Digital Deals: Amazon backs prefab smart builder, Procore acquires BIManywhere
Tech firms in the construction space often join forces to marry their niche solutions with other technologies and provide more comprehensive and interoperable tools. Every few weeks, Construction Dive provides a roundup of the most recent mergers, acquisitions and integrations in the construction technology space. To view the entire series, click here.
Procore expands VDC investment with BIManywhere acquisition
Procore announced last week its acquisition of BIManywhere, a BIM collaboration platform that offers 3D viewing on both a mobile and web application.
According to a Procore blog post, the deal comes at the tail end of 12 months in which Procore has prioritized investments in the BIM and virtual design and construction (VDC) space. “The addition of this powerful technology will enable Procore to bring model viewing and collaboration technology to users and project teams around the world,” said vice president of product management Will Lehrmann.
The partners “share a common goal to provide seamless access to information for everyone who needs it on the jobsite,” said Procore founder and CEO Tooey Courtemanche in an announcement. BIManywhere users are able to view models and other important files from a central location, according to the companies, for improved availability of critical information and efficiency on projects.
All employees of the Oakland, California-based startup will move to Procore’s R&D division, the announcement said.
Amazon escalates smart building investments
Amazon is among the investors that participated in the $6.7 million Series A funding round for Plant Prefab, a company that prefabricates sustainable, connected homes. Funds from the Amazon Alexa Fund, Obvious Ventures and others will go toward further development of the Plant Prefab building system, according to a Plant Prefab press release.
Plant Prefab, which operates out of a 62,000-square-foot factory in Rialto, California, says it can deliver low-cost single- and multi-family homes in half the time and with less waste than traditional construction methods.
Amazon’s investment comes on the heels of rollouts of Alexa-compatible smart home products, Smart Cities Dive reported, as well as a deal with home building giant Lennar to include Amazon smart products as standard features in its new homes.
Guardhat closes $20M Series A funding round
Detroit-based GuardHat Inc., which makes hardhats that actively monitor a user’s safety, health and work environment, last week closed a $20 million Series A funding round.
The Guardhat product improves worksite safety and helps to prevent injury, according to the company, using intelligent proprietary software that can alert workers to hazardous conditions, transmit the coordinates of a worker who has fallen, and more.
RTP Ventures led the round, according to a press release, and were joined by 3M Ventures, Caterpillar Venture Capital, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Silicon Valley Bank and Detroit Venture Partners. Guardhat said it will use the funds to scale its engineering team, “expedite company growth and expand international reach.”
PCL Construction, Microsoft build cloud infrastructure
PCL Construction partnered with Microsoft to build a cloud-based tool that creates a “single-pane view into all aspects of construction,” according to Microsoft. Job Site Insights (JSI) is a construction management app built on Microsoft Azure, which integrates with IoT sensors to provide data and analysis on construction costs, quality metrics, schedules and inspections.
The tool — accessible by desktop PC, tablet or mobile device — “lets everyone understand what is happening at every stage of the process, from planning through construction, post-construction, and how the building is being used by its occupants,” said Chris Gower, chief operating officer for buildings at PCL.
JSI combines real-time data gathered from sensors with historical data, according to the companies, and uses machine learning for predictive analytics. The product can determine whether temperatures are unbalanced, if lights are on, where materials are located or if air quality is posing a safety risk to works, among other functions.
Follow Kathleen Brown on Twitter