£10m fund launched to solve construction crisis
Construction technology accelerator programme ‘ConstrucTech’ has been launched and is accepting applications until the end of May.
Created by Colmore Tang Construction, a £10m innovation fund will be provided to those companies that can successfully show how their innovation and technology could improve the sector’s productivity, sustainability and skills issues.
Colmore Tang has partnered with not-for-profit company Virgin StartUp to deliver ConstrucTech and is open to applications from start-ups and entrepreneurs around the world.
Virgin StartUp is a leading business support organisation which has run a number of successful accelerators and supported 11,000 entrepreneurs across the UK through start-up loans, mentorship, business advice and access to global business networks.
Construction in the UK has been slow to embrace innovation and adopt new technology. Over a third of construction projects in the UK overrun on time or budget.
It’s believed technology can help fill this void and Colmore Tang has identified a number of key areas within its business, and the industry as a whole, which it believes could benefit from the contribution of enterprising start-ups.
At the top of this list is people development, including improving analysis of performance, sharing best practice across building projects and the implementation of health and safety
The accelerator will also educate around data, such as using it to pre-empt potential delays, allow for more efficient material ordering and the more effective use of labour along with use of performance data to improve cost.
Smart materials will also be on the agenda, looking at the design and implementation of materials to improve sustainability and safety and finding materials which are digitally connected.
Colmore Tang is providing start-ups with the opportunity to use the programme as a testbed and development platform to bring products and ideas to the construction sector.
Virgin StartUp has previously run similar programmes for Virgin Trains (Platform-X) and it also developed the UK’s first crowdfunding accelerator programme (Crowdboost).
This will be the first time the not-for-profit has partnered with a company outside the Virgin Group.
"The debate around technology in construction needs to move forward quickly," said Colmore Tang Group CEO Andy Robinson.
"Other industries are much better at seeing the potential in technology and grasping opportunities to boost productivity and commercial gain.
"Construction is falling behind and it’s having a negative impact on the sector, growing the divide between the traditional, ageing workforce and the young, technologically-advanced workforce that is choosing other industries over ours.
"ConstrucTech will help us discover exciting and innovative start-ups, whose products and services could deliver those technologies and innovations that will be the key to the future success of our business and that of the whole sector.”
The window for applications opened on the 26th March and will remain open until 31st May.
Virgin StartUp is scouting for start-ups with market-ready products or services that can address one or more of the programme challenges.
Shortlisted applicants will then be asked to pitch their idea to a panel of industry experts during June, from which the programme participants will be chosen.
Unlike many other accelerators, the ultimate aim of the ConstrucTech programme is to see successful companies trial their solution on one of Colmore Tang’s live sites, as well as potentially gaining access to the £10m innovation fund, in order to facilitate broader adoption of the technology.
Interested start-ups can apply to be part of ConstrucTech at http://virginstartup.org/constructech.