One of the most remarkable things about construction robotics is the sheer volume of tasks that can potentially be automated. As I’ve noted before, the entire category is a prime target for robotics startups, as it fills all the big D’s of automation – boring, dirty, and (quite often) dangerous. It is also one of those areas that has become increasingly difficult to staff after the pandemic, even as construction work picked up steam.
So if I’m running a fairly successful company that makes construction robots, diversification is definitely on my mind. Of course, the quickest way to get off to a flying start is to acquire another, smaller startup. It’s something I suspect we’ll see with increasing regularity as early-stage companies struggle to get funding to stay afloat in a largely stagnant VC market.
Engineered Robotics, currently best known for its autonomous heavy-duty earth-excavation machine, Exosystem, announced today that it has acquired Roin Technologies (putting some of that fundraising to good use). The smaller company is backed by YC and is best known for its concrete robots, which trowel and spray the stuff (shotcrete). Actually from Roin url already refers to the parent company.
“Since their inception, the Roin team has pushed the boundaries of construction autonomy, creating unique expertise in our industry,” Built Robotics founder and CEO Noah Ready-Campbell said in a press release. “With Roin joining Built, the combined teams will continue to develop new autonomous construction applications and customers can expect to see robot applications expand beyond earthmoving.”
Roin CEO Jim Delaney will join Built as part of the engineering team. He comments: “We see joining Built as the next step in Roin’s story. I’ve always admired what Built has launched and how they’ve moved the construction industry forward by adopting new technologies, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to join their team.”
This is not one of those cases of a one-to-one technology acquisition. Rather than being competitors, the two construction systems appear to be potentially complementary and represent two different pieces of the wider construction puzzle.