Dutch startup VonWood has just picked up €2.7 million to digitize the timber trading industry, bringing it in line with standards expected in the modern world. The young company aims to help make the construction industry more sustainable and efficient through the platform and is now planning to expand.
The timber industry has been part of European construction for centuries. In fact, wood is one of the oldest materials that we use to shape and build our environment. It’s also one of the most future-proof materials available – it’s more sustainable than concrete or steel and can reduce CO2 emissions in construction.
Whilst the timber industry might be a veteran space, it’s lagged behind when it comes to digitisation and is a fairly fragmented space. Aiming to change that is Amsterdam-based VonWood. The team has just picked up €2.7 million in an investment led by Peak, Dutch Founders Fund, Keen and a number of strategic partners.
David de Jong, founder and CEO of VonWood: “The timber industry is fragmented with little understanding of origin, quality and working conditions. Businesses that buy timber on a large scale have limited control over the supply and therefore run the risk of ceasing their production. Sawmills, on the other hand, have little insight into demand, so they produce on the basis of an estimate, often resulting in a surplus or shortage of stock. By directly connecting supply and demand, we want to remove those risks.”
In the timber industry, there are many links in the chain between the sawmill that cuts the tree into planks and the businesses that process the timber in their end products, such as importers, traders, agents and others. And each link must earn a living. The intermediary trade drives up the price of wood, making the product more expensive to purchase than necessary. By directly connecting buyers and sellers of wood via the online platform, VonWood offers more insight into supply and demand, more security of supply and higher returns.
Peak co-founder Johan van Mil: “You need guts to digitize an old market, but it also requires platform-thinking to organize processes more efficiently. VonWood has what it takes to modernize the timber trade using data-driven technology.”
Founded in 2022 by David de Jong and Minck Hermans, VonWood makes processes in the timber industry smarter and more sustainable.
The Amsterdam-based platform provides insight into the origin, the quality and sustainability of the wood. In addition to the conventional replanting of FSC-approved wood, they additionally compensate for every transaction on the platform by planting new trees.
Investor Dutch Founders Fund and co-founder of Just Eat, Laurens Groenendijk: “Wood is crucial in construction, but most buyers do not have direct access to the source: the sawmill. VonWood is now changing that. We believe in the team, the product and of course the sustainable impact they make.”
Now, with this fresh cash boost, the young startup plans to grow the company and develop the platform further.
Robert Verwaayen, partner at Keen: “VonWood has turned the timber market upside down in a short period of time. We are convinced that VonWood can make a major contribution to making the trade in wood more sustainable and more transparent. We look forward to this journey.”