Is investment the most effective way to support a new startup? 80% of entrepreneurs interviewed in 2022 told CEMEX Ventures “Yes.” However, those same entrepreneurs also deemed it mandatory to receive other means of support, such as mentorship from CEMEX’s network of experts and resources from its open innovation platform.
The amount being invested in the construction industry is increasing year on year, which is fascinating when you consider that the sector has seen little change in its innovation ratios over the past decades.
From 2015 to 2017, investment in construction technology startups increased ever so slightly from $0.8Bn to $1.0Bn USD, whereas since 2019, investment in Contech startups has almost quintupled (5x) from $1.1Bn to $5.38Bn USD (end of 2019 – end of 2022).
2022 Leaplab Cohort: Program Status
What’s happening in the Leaplab accelerator program?
In its inaugural edition, CEMEX Ventures Leaplab is connecting its 2022 cohort, consisting of five trailblazing early-stage startups, with CEMEX’s business units in six countries during an intensive 14-week period. During these weeks, Leaplab has hosted Mentoring Sessions to improve each startups’ day-to-day operations, as well as Master Talks. These special one-hour sessions are hosted by a diverse group made up of CEMEX and CEMEX Ventures experts, established entrepreneurs with success stories, and key players in the ecosystem.
Leaplab’s Mentoring Sessions aim to strategically guide the growth of each early-stage startups. This year’s program included mentors from the following CEMEX business areas: Business Strategy, Human Resources, Commercial Development, Sustainability, Health & Safety, Process & IT, and last but not least, Corporate Venturing. Some of the key themes of these sessions were centered around:
- Enterprise and operations to improve the core of each business. These core sessions touch on disciplines such as negotiation and leadership, guidance on profit modeling and pricing strategies, and support in defining objectives and growth strategies. Most importantly, in these sessions each startup and their carefully selected mentor discuss their go-to-market strategy (i.e., tactics in the ideation phases until the release of a product or service through agile models).
- Customer-centric design (UX). Using UX methodologies, startups highlight their value proposition for their customers, search for needs and improvements, and validate their business models with key assets with audiences.
- Technology and compliance. Themes such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and machine learning protocols, and compatibility and integration with interfaces (e.g., API, obsolescence, data consumption, etc.) are discussed in these sessions. Startups will also assess Cloud models and all regulations relevant to their operation.
- Networking. As the fourth cornerstone of the Leaplab acceleration program, networking is where the importance of relationships and collaboration within the ecosystem are highlighted, between the cohort startups themselves, and with other startups in CEMEX Ventures’ portfolio, external investors, companies that promote innovation, and CEMEX customers.
On the other hand, our Master Talks were specifically designed to showcase CEMEX success stories and experts. The 2022 edition featured relevant and interdisciplinary subjects such as economic evaluation models, planning, sustainability, human resources, and marketing. Some of the keynote presentations were:
- How to work successfully with companies
- What Corporate Venture Capitals and Venture Capitals look for when investing in startups
- Sustainability as a strategic attribute behind all solutions
- Sourcing strategy and best practices for participating in a bidding process
- Brand and reputation management
- Purpose, partnerships and how to attract the best talent
What our cohort has to say
Don’t take it from us. Why not go straight to the source? Here’s what the five entrepreneurs in our first Leaplab edition had to say about their experience in the accelerator so far.
What lies ahead?
There are just a few sessions left to go before we reach the end of the intensive 14-week program. In March, we will be holding our first Demo Day, which is the final program phase where each of the 5 startups will graduate and present the results of their pilots to CEMEX’s Executive Committee.
At this point, other types of negotiations will begin, with the understanding that collaboration can take place in many ways depending on the nature of the business model, the location of the startups, the needs of CEMEX, and of course, the results of the pilots.