- Voyage Control: one of the winners of Construction Startup Competition 2020 joined our portfolio this year! The UK-based startup offers a digital platform to help construction logistics and on-site coordination with an end-to-end solution that can reduce delays, waste, and cost overruns caused by inefficiencies in the construction materials delivery process.
- Synhelion: the Swiss startup aims to decarbonize the cement manufacturing process by replacing fossil fuels with a solar-based and fully compatible alternative. By using high-temperature solar heat, the startup can capture 100% of the carbon emissions in the process and help close the fuel carbon cycle in the cement manufacturing.
- SAALG: we increased our participation in the Spanish company who´s part of our portfolio since 2018. The engineering and software startup predicts the ground´s behavior in real time during a project´s execution cycle. With this investment, SAALG seeks to become the industry´s global standard and develop new functionalities in their software to make more efficient the entire lifecycle in great scale civil works.
We also celebrated Energy Vault´s announcement of going public in the New York Stock Exchange through a PIPE Agreement featuring us and several other investors. The startup is part of our investment portfolio since 2019 and provides an answer to the increasing demand of clean energy. They developed a sustainable energy storage solution that´s gravity based, designed to be cost-efficient, reliable, and safe to operate.
Great news came in for Wallex as well, our joint venture company focused on design and engineering, manufacturing, and on-site installation of offsite panelized and self-supporting construction systems. The company inaugurated its first factory in Spain, setting a precedent for the industry in the country and promoting industrialized construction.
These investments tackle sustainability pain-points in its own way, from reducing carbon emissions in materials transport, to better waste and resource management, use of clean energy, or carbon capture solutions. This allows us to help CEMEX in their Future in Action initiative, with the aim to continue developing low-carbon products and be a net-zero CO2 company by 2050.
Likewise, these are a clear response to Goal 17 of the United Nations´ Sustainable Development Goals: Partnerships for the Goals. At CEMEX Ventures, we know that reducing the environmental impact from the industry and promoting a more productive and innovative sector will take an army of colleagues working together. Therefore, we have taken it upon ourselves to declare SGD 17 as our main target, benefitting in this way both CEMEX and the entire industry. With our initiatives we also help tackle the main targets set by CEMEX.
But wait, there´s more!
Construction Startup Competition 2021
For the fifth year in a row, we celebrated Construction Startup Competition. On this edition, we were glad to have on board the global leaders in the industry who joined the challenge in 2020: Ferrovial, Hilti, NOVA by Saint-Gobain and VINCI Group´s Leonard. More so, we welcomed two new players in the mix, Dysruptek by Haskell and GS Futures, who made this competition have an even broader international reach.
As we´ve seen in previous years, the level of quality in the participants continued to rise, with more startups accepting the challenges that come from the industry´s pain points and developing solutions that can help us foster a construction revolution. For 2021, we looked for solutions that tackled carbon footprint mitigation, supply chain management, efficient jobsite and built environment, advanced building materials, and new construction methods.
From the hundreds of participants, we selected 10 winners to participate in the Pitchday during Builtworlds Venture Conference in Miami, Florida.
- AI Clearing(United States)- SaaS platform that integrates seamlessly several data sources into BI systems to provide digital insights.
- Document Crunch(United States)- AI-powered software to identify and explain critical issues in construction contracts.
- hyperTunnel(United Kingdom)- Patented new method to build and renew tunnels and underground infrastructures.
- Nodes & Links(United Kingdom)- AI-based platform to create smart machines to automate project management.
- ObraLink(Chile)- Data collection system to automate critical construction site activities such as concrete poured and formwork.
- Presien(Australia)- AI vision systems to free heavy industries from the risks that threaten the safety of their people and business.
- ProcurePro(Australia)- Digital subcontractor procurement platform to close the digital gap between bids & commitments.
- RatedPower(Spain)- Cloud-based software to carry out the design and engineering of utility-scale solar photovoltaic plants.
- Schüttflix(Germany)- Platform to order, transport, deliver and dispose bulk material 100% digitally.
- WASTEBOX(Austria)- Digital waste management platform to automatically connect customers with the right disposal partner for their project.
Document Crunch was declared the grand winner by the judges of the competition, but all winners received the incredible opportunity to interact with industry leaders, investors, other entrepreneurs, and potential collaborators during the final event of the competition.
As we gear up for 2022, we are already starting to work on the sixth edition of the competition, and we can guarantee you that it will be bigger and better than what we have done before!
Top 50 Contech Startups
Some have holiday traditions; some have vacations. But us… we have our annual Top 50 Contech Startups to close out the year! At the beginning of December we announced our selection of the 50 startups to watch for on 2022. For our third edition, we divided the startups into our new focus areas, now aligned with the industry´s new pain points: green construction, construction supply chain, enhanced productivity, and construction´s future is now.
Be sure to keep an eye out for these 50 solutions. With investment in the ecosystem proving to continue its rise, and past honorees of the 2019 and 2020 lists participating on important investments rounds after their mention in our Top 50, the future is looking promising for the entrepreneurs.
What a year it has been for us, for the startups in our ecosystem, our fellow investors, and collaborators. After 2020, a year like no other which should be on a category on its own, we couldn´t have predicted a better rebound year.
We know that although the challenges in construction will continue being very latent, we are on the right path to making it more sustainable, innovative, and productive. This is our fuel for 2022 and what will continue helping us find the best solutions.
To our entire Contech community, Happy New Year 2022!