Anyone who has stepped onto a jobsite knows that the construction industry has been slow to adopt new technology. While most sectors have spent the past decade digitizing manual processes, the construction industry has barely budged. Few construction firms have meaningful budgets for technological innovation. Many key processes – like bidding, scheduling, and progress tracking – are still done by hand. And the tools that do exist to help digitize the jobsite often face backlash from the field – forcing architects, engineers, and contractors to fight for adoption. With this landscape, it’s no surprise that only 25% of construction projects are completed on time. But the price of this lagging innovation is high – each year, the global economy loses close to $1.6 trillion to the construction productivity gap.
As Meirav Oren, CEO of Versatile® will tell you: it doesn’t have to be this way. Oren grew up in the construction industry — her father was a general contractor and her brother was a project manager. She founded Versatile in 2016 after her brother experienced an accident on site. With better technology, Meirav knew these kinds of mishaps could be avoided. She committed herself to taking on the challenge: transforming construction from an unstructured manufacturing process into a structured one.
Insight first met Meirav and the Versatile team in 2018. Over the past few years, we’ve watched firsthand as Versatile grew from serving early adopters into launching POCs and now fulfilling large contracts. What’s been clear from our first conversations is their dogged commitment to bringing rich data and real time visibility to the jobsite.
Their core product, CraneView®, attaches to the hook of a crane and acts as multi-sensor data gathering tool through its camera, sub-meter GPS, load cell, and accelerometer. Their software platform uses machine learning to make sense of this precise production data, relaying insights to GCs in both daily/weekly site digest reports and real-time actionable alerts.
Of the many tools that attempt to digitize the jobsite, Versatile stood out to us for three key reasons. First, the return on investment for customers has been staggering. The CraneView platform, which has improved visibility into operations and material handling, and accelerated site efficiency, has driven up to 50% improvements in production rates, up to $19,000 in monthly savings from reduced overtime, and up to $60,000 in savings from crane demobilization. As many customers told us, the device pays for itself.
Second, the platform is loved by the field. Unlike many other construction tools that require heavy onboarding lifts + process re-designs to add value, Versatile seamlessly integrates into existing construction workflows with near instantaneous onboarding. CraneView starts adding value as soon as it’s on the hook. GCs and superintendents who start as technology skeptics, are quickly converted into advocates – once they do a project with CraneView, they won’t do one without it.
Finally, their commercial traction and industry recognition has been undeniable. In less than one year – and through the height of the pandemic – Versatile managed to score several of the top U.S. GCs as customers, including Turner and Gilbane. They’ve also been featured multiple times by ENR and were awarded as the first Technology Pioneer in construction by the World Economic Forum.
After months of exploring what it takes to succeed in this complex and under-digitized industry, we’re excited to be leading Versatile’s $20M Series A and to continue supporting the team as they usher in the future of construction!