When we first met Noah, Guarav, and the team at Built Robotics, we knew their technology that transforms construction equipment into fully autonomous tools would not only advance robotics but also transform the efficiency of large-scale construction projects. Today, we’re sharing our continued investment in the Built Robotics, which announces its $64M Series C funding round led by Tiger Global. We’re excited to continue to support the company’s ongoing progress on its mission to use software-enabled solutions to make machinery more efficient, more sustainable, and safer for today’s construction industry.
There are not enough qualified construction teams for all the projects the world needs, especially considering the fact that the industry has been missing productivity gains for decades. Inflation pressures may surge as infrastructure spending expands worldwide at a faster pace than overall slowing economic and population growth. In late 2021, for example, U.S. politicians reached a major infrastructure spending bill. Emerging markets need highways and utilities to support youthful, urbanizing, and growing populations. Most of all, the whole world needs a herculean 3x higher pace of investment into the already fast-growing renewables project investment pace. Energy experts say that’s the gap to close, for the world to have a shot at net zero by 2050.
We believe Built can help here. Built gets to market faster by retrofitting equipment rather than rebuilding and manufacturing the whole machine. This not only makes Built’s process more efficient, it also makes the products—and their benefits—more accessible to the market. Its purchase for users, who may already own a working fleet and want autonomy without replacing all of that, is then more in reach than buying or leasing an entirely new fleet with OEM solutions (which probably also do not work together with those of other OEMs). Built’s Exosystem, for example, holds promise to enable numerous major models of excavators to operate autonomously.
New technology—especially for enabling autonomy and near-autonomy features— inspires both amazement and mistrust, particularly around safety. Safety has been a principal concern of major tractor and equipment manufacturers who often fight their own customers and regulators to push back against the so-called “Right to Repair” movement. OEMs claim they want to keep users safe, while users claim the OEMs use that as an excuse to lock-in maintenance profits. Built’s relentless focus on safety wins both of these arguments. While holding promise to mitigate the safety and accident-prone area of trenching, Built’s solutions could be championed by Right to Repair activists as an OEM-agnostic retrofit. This gives them control to unleash at a reasonable cost better functionality and productivity at their own discretion, with a professional-grade rather than “DIY” retrofit.
The major OEMs of construction machinery are not sitting idle. Many have been investing heavily in R&D for decades to advance software-enablement, starting with telematics that track fleets and help ensure uptime. Still, the pace seems insufficient to have caused a step-change in construction productivity. Built Robotics’ strategy doesn’t challenge the OEMs head on, as the company isn’t today building the whole machinery. Instead, Built Robotics focuses on retrofits to give existing machines superpowers. We find the approach compelling. Early results from delivering machine-coordinated outcomes around trenching applications, continue to advance and inspire. The market, and especially users, are hungry to see Built scale up its team and go further faster.
This talented team at Built has a lot of work ahead. We are excited that this leading contech startup will continue to expand its offering, grow its team and technology, and, perhaps most importantly, offer a necessary innovative solution for the industry’s major challenges. Built Robotics has an early lead to attract talent to improve efficiency, improve safety, and attract new talent to the industry. We’ll need all the operator capacity we can get, combined even better with machines equipped to work overnight, as a better built world demands tremendous infrastructure upgrades for clean energy. That’s why we extend our support to Noah, Gaurav, and the entire team, alongside a growing range of investors, led in this round by Tiger Global. Learn more about the deal and Built’s plan for the funding here.