“Urban environments will change,” Concrete’s home page declares. Consistent with that message, and according to a recent report in Crunchbase, the venture fund established in 2016 by Starwood and JLL has made its sixth investment, this one in a Swedish construction technology company called BuildSafe. Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise, as Skanska, the global construction giant that’s also based in Stockholm, is Concrete’s construction partner and also a BuildSafe user.
BuildSafe is a cloud-based software system for digitally logging and monitoring accidents, incidents, site safety observations, near misses, and other project risks that are occurring on a construction site in real time. The logging is done on a mobile device through BuildSafe’s app and allows each project stakeholder to access the data. Doing so, BuildSafe says, allows project developers, contractors, and others to anticipate where problems may arise in the field and allows them to address those issues proactively, saving time, money, and productivity.
Users can review all of their projects from the back office and follow up on assigned tasks (like safety deviations) and track KPIs, supplier and subcontractor performance, and other issues from a single centralized dashboard. Pricing is customized either on a per-project basis or for enterprise users but always include unlimited users, checklists, and inspections so everyone on a given project can report on observations, near misses, accidents, and other incidents.
“The U.K. construction industry is rapidly shifting toward integrating digital tools in the production phase,” BuildSafe Chief Executive Viktor Broberg told Bisnow, which recently reported on the investment. “BuildSafe’s experienced team and easy-to-use mobile-first product have demonstrated strong customer traction and a compelling vision for the future of safety in a sector that is hungry for innovation,” Concrete founder Taylor Wescoatt said in the same article.
My first-hand experience is that the value proposition is always the first question AEC executives will ask when they look at new technologies. Margins in our industry are thin and risk is high. But improving site safety is low-hanging fruit when it comes to technology that can also report back KPIs that are tied to dollars saved, productivity that wasn’t lost, and so forth. The proof seems to be in the pudding as BuildSafe is the second construction safety startup that we’ve covered here at AEC Labs in the last year.
Do you think contech is on the right path investing in safety startups? Is there other similar low-hanging fruit that venture capital and founders are missing out on?