Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Remote construction tool gets boost as pandemic rages

Pandemic continues to spur rapid technology adoption and investment in construction.

Construction tech startup gets boost with COVID-19 pandemic

A company bringing a kind of Street View technology to the construction industry just landed $15.9M in Series B funding. We've been following OpenSpace since it came out of stealth in 2018, and the company is a good bellwether for the rapid technology-adoption underway in the $15.5 trillion global building sector.

OpenSpace offers a photo-documentation solution that allows builders to walk a job site with a small camera on their hardhat. The solution then automatically handles the capture, uploading, and organization of those images. The result is a navigable, "Google Street View"-like experience, made possible by computer vision that can be viewed and analyzed from anywhere, bringing the job site to remote workers.

"Similar to how telehealth will improve accessibility by bringing the doctor to the patient," CEO Jeevan Kalanithi told me in April, "rather than the other way around, we believe that 'tele-building' will soon take off to scale the expertise of our superintendents, project managers, inspectors, and foremen. If your captures of the site are high-quality, you can reduce the amount of in-person visits needed, saving time and money, as well as improving knowledge transfer."

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Since emerging from stealth in 2018, around the time the broader sector began seriously adopting new data-driven and hardware-based technologies to update an industry that hadn't really had a technological facelift in a hundred years, OpenSpace has been used in construction sites around the world for documentation and analysis, with projects in 30 different countries. The pandemic has only bolstered the use case by offering site managers and contracting entities to access up to date data about projects remotely. That's attracted investors.

"As active investors in companies that transform the construction industry through deep tech, Menlo recognizes OpenSpace as the market leader providing 'photographic memory' of construction sites and enabling remote collaboration that other industries have long taken for granted," said Menlo Ventures Partner Shawn Carolan. Menlo led OpenSpace's Series B. "With automated site capture, fast data processing, and now deeper analytics, OpenSpace wraps deep technology in a simple package. The strength of their technology and team, led by Jeevan Kalanithi, quickly established them as the market leader."

This funding comes only a year after a $14M Series A and brings the company's total funding to $33.3M.