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AI-powered construction management platform Buildots lands $60M

In the construction industry, managers can become disconnected from what’s happening on-site — particularly when dealing with pandemic-related disruptions….



In the construction industry, managers can become disconnected from what’s happening on-site — particularly when dealing with pandemic-related disruptions. Among the top hurdles are staying on top of costs, communicating with all stakeholders, and assessing risk related to aspects like contractor billing and performance. The disconnect can lead to delays and unanticipated expenses. One study found that 85% of construction projects over the course of a 70-year period experienced cost overruns and just 25% came close to their original deadlines.

The enormous addressable market — $1.3 trillion in the U.S. alone — continues to attract entrepreneurs like Roy Danon, who co-founded construction tech startup Buildots in 2018 with Aviv Leibovici and Yakir Sudry. Graduates of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the founders created a platform that leverages AI and hardhat-mounted 360-degree cameras to capture images of ongoing construction projects during site inspections.

Buildots today announced that it raised $60 million in a Series C round co-led by Viola Growth and Eyal Ofer’s O.G. Tech with participation from TLV Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Future Energy Ventures, and Maor Investments. Danon says that the new capital, which brings Buildots’ total raised to $106 million, will be put toward product development and expanding the Buildots team, particularly in Europe and North America.

“The construction industry has been going through major transformation over the past few years,” Danon told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Drivers of this change include rising demand for new commercial and residential projects, increasing complexity of these projects, and manpower shortage. Traditionally, contractors have suffered from low profit margins, but Buildots’ solution is leading the charge to connect data to decision-making so that they can maximize revenue.”

The seed of the idea for Buildots came in 2017, ten years after Danon, Leibovici, and Sudry met in the IDF’s elite Talpiot unit. Without prior experience in or knowledge of the construction industry, the trio spent six months researching projects to better understand the challenges that construction companies and contractors face.

Image Credits: Buildots

Buildots analyzes project schedules, designs, and other data to generate a model of an active construction site. When workers equip their hardhats with a compatible 360-degree camera and upload the footage to Buildots, the platform automatically compares features of the site — e.g., pipes under a kitchen sink — to the model to gauge progress, automatically blurring out people in the footage for compliance purposes.

“Having operated in numerous and diverse regions, including North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East, we have collected varied datasets that allow us to create extremely robust AI models,” Danon said. “For example, when a solution looks at hundreds of millions of sockets, it gets really good at recognizing issues and flagging mistakes. While most items look similar between construction sites, there’s always that one client that decides to put a pink cubicle toilet that challenges our models at first glance.”

Buildots’ two-way integrations with planning platforms Oracle Primavera P6, Asta Powerproject, and Microsoft Project are designed to allow instant timeline updates. Monthly progress reports, meanwhile, ostensibly help to validate subcontractor payment applications.

“Increasing visibility helps decision-makers reduce risk, improve cash flow, and save significant time,” Danon added. “[This gives] them the confidence to know their projects are being carried out as planned and in the most efficient way possible.”

Of course, Buildots isn’t the only company applying AI in the construction domain. Others include BeamUp, which is developing an AI-powered building design platform, and Versatile, which — like Buildots — captures and analyzes data across the construction site to provide a picture of construction progress.

Construction tech is a lucrative pursuit right now, thanks to the wider industry boom. In 2021, investment in construction startups reached a record $4.5 billion, triple the amount of money invested in 2020, according to Cemex Ventures.

When asked about traction and future plans, Danon said that Buildots’ revenue grew “tenfold” over the course of 2021 as the company’s customer base expanded to “dozens” of contractors.


Image Credits: Buildots

“There are certainly companies trying to make construction more efficient. Examples include Avvir and Doxel in the U.S. and Disperse in the U.K. However, when it comes to syncing decision makers with data from building sites, Buildots does this with more depth and accuracy than anyone else,” Danon said. “Buildots has more than doubled the size of its team over the past year and recently surpassed the 200 mark. The new funding will be used to expand our R&D, sales, and marketing [organizations]. We expect to be 300 strong by the end of 2022.”

When contacted for comment, Viola Growth general partner Natalie Growth said: “With top-notch technology and a superb team, Buildots offers immense potential in terms of efficiency and profitability. We are excited for their continued success capitalizing on this market.”

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China Suggests It Could Maintain ‘Zero COVID’ Policy For 5 Years

China Suggests It Could Maintain ‘Zero COVID’ Policy For 5 Years

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

China has suggested it will…



China Suggests It Could Maintain 'Zero COVID' Policy For 5 Years

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

China has suggested it will maintain its controversial ‘zero COVID’ policy for at least 5 years, eschewing natural immunity and guaranteeing repeated rounds of new lockdowns.

“In the next five years, Beijing will unremittingly grasp the normalization of epidemic prevention and control,” said a story published by Beijing Daily.

The article quoted Cai Qi, the Communist Party of China’s secretary in Beijing and a former mayor of the city, who said that ‘zero COVID’ approach would remain in place for 5 years.

After the story prompted alarm, reference to “five years” was removed from the piece and the hashtag related to it was censored by social media giant Weibo.

“Monday’s announcement and the subsequent amendment sparked anger and confusion among Beijing residents online,” reports the Guardian.

“Most commenters appeared unsurprised at the prospect of the system continuing for another half-decade, but few were supportive of the idea.”

Although western experts severely doubt official numbers coming out of China, Beijing claimed success in limiting COVID deaths by enforcing the policy throughout 2021.

However, this meant that China never achieved anything like herd immunity, and at one stage the Omicron variant caused more more coronavirus cases in Shanghai in four weeks than in the previous two years of the entire pandemic.

Back in May, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus suggested that China would be better off if it abandoned the policy, but Beijing refused to budge.

As we previously highlighted, the only way of enforcing a ‘zero COVID’ policy is via brutal authoritarianism.

In Shanghai, children were separated from their parents in quarantine facilities and others were left without urgent treatment like kidney dialysis.

Panic buying of food also became a common occurrence as the anger threatened to spill over into widespread civil unrest.

Former UK government COVID-19 advisor Neil Ferguson previously admitted that he thought “we couldn’t get away with” imposing Communist Chinese-style lockdowns in Europe because they were too draconian, and yet it happened anyway.

“It’s a communist one party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought,” said Ferguson.

“And then Italy did it. And we realised we could,” he added.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 18:05

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No sign of major crude oil price decline any time soon

Bullish pressure on crude oil markets doesn’t seem to be easing Crude oil prices fell last week, notching their second weekly decline in the face of…




Bullish pressure on crude oil markets doesn’t seem to be easing

Crude oil prices fell last week, notching their second weekly decline in the face of concern that rising interest rates could push the global economy into recession.

Yet the future of crude oil still seems bullish to many. Spare capacity, or lack of it, is just one of the reasons.

The global surplus of crude production capacity in May was less than half the 2021 average, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Friday.

The EIA estimated that as of May, producers in nations not members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had about 280,000 barrels per day (bpd) of surplus capacity, down sharply from 1.4 million bpd in 2021. It said 60 per cent of the May 2021 figure was from Russia, which is increasingly under sanctions related to its invasion of Ukraine.

The OPEC+ alliance of oil producers is running out of capacity to pump crude, and that includes its most significant member, Saudi Arabia, Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva told Bloomberg last week.

“Some people believe the prices to be a little bit on the high side and expect us to pump a little bit more, but at this moment there is really little additional capacity,” Sylva said in a briefing with reporters on Friday. “Even Saudi Arabia, Russia, of course, Russia, is out of the market now more or less.” Nigeria was also unable to fulfil its output obligations, added Sylva.

Recent COVID-19-related lockdowns in parts of China – the world’s largest crude importer – also played a significant role in the global oil dynamics. The lack of Chinese oil consumption due to the lockdowns helped keep the markets in a check – somewhat.

Oil prices haven’t peaked yet because Chinese demand has yet to return to normal, a United Arab Emirates official told a conference in Jordan early this month. “If we continue consuming, with the pace of consumption we have, we are nowhere near the peak because China is not back yet,” UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said. “China will come with more consumption.”

Al-Mazrouei warned that without more investment across the globe, OPEC and its allies can’t guarantee sufficient supplies of oil as demand fully recovers from the pandemic.

But the check on the Chinese crude consumption seems to be easing.

On Saturday, Beijing, a city of 21 million-plus people, announced that primary and secondary schools would resume in-person classes. And as life seemed to return to normal, the Universal Beijing Resort, which was closed for nearly two months, reopened on Saturday.

Chinese economic hub Shanghai, with a population of 28 million-plus people, also declared victory over COVID after reporting zero new local cases for the first time in two months.

The two major cities were among several places in China that implemented curbs to stop the spread of the omicron wave from March to May.

But the easing of sanctions should mean oil’s price trajectory will resume its upward march.

In the meantime, in the U.S., the Biden administration is eying tougher anti-smog requirements. According to Bloomberg, that could negatively impact drilling across parts of the Permian Basin, which straddles Texas and New Mexico and is the world’s biggest oil field.

While the world is looking for clues about what the loss of supply from Russia will mean, reports are pouring in that the ongoing political turmoil in Libya could plague its oil output throughout the year.

The return of blockades on oilfields and export terminals amid renewed political tension is depriving the market of some of Libya’s oil at a time of tight global supply, said Tsvetana Paraskova in a piece for

And in the ongoing political push to strangle Russian energy output, the G7 was reportedly discussing a price cap on oil imports from Russia. Western countries are increasingly frustrated that their efforts to squeeze out Russian energy supplies from the markets have had the counterproductive effect of driving up the global crude price, which is leading to Russia earning more money for its war chest.

To tackle the issue, and increase pressure on Russia, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is proposing a price cap on Russian crude oil sales. The idea is to lift the sanction on insurance for Russian crude cargo for countries that accept buying Russian oil at an agreed maximum price. Her proposal is aimed at squeezing Russian crude out of the market as much as possible.

So the bullish pressure on crude oil markets doesn’t seem to be easing.

By Rashid Husain Syed

Toronto-based Rashid Husain Syed is a respected energy and political analyst. The Middle East is his area of focus. As well as writing for major local and global newspapers, Rashid is also a regular speaker at major international conferences. He has provided his perspective on global energy issues to the Department of Energy in Washington and the International Energy Agency in Paris.

Courtesy of Troy Media

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WTI Extends Gains After Unexpected Crude Draw

WTI Extends Gains After Unexpected Crude Draw

Oil prices are higher today following relatively positive news from China (easing some of its…



WTI Extends Gains After Unexpected Crude Draw

Oil prices are higher today following relatively positive news from China (easing some of its COVID quarantine restrictions), Macron-inspired doubts over the ability of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to significantly boost output, and unrest in Ecuador and Libya helped lift prices.

“We’re in the crunch period, it’s hard to see any meaningful price relief for crude,” said John Kilduff.

There’s a lot of strength with China relaxing its Covid restrictions and starting its independent refiners, “we’re going to have another chunk of demand for crude oil,” as China relaxes its Covid-19 restrictions.

With no EIA data released last week due to a "systems issue" (they have issued a statement confirming that the data - and the newest data - will both be released tomorrow), the only guidance we have for now on the past week's inventory changes is from API...

API (last week)

  • Crude +5.607mm

  • Cushing -390k

  • Gasoline +1.216mm - first build since March

  • Distillates -1.656mm

API (this week)

  • Crude -3.799mm

  • Cushing -650k

  • Gasoline +2.852mm

  • Distillates +2.613mm

Crude stocks unexpectedly fell last week, almost erasing the major build from the week before (according to API). Gasoline stocks rose for the second straight week

Source: Bloomberg

WTI was hovering around $111.75 and pushed up to $112 after the unexpected crude draw...

Finally, we note that the tight supply situation in oil (especially European) is revealing itself in the WTI-Brent spread, grew to $6.19, the widest in almost three months.

“European demand will remain robust, especially as natural gas supplies run out, while the North American demand for crude is weakening,” said Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda.

This is not good news for President Biden as prices are rising...

And his ratings are hitting record lows.

Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 16:37

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