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The potential of robotics and AI in construction is enormous: tech company AUAR raises 3 million euros.

The potential of robotics and AI in construction is enormous: tech company AUAR raises 3 million euros.

The British startup Automated Architecture (AUAR) has raised £2.6 million. This funding round was led by the Ghent-based investor Miles Ahead. The money is intended to validate the activities of the construction tech company, build a network of partners, and expand operations in the United States.

Producing modular wooden building blocks - think of Lego - to construct and renovate homes: that was the goal of AUAR (pronounced as 'our'). The British construction tech company subsequently developed a mobile micro-factory with a robot arm that produces the building blocks, controlled by a software program with artificial intelligence.

We aim to make housing affordable, beautiful, and sustainable.

         Says Gilles Retsin, who co-founded the company with CEO Mollie Claypool.

At the moment, that's not possible. It's always one of those three, but never combined. We believe that we can improve housing and living standards by focusing on extensive automation in the construction sector.

Concept Validation

Seed capital

The startup has raised £2.6 million (approximately 3 million euros) in seed capital, a financing round led by the Ghent-based investor Miles Ahead. This funding will be used to build a network of partners, expand operations in the United States and the United Kingdom, and validate the working method. 'The potential of robotics and artificial intelligence in the construction and manufacturing industry is enormous,' says Wim De Waele of Miles Ahead, which focuses on the combination of AI and deep tech (robotics and the Internet of Things). 'Rapid adoption will be necessary to prepare our Belgian construction companies for the future.'

The first automated micro-factory of AUAR is located in Aalter, with the construction group Vandenbussche, which also participates in the financing round. 'Thanks to that partnership, we have already created a lot of momentum in Belgium,' says Gilles Retsin. 'Therefore, we were looking for an investment partner who would have an eye for the Belgian context. Miles Ahead immediately worked proactively on our business model. Moreover, their vision on the use of deep tech perfectly aligns with ours.'

De Waele confirms that initial connection. He calls AUAR's micro-factories a much-needed disruption of the construction sector. Furthermore, the decentralization of the construction process, away from a large mass factory, provides room to embrace a more flexible business model and better meet the needs of the sector itself.


In addition to Miles Ahead and the construction group Vandenbussche, investors also include ABB, specialized in robots and electrification, the American construction giant Rival Holdings, the major bank Morgan Stanley, and Nicolas Bearelle, the founder of the Belgian real estate developer Revive. 'The strong interest from investors confirms the growing awareness for sustainability and talents,' says De Waele. 'On one hand, energy prices are a decisive factor in the cost of housing. This is really the moment for companies to make that sustainable shift. On the other hand, the shortage of qualified talents also drives up costs. AUAR solves these two problems.'

'We strongly believe in this diverse management team,' concludes De Waele. 'Mollie is an activist world improver and Gilles is the innovative thinker at the intersection of architecture and technology. The duo has international ambitions to make sustainable construction the norm and thus change the world. Their belief in that mission was an important criterion for our investment decision.'

Myrte De Decker
Redacteur bij Trends

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