Noah Ready-Campbell founded Built Robotics with a question — what will construction look like in a generation? The industry has suffered from a chronic labor shortage, productivity has fallen by half since the 1960s, and despite significant improvements, it remains the most dangerous sector in America.
Understanding the need for a new way to build, Ready-Campbell and his team of engineers, roboticists, and construction experts spent the last two years creating the autonomous track loader (ATL). “In our vision for the company, we automate heavy equipment to make construction safer, faster, and more affordable,” says Ready-Campbell.
The ATL uses augmented GPS, combining on-site base station and satellites, and the latest sensors from self-driving cars, retrofitted into proven equipment from the job site. Built Robotics then developed a suite of autonomous software, specifically designed for the requirements of construction and earthmoving. Last summer they completed their first successful pilot project, and they expect to start with residential construction projects in 2018.
Built has been part of the Lemnos family since 2016. Ready-Campbell came from an e-commerce background, having started the online secondhand clothing store Twice, which was bought by eBay in 2015. When he began thinking about his next project, he knew two things: (1.) he wanted to focus on robotics and construction, and (2.) he was going to need some help. So, he turned to Lemnos.
“Lemnos has been the first check into the companies I admire in this field,” says Ready-Campbell. “Lemnos has the reputation as being the hardware seed stage fund in Silicon Valley. They are investors who know the challenges in building a product that is not just another app, but a product with some serious R&D. I wanted to work with them so that I could kind of see around corners based on the pattern recognition that they have.”
He also noted that working with Lemnos partner Helen Boniske was particularly helpful when it came time to find additional financing, “Helen is extremely insightful about this. She offers great perspectives on typical valuations, reputation of different investors, and what the process is going to look like.”
In addition to its funding news, Built Robotics also announced that Carl Bass, the former CEO of Autodesk, joined the Board of Directors to help guide strategy at the intersection of construction and technology.
With the new funding, Built will ramp up its hiring, push forward on its R&D roadmap, and begin to deploy its robots at scale. The ATL is just the first step. In an $8 trillion global construction industry, the company anticipates there will be many more Built Robotics products.
And stay tuned for the launch of Season 2 of our podcast, “Into the Forge,” in November. Episode One features an interview with Noah Ready-Campbell.