Axeleo Proptech 1 co-invested alongside German VCs HTGF and Bayern Kapital to support Munich based Contech Oculai (LINK) through a €2.5M seed round, addressing a strong need for construction site managers to automate data gathering and optimize planning.
Gather data from construction sites: the top priority for a digitalized process
The construction industry has been slow to adopt digital technologies due to a combination of unique challenges: Construction deals with physical materials, quantities, dust, noise, and collisions. Despite promises that digital solutions could solve all issues on construction sites, the reality is that “each building is a prototype”, with its own unique combination of methods, materials, and workflow issues. Consequently, the industry still relies heavily on outdated tools and processes such as emails or paper and pen, far from the ideal “BIM standard” that technologists have been dreaming of.
Construction technology startups have the potential to address urgent issues such as lack of workforce, cost of materials, waste management, and workflow efficiency. According to McKinsey, operating productivity changes could save up to $1 trillion annually (2017).
Contech is an Eldorado, however the main challenge is to find the smartest go-to-market strategy to survive a winding value-chain which complicates change management.
Workflow efficiency is one of these challenges that need to be unlocked to scale construction and build more, particularly for first and second fix. Building requires the coordination of multiple trade bodies from different companies with heterogeneous workflow and skills. They must operate sequentially, meaning they need to be booked and available at the right moment and rely on the execution (and potential mistakes) of the previous trade.
A plug and play orchestrator for Site Managers
Oculai (pronounce [Oculeye]) is that kind of orchestrator for construction site managers: a web app using site images to apply onsite computer vision and deep learning to automatically monitor site progress, use of resources, match them with the initial planning to detect potential project shifts. Oculai predicts the termination date of active processes based on past and calculated performance values. The AI detects disturbances or special events and links quantities with process durations to monitor cost and performance along the construction process.
On site, Oculai automates documentation and eases inspection in one click, to avoid reworking, rescheduling, and especially in case of disputes. Offsite, the software gives the capacity to benchmark expenses, improve planning, give transparent reporting and overviews per project.
Seamless and R.O.I. driven
The return of investment is remarkable: A proven 7% savings for their first customers, something like €2M in construction cost savings per project.
Thanks to a smooth go-to-market limiting change management that could be a blocker in this complicated value chain, Oculai has sold its technology to 30+ customers only 18 months after its inception. Among them, 3 companies from the German “top 5”. They’ve also convinced Vinci Group, through their accelerator Leonard.
The team is a triple A, Constantin Kauffman - CEO, Tim Sippl - CTO and Yannick Mack - COO are the good combination of engineering and business strategy. Young graduates eager to rethink the industry but wise enough to address the pain with a deep empathy for their customers: a seamless change management for a maximized ROI. Paving the way for the future of data on construction sites: gathering > benchmarking > improving the learning curve…
Oculai is the first step for construction companies to seamlessly create and aggregate data from construction sites. This helps close the loop and improve the learning curve from one project to another, further industrializing the construction workflow.