DIGITAL INDUSTRIALIZED CONSTRUCTION STARTUP MODULOUS EARNS FOLLOW-ON INVESTMENT FROM CEMEX VENTURES
- Modulous is a tech-enabled player for the delivery of industrialized and sustainable homes, based on an asset-light business model and a strong network of international and local partners.
- It links to a carefully curated supply chain which delivers the modular buildings ready for assembly, using just-in-time logistics to minimise contractors’ costs. Modulous´ software automates many processes, enabling architects and contractors to be more productive.
- The investment is aligned with the UK Government´s push to champion innovation, promote modern methods of construction, and combat the housing and climate crises.
- This is CEMEX Ventures second investment in Modulous in less than a year, after the company won the VC’s global Construction Startup Competition 2020.
CEMEX Ventures, the corporate venture capital and open innovation unit of CEMEX, announced today that they increased their participation in Modulous, a UK based company that exploits technology in a bid to modernise the design and construction of affordable housing, making the process more efficient, scalable, and relying on a strong network of supply chain partners. Modulous received its first investment from CEMEX Ventures in 2020 after winning the firm’s Construction Startup Competition.
Now in its fifth year, the competition has provided the entrypoint to the sector for construction industry startups. With the backing gained through winning the competition in 2020, Modulous has over the 10 months since gained government contracts for the construction of 300 homes in London, and expanded it’s R&D and product development teams in the UK. This strategic growth since the competition and initial funding has provided the evidence needed for CEMEX Ventures to invest further into a shining light on the British and European ConTech scenes.
CEMEX Ventures, Blackhorn Ventures and GroundBreak Ventures are backing the startup, whose software platform will streamline the design and overhaul the inefficient logistics that weigh down construction firms. Modulous has also developed a precision-engineered multi-story apartment product that enables the delivery of high-quality, affordable, and sustainable homes to be computer designed and produced at a specific cost.
The new funding will expand the company’s building design team, grow its technology team, and speed up the evolution of its software platform, being developed to exploit AI technology in a bid to make delivering homes better in every way possible.
The game-changer is that the Modulous´ design platform combines with its own modular building system. This enables developers and housing associations to specify the type of building they want, harvest local planning to determine what is permitted, and quickly create designs that accurately detail the precise cost. Because every component that goes into the building is mapped on the system – like a wardrobe from IKEA – it is possible to monitor and measure the carbon footprint of every single building on a mass scale.
Sections of the buildings are supplied by a selection of high-quality supply chain partners, including CEMEX, Knauf, Ideal Standard and Ibstock. The software platform orchestrates the logistics to ensure that all components arrive just in time and sequence – playing a significant role in helping inflate construction companies’ margins.
The deal is the second round of investment in Modulous in less than a year from CEMEX Ventures, just after the startup was chosen as the grand winner of Construction Startup Competition 2020, the annual global challenge led by venture capital. In this round, they co-invested together with Blackhorn Ventures, a cutting-edge US fund with around $200m under management in early-stage construction and transportation firms, and Toronto-based proptech investor GroundBreak Ventures.
Chris Bone, Chief Executive Officer of Modulous, expressed that
“our digitally led approach to project management and innovative ‘kit of parts’ platform delivers sustainable, high quality housing at a fraction of the time of traditional construction. Modulous provides partners with the end-to-end tools necessary to accurately estimate project costs, compress programme timescales and mitigate against the risks inherent in planning, design, and implementation”.
“We have to put Industrialized Construction and MMC at the heart of design, manufacturing, logistics and assembly. The change to a “product mindset” (instead of project mindset) will open multiple benefits to our industry like efficiency, climate action and sustainable profitability. Modulous is offering an unrivalled value proposition based on technology, flexibility and scalability” said Mateo Zimmermann, head of CEMEX Ventures´ investment in the startup.
Notes To Editor:
The CEMEX Ventures startup competition is open for submissions for 2021’s cohort until 27th of June 20201. More information can be found on the competition’s website at:
CEMEX Ventures will be hosting a webinar on 23rd of June 2021 with spokespeople from the competition’s partner firms discussing the world of Construction Technology, the opportunities as we grow through and out of the pandemic and the role technology startups will play in the new look era for construction. bThere will be an open Q&A for all attendees.
- Gonzalo Galindo, Managing Director of CEMEX Ventures
- Ciro Acedo, Open Innovation Manager at Ferrovial
- Alona Shaked, Innovation Manager at Hilti
- Benjamin Price, External Ventures Manager at NOVA Saint Gobain
- Guillaume Bazouin, Head of Startup & Intrapreneurship at Leonard Vinci
- Cutler Knupp, Investment Director at Dysruptek – Haskell
- Taehong Huh, Investment & Business Strategy Director at GS Futures
Registration link for Webinar: https://cemex.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_b0U_Ue6lSX2kw5OrmMrKgA.
Startups invested in since their participation in the competition:
- IPSUM (Chile & USA, Winners 2017) Chilean startup that seeks to enhance the industry’s productivity by integrating lean methodologies and BIM into its collaborative platform to transform the way construction companies are scheduling and planning their projects.
They offer a world-class SaaS ProPlanner that integrates every player in the jobsite by handling the planning, monitoring progress, managing tasks and resources, and downloading real-time reports of a project´s performance.
- Arqlite (USA, Winners 2019) Argentinian startup that developed a technology to transform plastic waste into light recycled aggregates and artificial gravel that can be used for drainage systems, and to produce precast and light concrete with a low carbon footprint for non- structural purposes. With the help of our investment, Arqlite took its patented technology all the way from Argentina to United States and opened their first big scale facility in Santa Ana, California.
- Soil Connect (USA, Participants 2020) This digital marketplace connects built professionals who need to dispose of soil, with those who need it. It´s a distance-based application that allows its users to search by location and material, reducing time on transportation and preventing the materials from ending up in landfills, therefore reducing its carbon emissions and environmental impact. It also offers an e-ticketing solution, so all transactions can be easily managed through the application.
CEMEX is currently undergoing a pilot project in Florida with Soil Connect, where clients can connect directly with them through the marketplace and order the materials needed for their projects.
- Modulous (UK, Winners 2020) The startup is revolutionizing modular construction with their construction technology platform that aims to deliver high quality, sustainable and affordable homes in a fraction of the time than traditional construction.
By digitalizing the design and procurement phase, users can create their homes using a predetermined kit of parts, and with their integrated supply chain and localized assembly, Modulous can deliver houses quickly, anywhere in the world.
With no need to have a settled factory, the startup uses commonly available materials for their designs, and engages with local labor to install the final structures.
Startups partnered with since their participation in the competition:
- Carbon Clean (Participants 2020, UK) This UK-based startup is a global leader in low-cost CO2 capture technology. Carbon Clean´s patented technology significantly reduces the costs and environmental impact of CO2 separation when compared to existing techniques.
Early in 2021, CEMEX received a grant from The Department of Energy of the United States to kickstart a pilot project alongside Carbon Clean to further develop a highly effective and even more cost-effective carbon capture technology in CEMEX´s cement facility in Victorville, California.
- Carbon Upcycling Technologies (Participants 2020, Canada) We partnered with startup Carbon Upcycling Technologies to improve the processing of residue and by-products of industrial processes, capturing CO2 emissions to produce nanomaterials with greater reactivity and a lower carbon footprint.
CEMEX currently uses 3 million tons of industrial residue each year, but plenty gets discarded due to its low reactivity. With the agreement with Carbon Upcycling, CEMEX expects to double its current use of industrial residue to consume 6 million tons per year by 2030, thereby reducing its carbon footprint significantly.
ABOUT THE CONSTRUCTION STARTUP COMPETITION
Since its first edition in 2017, over a thousand startups from more than 80 countries have participated in the biggest challenge aimed at startups in the construction industry, Construction Startup Competition. Plenty of them have gone on to collaborate with the participating companies after applying for the competition. Given the global outreach of its partners, the 2021 edition expects to see an increase in the number of applications, allowing to identify the most innovative solutions around the world, continue growing the Contech ecosystem and implementing the innovative plans for the sector.
ABOUT CEMEX VENTURES
Launched in 2017, CEMEX Ventures focuses on helping overcome the main challenges and capitalizing on the opportunity areas in the construction ecosystem through sustainable solutions. CEMEX Ventures has developed an open collaborative platform to lead the revolution of the construction industry, engaging startups, entrepreneurs, universities, and other stakeholders to tackle the challenges in the construction environment and shape the industry’s future. For more information on CEMEX Ventures, please visit: www.cemexventures.com