Automated Architecture Secures £2.6M to Quickly Build Sustainable and Affordable Homes Using Robotics

Automated Architecture (AUAR), a pioneering construction tech startup, has secured a £2.6 million Seed investment to propel its vision of crafting sustainable and affordable homes through its unique micro-factories.

This investment round was led by the deep-tech and AI-oriented fund, Miles Ahead, and includes contributions from Robotics & Automation Ventures (ABB RA Ventures) – the venture capital arm of ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation, Rival Holdings, Morgan Stanley, Vandenbussche Group, Bacchus Venture Capital, and notable angel investors Nicolas Bearelle, Atomico Scout Stefano Bernardi, and Dob Todorov. The funding is earmarked to enhance AUAR's growth by expanding its partner license network with an additional ten partners and bolstering its operations within the US.

AUAR collaborates with home builders and contractors across Europe and North America to establish the world's first distributed micro-factory network dedicated to sustainable timber housing. Through licensing its cutting-edge robotic micro-factories and technological solutions to a consortium of established home builders, AUAR opens up a lucrative revenue stream for these entities. This partnership enables the production of low-energy homes, comparable in price to conventional homes, on a significant scale. Moreover, AUAR’s sophisticated design algorithms facilitate a myriad of design possibilities, tailor-made for specific localities.

The startup envisions a transformative approach to the construction sector, advocating for automation to be dispersed across local communities rather than centralized in large-scale factories. This model aims to empower a network of communities, contractors, architects, and developers, facilitating the construction of superior housing solutions. By 2030, AUAR aims to collaborate with 40 license partners for its micro-factories, with the collective capacity to fabricate over 75,000 energy-efficient homes annually, substantially reducing CO2 emissions.

Founded in 2019 by Mollie Claypool, CEO, and Gilles Retsin, CTO and Chief Architect, AUAR emerged from over a decade of collaborative research into the transformative potential of robotics, generative design, and AI in reshaping residential construction and our living environments.

Mollie Claypool, Co-Founder and CEO of AUAR, said, “There is a huge and urgent need for affordable low-energy homes, but currently, these are expensive to build and difficult to deliver at scale. Building high-quality, sustainable timber homes is hard to scale, but AUAR is here to change that. Robots and AI allow us to deliver high-quality housing at significantly lower costs, increasing margins and productivity while lowering the cost for the end users. By using our solution, construction companies are incentivised to  meet much-needed sustainability targets.”

Gilles Retsin, Co-Founder and CTO of AUAR, said, “AUAR has developed all the tech home builders need to develop, produce, and build affordable low-energy homes while increasing margins and productivity. Our technology is low CapEx, doesn’t require big factories, and pays itself back in a few months.”

The construction industry is one of the world’s largest sectors, with $10 trillion annually spent on construction-related goods and services. However, according to a McKinsey report, the sector has an intractable productivity problem, costing the global economy $1.6 trillion annually. Existing solutions, such as modular factories, are CapEx-heavy, struggle to deliver and take years to set up. AUAR provides a solution to this issue where its tech stack of robotic micro-factories and software reduces upfront investment costs for builders, increasing their productivity while derisking projects and helping with labour shortages.

Luc Burgelman, Founding Partner at Miles Ahead, said, “AUAR’s combination of licensed hardware and software has the potential to change the game as we know it. Its construction approach will not only be a massive help in fighting the low levels of productivity observed in the sector, saving companies valuable time, moreover, it will be instrumental in meeting sustainability goals.”

AUAR’s underlying data model makes all costs and other data known upfront to their clients and manufacturing partners. The company is already working with two pilot customers – Rival Holdings and Vandenbussche NV.

Brad Crawford, CEO at Rival Holdings, said, “We’re delighted to collaborate with AUAR both as an investor and a customer. The ability to efficiently incorporate their solution into our business makes this partnership dynamic and strategic, and we can’t wait to see what this funding round will enable their team to accomplish.”

Craig McDonnell, Managing Director, Business Line Industries at ABB Robotics, added, “By re-imagining how robotic automation can be used as part of the construction process, AUAR’s approach has the potential to completely transform the house building sector. By making full use of the extended possibilities offered by robots, AUAR’s concept will enable sustainable homes to be built faster, more cost-effectively and with greatly reduced waste while ensuring the highest levels of quality and consistency.”