9 Canadian tech companies digitizing construction
Say goodbye to paper. These innovators are leading a digital revolution in construction.
A rendering from Serious Labs shows how virtual reality tech is being used to train workers. – Serious Labs
Construction has become so much more than just hammers, shovels and hardhats. Companies have begun to wield computers, artificial intelligence and virtual reality as well. Modern projects are getting so big and complex, and the pressure to find labour, materials and savings is so great that high tech solutions are popping up left and right. And many of them are right here in our backyard. Here is just a sample of Canadian digital horsepower being let loose on the industry.
General labour, framers, concrete formers, carpenters – whatever worker you need, Faber wants to connect you to them through their app. Faber has created a marketplace where employers select what kind of worker they require and then find matches based on ratings for skills, experience, references and more. The Vancouver company drew its inspiration from DoorDash and gig economy work. The company is now looking to expand in Canada and even the U.S.
PayShepherd’s initial mission was simple: give operations teams at industrial facilities a tool to efficiently and effectively manage contracted services. The result was something that ensures that a facility is billed the right amount, avoids overages that can escalate quickly, improves communication between facilities and contractors and more. According to PayShepherd, most billing overages are small, valued at an average of $100. The problem is, there are hundreds or thousands of these billing discrepancies every year. They believe their platform can help facilities save 15 per cent a year on maintenance costs. Back in July, the company announced it had secured US$3 million in seed funding led by Nashville Capital Network, with participation from existing investors Thin Air Labs and the Accelerate Fund, managed by Yaletown Partners with support from the A100.
Sitemax is a software product designed for the field-to-office communication needs of a commercial general contractor. The full construction management software solution has generated millions of daily logs, safety reports, photos records, time entries and more, all over the world. And they are starting to turn heads. This November, Plank Ventures announced an investment in the business and GroundBreak Ventures welcomed SiteMax into their portfolio of companies.
This start-up recently raised a $1 million pre-seed round to expand its technology beyond Calgary and Toronto. Their goal is to help the business development teams of general contractors identify project opportunities early on. Mercator does this by using artificial intelligence (AI). The AI mines and analyzes millions of data points across the construction process to identify indicators that signal early project development. In a recent interview, the Mercator team explained that without their tools, finding new business in the industry usually requires a mix of grinding out manual research and dead-end cold calls.
Imagine being able to train heavy equipment operators without needing to use any heavy equipment? Serious Labs does just that. The company says its simulators are 97 per cent predictive of actual operator skills, allowing users to build competency and even earn credentials – all in convenient, risk-free virtual reality.
This all-in-one platform enables the consumer to buy construction services with a similar e-commerce experience to what they are used to when buying other goods and services online. And it allows the contractor to provide interactive, accurate quotes in minutes. According to CostCertified’s team, the core platform has allowed payment facilitation and automation for the first time, meaning the consumer has full visibility over their funds.
They have the cutest mascot of anybody on this list and it’s not even close. Finding building supplies is one of the industry’s biggest challenges. This company’s team has created an on-demand, digital marketplace and platform to buy construction supplies and then get them delivered. It’s basically UberEats but instead of pizza and tacos, it’s drywall and lumber. The company began in Toronto but expanded into Vancouver in 2021.
The future of construction safety is digital and Salus wants to help lead the charge. Their platform enables digital forms, asset management, certificate management, tracking corrective actions, incident management and more – all without a scrap of paper.
The company was co-founded by Mallorie Brodie and Lauren Lake in 2014 with the goal to boost profits and reduce risk for general contractors.. The result was the Bridgit Bench platform. It is designed to simplify project allocations, capacity management, project tracking, utilization reporting, forecasting, skills tracking, and more. Bridgit is a privately held company, having raised over $35 million USD in equity financing, with capital from investors such as Autodesk, BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund, Camber Creek, Export Development Canada, IAF, Nine Four Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Sands Capital, StandUp Ventures, Storm Ventures and Vanedge Capital.