As urban populations grow in the coming decades, cities will need to dramatically overhaul their infrastructure. And tech will need to assist the historically slow, manual construction sector to make the rapid changes that will be required to provide basic needs such as housing and transport in cities throughout the world.
Founded in 2016, Oslo-based Spacemaker creates AI-assisted design and construction simulation software for the property development sector. Its product lets users generate and explore a multitude of site proposals, sort out the best ones, and provides detailed analyses for each of them.
Spacemaker has just raised a €22 million Series A round to accelerate the company’s roll out, further develop its product, and grow its engineering and commercial teams. This growth will support the startup’s mission to help property developers, architects, and city planners design better and more sustainable cities by using AI to dramatically improve planning, decision making, and collaboration in real estate development.
The round was led by Atomico and Northzone, with participation from leading investors in property and construction technology including Danish property developer NREP, Nordic property developer OBOS, UK Real Estate technology fund Round Hill Ventures and earlier investors including Norweigan construction technology investor Construct Venture. As part of this investment round, Atomico’s Ben Blume and Northzone’s Michiel Kotting will join Spacemaker’s board.
“The global construction industry has a significant productivity problem, underperforming the overall economy and costing it over $1 trillion value each year,” said Ben Blume, Principal at Atomico. “With 2.5 billion more people set to live in cities by 2050, we must find ways to provide sufficient housing for these growing urban populations. Spacemaker’s gamechanging platform uses machine learning, advanced analysis and massive scale computing to empower developers and architects to create more efficient and livable residences, paving the way for better construction productivity and a more sustainable future for all cities.”
As urban centers globally become increasingly crowded, new developments need to make the best possible use of the available land in a sustainable way, while balancing increasingly stringent planning regulations. Yet today developers, architects and urban planners plan sites largely “by hand”. This means that they are limited by time and cost to explore at most 20-30 options as they try to optimise for a multitude of regulatory, design, environmental and economic constraints.
Spacemaker has developed the world’s first platform that allows developers and architects to use AI at massive scale to generate and analyze optimal solutions to multi-building residential development design based on physical data, regulations, and project requirements. Developers and architects can analyse their designs and optimize for a range of different parameters, from sun exposure to noise to wind to apartment size, and choose from hundreds of possible layouts generated in only hours.
“Today developers, architects and urban planners only have the tools to explore a few options for building design as they try to optimise for everything from environmental factors to regulations,” said Håvard Haukeland, Co-founder & CEO of Spacemaker. “With Spacemaker they can, for the first time, generate and assess billions of possible solutions to multi-building residential development design in only hours. We’re proud to partner with Atomico and Northzone who are fully aligned with our global mission of empowering the industry to build better and more sustainable cities using AI.”
By allowing developers and architects to test many iterations from the earliest stages, Spacemaker can help developers configure volumes smarter, increasing sellable area and reducing the time and cost of project completion. At the same time, by intelligently distributing volumes, the AI can help dramatically improve the living quality of future residents of these buildings.
Since launch in late 2018, Spacemaker has attracted some of the largest names in property development in the Nordics and globally including Skanska, Obos, AF Gruppen and NREP among others. They have also hired a world-class team of nearly 100 data scientists, mathematicians, software developers, architects and urban planners.
“Spacemaker’s platform is a powerful tool in an under-digitised industry, creating value across the entire pre-build process, for developers, architects, planning departments, and ultimately, inhabitants,” said Michiel Kotting, Partner at Northzone. “It is a perfect example of AI augmenting human expertise, creating efficiencies and improving sustainability. We are impressed with Håvard and the founding team’s singular vision of building Spacemaker into the category-defining company to address urban construction planning challenges on a global scale.”