“We shape our buildings and, afterwards, our buildings shape us.”Winston Churchill, 1944
3 billion tonnes of raw materials go into the making of buildings every year across the world, making the construction sector the world’s largest consumer of resources and raw materials. The industry is also responsible for a substantial amount of energy use, with buildings accounting for 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The coronavirus crisis is the last in a series of trends that are shaping the future of the construction industry, like the rising demand in developing countries and the rapidly growing population of urban areas. The new reality of social distancing and working from home led to obsolete office spaces which need to be repurposed. It poses an urgent and major challenge, but also an entrepreneurial opportunity. Innovative ventures with circular solutions have the opportunity to shape the future of work and living.
We’re calling the top property technology, real estate, and construction ventures that will make this a reality. You will only move the needle in terms of impact if you scale. In ScaleUpCircular we tackle the success factors that are crucial to scale in the construction industry:
This playing field requires much more cash than a SaaS product, for example. So access to knock-on finance is critical, as are investors willing to commit patient capital.
General competitive advantages are network access, technology and IP and long-term partnerships. These are very defensible advantages, which also means they’re such harder to attain.
Companies need to keep an eye on early adopters looking for circular eco-friendly alternatives, but also on new industry/government policies that pave the way for new circular solutions (e.g. similar frameworks to the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive for nearly-zero energy buildings).
Entering a new geography requires a lot of local on-the-ground knowledge and insight into the key stakeholders, prices, existing systems, regulations, procurement requirements, etc. There is less room for strategic error or uncertainty in market entry choices, ventures need to dedicate time to building local and regional partnerships a very long time before implementation.
The benefits of the product or material to the customer may not be immediately obvious; it’s a long game. Positioning, market education and lobbying all matter a great deal here.
Successful ventures will have to convince a pretty conservative industry to adopt new technologies that aren’t widely in use, on top of the regulatory burdens that disadvantage new entrants (e.g. planning permission from government authorities, need for certain materials to be fire-tested and safety-tested).
- Discover objectively where your company is in the scaling journey and pinpoint your priorities
- Reframe your business opportunities in the current Corona crisis
- Connect immediately with peers to make the most of the particular scaling stage you’re in
- Access scaling experts who can act as sounding boards and challenge your current thinking
ScaleUpCircular is part of a larger program dedicated to scale-ups and their business partners to trailblaze the circular economy – Circular@Scale. It’s an initiative by ScaleUpNation and Powered by Meaning, supported by the Goldschmeding Foundation, that aims to give ventures exposure in the industry and at policy level. Learn more here.
Find out if you are on the right track, and let’s scale together.