Construction tech success stories are unfortunately few and far between in comparison to other industries, especially given the mammoth $12 trillion dollar industry valuation. The reality which many construction tech startups face is that after months or years of developing a tech solution to a real construction issue and testing the solution with a smaller sample of the industry, the wider industry will not embrace the product. The reasons for this are often complex, with generalized findings being that the construction industry is fragmented, and key decision makers are often reluctant to change.
Since discovering Civils.ai two months ago via a post on Reddit, it has been remarkable to watch this early-stage construction startup’s rapid ascent. They are taking and forging a different path and growing using a bottom-up, user-driven, community approach. Founded by Stevan Lukic and Mirko Vairo, they’ve created quite a buzz on social media and construction industry forums, the likes of which I haven’t seen in our industry before.
Taking a closer look at Civils.ai, their web platform hosts a suite of Engineering calculators to solve common construction issues. By pulling in relevant data from their pool of construction information they help with planning construction projects in the feasibility stage. A key difference between Civils.ai and anything else on the market, with the exception of Spacemaker AI (recently acquired by Autodesk), is the ease and simplicity with which they put a massive amount of data at the fingertips of Engineers.
Import process of technical data into civil engineering calculators
This idea was inspired by Stevan Lukic whilst working as a Civil Engineer. At the time Stevan found that most of his work day was spent searching for technical information, rather than doing his job as an Engineering designer. After meeting Mirko Vairo, a serial founder with a background in AI on the Antler Singapore 2022 Programme, they decided to fix this problem.
One of the secrets behind their remarkable growth since launching their Minimum Viable Product (MVP) software in May 2022 is the open-source element of Civils.ai. It is supported by a community of over 70 Professional Engineers from around the world. These Engineers help support the core Civils.ai team in developing new Engineering calculators. This helps the Civils.ai team target real user issues, find new niches of the construction industry, and connect new calculators to the Civils.ai database.
Looking at their product roadmap I am especially interested to see their developments in geological mapping and the digitisation of subsurface data for major cities.
The scale of the problem of data inaccuracy in the construction industry is huge, with a recent report from Autodesk estimating that the annual cost of ‘bad data’ in construction is 1.84 trillion dollars. This could explain the current 6,000 monthly active users using the platform and 30,000 calculations performed in the months since launching earlier this year.
The outstanding organic adoption of Civils.ai by users encouraged the early-stage VC Antler to back them with a pre-seed investment. I’m excited to see what is ahead for this promising and brilliant early-stage startup.