US-based 360° reality capture technology provider HoloBuilder has announced new investments from three Germany backers to help fuel the construction technology business’s international growth.
Having established an EU hosting base, the US’s HoloBuilder is extending its European operation still further. The artificial intelligence (AI) solution provider for 360° reality capture of construction projects, has announced it is partnering with E.ON, an international private energy company headquartered in Essen, Germany, plus Berlin-based construction technology investor, Foundamental, and NRW.BANK, the promotional bank of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The new investments (amounts unspecified) are part of what the company calls a “global expansion round, which will foster the company’s expansion into new regions across the globe”.
CEO and founder of HoloBuilder, Inc., Mostafa Akbari-Hochberg says:
“Our partnership with E.ON, Foundamental, and NRW.BANK will allow us to significantly grow our team and provide more value to the fast-growing, international customer base. At HoloBuilder, we believe that construction software can unlock tremendous potential for the construction industry. It is our goal to enable any jobsite to understand and know about new powerful tools available to them. Besides growing our team, the investments will enable us to build out even more powerful AI-based construction technology solutions for enterprises around the globe, providing them with mission-critical insights to secure ROI.”
In April 2019, HoloBuilder released its mobile JobWalk App, enabling off-site stakeholders to pre-plan construction documentation sequences for their teams. Captured digital construction project can be analyzed with SiteAI, HoloBuilder’s computer vision, and artificial intelligence technology. HoloBuilder says this combination provides “the fastest and most insightful solution to document construction projects in a secure SaaS cloud environment”. Over 15,000 construction projects have been documented using HoloBuilder, by over 1,600 construction companies (customers include Skanska and UK-based Kier).
On behalf of one of the investors, Thomas Birr, head of strategy and innovation at E.ON, says:
“As a future-oriented, innovative company, we have to reinvent ourselves continuously, constantly optimize our processes and digitize our business. The digitization of construction projects offers a high, yet unexploited potential. By investing in HoloBuilder, we are ideally positioned to digitize our projects, making them even more efficient, faster and more customer-oriented. I am convinced that we will benefit greatly from HoloBuilder’s expertise and unique portfolio of solutions. We are looking forward to deploying the HoloBuilder solutions internationally.”
HoloBuilder grows German R&D base
In many regions outside its core market in the United States, HoloBuilder says it is facing growing demand from construction, oil and gas enterprises and companies such as E.ON for whom infrastructure development is a part of their main business. The global expansion round allows HoloBuilder to expand into new regions by growing their team in the United States and Germany, in order to satisfy the needs of an international customer base. Especially in the company’s research & development location in the high-tech cluster of Aachen in Germany, the team of specialized engineers who build the technology behind HoloBuilder’s SiteAI artificial intelligence solution for construction will grow significantly.
Soon after its 2014 launch, Holobuilder raised US$665,000 in seed funding from High-Tech Gruenderfonds. It raised a further US$2.25m in an investment round in early 2017 (news release), backed by venture capitalist firms VC Brick & Mortar Ventures and Tandem Capital. Web searches suggest Foundamental also made an unspecified investment in January 2019.
(Incidentally, while watching the above YouTube video, I noticed its claim that it could “Create a Digital Twin of your entire project with ease.” This clearly depends on what definition of digital twin is used, and whether the reality captured data is connected to other data. It would not – on its own – deliver a digital twin in the way that it is being defined in the Gemini Principles developed by the UK’s Centre for Digital Built Britain: “A realistic digital representation of something physical. What distinguishes a digital twin from any other digital model is its connection to the physical twin” (emphasis added; read also: Bentley pushes ‘Digital Twin’ into AEC mainstream).