Investment Funding in Construction Technology at Breakneck Pace

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Robison Wells
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Within the United States, investment in construction technology sits at $2.1 billion as of October 2021; this more than doubles funding at the same time last year.

Early-stage funding increased 100% in 2021 ($783 million); late-stage funding grew a massive 150% ($1.1 billion). At this same time, in 2020, those numbers sat at $374.9 million and $417.4 million, respectively.

"Our take on what happened was that basically two or three years' worth of construction tech adoption got squeezed into the nine months post-pandemic because everyone was shifting to being offsite, socially distancing, and virtual tools," said Henry D'Esposito, construction research lead at JLL, a global commercial real estate services company. "So, there was a huge demand for adoption. If you see rising adoption numbers, new customers, more profitability, then that gives investors a good reason to want to invest in a sector."

Construction technology funding usually comes in a trickle. Overall funding totaled at less than $400 million before 2017. 2018 broke that trend; overall funding exploded to more than $1.6 billion. 2019 saw a dip but still broke a billion dollars.

The following comprise the largest tech growth categories: digital collaboration, scanning, safety and wearables, and BIM. The pandemic bolstered growth in these sectors. Other technologies, such as 3-D printing, new equipment, payment tools, artificial intelligence, and modular construction, continue to grow. However, these sectors didn't experience a bump from the pandemic.

Katerra, one of the biggest losers in the pandemic tech race, filed for bankruptcy; they build modular structures. "There's been a ton of success in modular, but [Katerra] hasn't done so well, so that's probably one negative. But the majority of the story for contech is positive," said D'Esposito.

A mixed but upward-trending investment base in construction technology bodes well for the industry's development and adoption of burgeoning innovation.

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