Our Investment in Built Robotics

By Heather Widman on September 23, 2019

We are excited to share our investment in Built Robotics’ $33M Series B. The round was led by Next47, the global venture fund backed by Siemens, and previous Built Robotics backers including Fifth Wall, Founders Fund, NEA, Lemnos, and Presidio Ventures also participated. 

The need to invest in more sustainable practices and renewable energy sources has never been more crucial. The construction of wind and solar farms are among the many positive steps we can prioritize to achieve these critical improvements in our built world. And yet while philosophically we galvanize around the mission for a better built world,  the construction industry faces an unprecedented shortage of qualified labor right now. While the challenge is industry-wide, large-scale remote infrastructure projects like solar and wind farms are particularly difficult to adequately staff with skilled labor. Broader still, the global earth moving market - including operations like clearing land, building roads and digging foundations and trenches, tops $1 trillion and is desperate for innovation. Automation is required to fill the labor gap and to make these large scale projects safer, faster and scalable. 

Enter Built Robotics. Built’s technology transforms construction equipment — including excavators, bulldozers, and skid steers — into fully autonomous robots employing lidar, GPS and other sensors. Their automated guidance systems can be installed on existing equipment from any manufacturer, while still maintaining complete manual operation capabilities. The upgraded equipment is able to perform common tasks fully autonomously, such as digging trenches, excavating foundations and grading building pads. The autonomous fleet can be managed via a web-based platform, which allows remote equipment operators to supervise the robots.

We believe that the Built Robotics team will advance robotics and transform the efficiency of large scale infrastructure projects and beyond. Our own thesis and faith in Noah and the Built team was even further bolstered by their partnership with BV Strategic LP and market-leader, Mortenson. The two companies have partnered on training, implementation and several renewable projects that will usher in a new era of autonomous excavation, safety and workforce allocation on these most critical of projects. 

The investment also brings together a uniquely strategic and collaborative syndicate and comes on the heels of Built signing over $100 million in customer commitments. Built’s current fleet of robots has excavated over 100,000 tons of material on projects such as wind farms, housing developments, and utility solar installations. In total, equipment upgraded by Built Robotics has operated for over 7,500 hours with a perfect safety record — equivalent to 350,000 miles of testing for self-driving cars.

The San Francisco-based team will use the capital to scale its fleet of autonomous robots, expand into new construction verticals and develop tools to support the next generation of equipment operators. We look forward to working with Noah and the entire talented team and being a part of this exciting autonomous future! 

Read more about Built Robotics and the financing here.

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