The best TBT in the construction industry: Construction Startup Competition

Why has this challenge become a construction industry phenomenon?

To talk about successful transformations, is to talk about Construction Startup Competition. This challenge, which celebrates its fourth edition this year, looks to find the most innovative startups that are revolutionising the construction industry.

When CEMEX Ventures announced its first call in 2017, they couldn´t have predicted just how much this competition would grow in only three years. The first edition of Construction Startup Competition attracted a good turnout, with participants from more than 12 different countries. The Pitchday took place in Madrid, and it was IPSUM, a collaborative platform for managing construction and engineering projects based on BIM technologies, that was declared the winner of this first edition. It later became one of the key pieces of the CEMEX Ventures portfolio.

CEMEX Ventures kept working in order to make its offer more precise by focusing specifically on the improvement areas of the construction industry. As a result, four times as many startups participated in the 2018 edition of the challenge. The competition grew, and so did the number of winners who showcased their ideas in Madrid. Seven startups were given the opportunity to present their solutions before a jury, which was formed by big companies including: Boston Consulting Group, Sacyr, Acciona, Telefónica and Sngular, among others.

In the 2019 edition of the Construction Startup Competition, submissions were received from twice as many companies as in 2018, with startups applying from more than 70 countries. At the end of the competition, 10 startups offering highly innovative solutions were selected as the winners. This significant increase was proof that the revolution of the construction industry was truly on its way, and therefore it was considered only right that the very best startups would make it through to the Pitchday that took place in Monterrey, Mexico. The jury was formed by WND Ventures, Dalus Capital, TEKFEN Ventures and 500 Startups, Google, and Brick & Mortar, chaired by CEMEX.

A global challenge

One of the great advantages of this competition is that it knows no geographic limits. In the 2019 edition, many of the participants were startups from the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Spain and the United Kingdom. However, high-quality proposals were also received from Israel, Singapore, Australia and Ireland, just to name a few. Which countries will be the most represented in the fourth edition of this competition? It will be interesting to see how things pan out this year.

With the steady growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the incorporation of Hilti, Ferrovial, Vinci Group´s Leonard and Nova by Saint Gobain, there is no doubt that Construction Startup Competition 2020 has a lot to offer. These are five pieces that create a strong ecosystem, but there are still some pieces missing.

Areas of opportunity with the largest number of participants

The most popular areas of opportunity addressed by participating startups in the previous editions were:

  • Project and jobsite management (40%): improving productivity, efficiency and quality.
  • Project design and engineering (23%): optimising the construction project design and specification stage, by providing innovative solutions to maximise their efficiency and quality.
  • Innovative construction methods and materials (19%): modernising the industry by building with smart and sustainable materials, and by using innovative methods and new technologies that allow for a more efficient, quick and cost-effective development.
  • Supply chain management (8%): optimising resource sourcing, fleet tracking and inventory management.

To find out more about the areas opportunity that have been identified for the Construction Startup Competiton 2020, click here.

The most-used technologies by the startups

The incorporation of new technologies in the construction industry is one of the pillars that the companies participating in this edition of the competition look to promote.

In an interview with Built World Technology Asia, Gonzalo Galindo, CEO of CEMEX Ventures stated that: “over the last 2 or 3 years we have seen more capital risk companies choosing to back startups that are focused on developing technology for the construction sector.” This goes hand in hand with the growth of the competition, not only in terms of the increasing number of startups that are looking to supply the industry with new technology, but also in terms of the growing interest from investors. Galindo went on to say that “some of the technologies that will change the way that we build will be 3D printing, industrialised construction, robotization and artificial intelligence.”

In the previous editions, the most used technologies by the startups were:

  • Data management solutions
  • Internet of things (IoT) and sensors
  • Marketplaces
  • Prefabrication and offsite solutions

Are you the missing piece? Be part of the revolution.

The union of CEMEX Ventures, Hilti, Ferrovial, Vinci Group´s Leonard and Nova by Saint Gobain is almost perfect given that these companies all focus on different areas of the construction value chain. Yet, an important piece is missing. If you have an innovative startup that offers sustainable and technological solutions that maximise the efficiency of construction projects and promote the use of new building methods, you might be the missing piece!

Just as the winners of the Construction Startup Competition 2019 did, why not give the competition a shot and play a vital part in the revolution of the construction industry.

You will have the opportunity to present your startup to some of the biggest companies in the sector, connect with other entrepreneurs and industry leaders, present your company at the BuiltWorlds Venture Conference in Chicago, and be one-step closer to forming part of the investment portfolio of one of the five participating companies.

What are you waiting for? Participate in the fourth edition of the Construction Startup Competition. You have until the July 26:

Let’s keep in touch!


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